Celebrity News

Jodie Rimmer’s new joy

A health scare reminded the star what’s important in life.
Jodie Rimmer

Watching her mini Spider-Man and Superman try to scale the clothesline in the backyard is a joy for actress Jodie Rimmer. Five-year-old Xavier with his blond curls and determined look and three-year-old Theo with his lovely long lashes and big grin are a lively duo.

“They climb anything they can find, so it’s full-on,” Jodie explains. “They’re not like other children who will just sit there and colour in – which apparently some kids do.” The busy mum – who’s starring in the second season of The Brokenwood Mysteries – was, until recently, juggling school and kindy drop-offs with two television series and a sales and marketing job.

“I’m trying to be really aware of my rushing women’s syndrome,” she confesses, referring to the stress-induced condition coined by Kiwi health guru Dr Libby Weaver.

“I’ll be sitting in traffic and I’ll be trying to think of the shortest way to go and I’m freaking out about being late. When, really, the only thing I need to be on time for is picking up my children.”

Jodie (41) says slowing down and trying to stay present when she’s with her boys is now her priority after she was recently faced with her own mortality following a mammogram. The actress was rushing to a rehearsal in South Auckland for the much anticipated new drama Filthy Rich, when her phone rang.

“I was driving when I got the call asking if I could come back to the clinic so they could take more pictures and perform an ultrasound,” she tells. “I told them I’d pop in some time next week, and they said, ‘No. Come back in today.'”

The urgency in the voice of the person on the phone was enough to give Jodie a fright, and after her rehearsal, she raced back to the clinic. While she tried not to panic, the “what ifs” kept creeping into her mind.

“The whole process lasted half a day, and once they did an ultrasound, they realised it wasn’t what they thought it was, so I was okay. But I realised I needed to slow down, be more mindful and not take on so much stress.”

No longer hung up on being a supermum, Jodie’s simply enjoying her time with Xavier and Theo.

While Jodie takes time out for yoga and meditation, she says that, like most working mums, she can get a bit frazzled, particularly during the morning rush.

“Brushing their teeth and getting them into shoes – what happens there?!” she laughs. “Then there’s washing their faces and getting their lunchbox and bag. It’s a minefield! And that’s usually when I lose it.”

Her first new rule in creating a less stressful life was to stop yelling. “You feel terrible when you yell at your kids, but it’s because you’ve asked them seven times to put on their shoes, and they’re still staring at their Lego creation or the television. I don’t want to be a stressed-out mum – it’s not good for my children. It’s not good for anyone,” she explains.

Jodie has recently reconciled with her husband, entertainment lawyer Tim Riley (48), after six months apart. The separation, she tells, was brought on by the stress and trauma they experienced when Theo contracted toxoplasmosis in the womb.

While the preschooler is now healthy and happy, he’s not clear of the nasty parasite, which Jodie thinks she got from cleaning up the family cat’s urine. “It was a very hard time for Tim and I because it was his cat of 17 years. It was hard on our relationship and we’re continuing to process that, but we’re back together and that feels really good,” she says.

Jodie plays Gloria on The Brokenwood Mysteries, Prime, Sundays at 8.30pm.

Jodie’s also passionate about her new sales job for Paynter’s Hawke’s Bay Cider, which she took up at the beginning of the year, saying it’s a product that’s very close to her heart. “Apples are in my blood! I basically grew up in my dad’s fruit shop on the North Shore as a tiny child packing carrots, and then I was a teenager on the checkouts. So I know heaps about apples – it feels like I’ve gone full circle.”

The job allows her the flexibility to continue acting – her passion since she was 10 years old. Her latest role as Brokenwood’s town librarian Gloria Ginsberg is a bit of a departure from the usually dark characters she plays, but she says Gloria’s still sassy and there’s more to her than meets the eye. And despite the eerie feel of the show, there’s been quite a lot of fun on set, with old friend Neill Rea, who plays Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Shepherd, and Fern Sutherland, who plays sidekick Detective Kristin Sims.

“Fern is hilarious,” Jodie tells. “When we’d be doing a scene, she would always make me laugh. There are techniques you can use to bring yourself back from laughter and compose yourself. Some people try and imagine the other person nude, but with Fern, that would just make me laugh more!” As Xavier and Theo pose for the camera with bright eyes and big smiles, you could imagine that they might have a future in acting themselves.

“I think Theo might have the drama bug, and Xavier is really good at doing different voices,” Jodie ponders, “It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of both of them.”

Words by: Anastasia Hedge

Photos by: Michelle Hyslop

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