Ita Buttrose: Covergirl at 69
This month, Ita Buttrose is featured on the cover of The Australian Women's Weekly the magazine that made her famous for the first time.
Ita gained attention for launching Cleo magazine, but it was her stewardship of widely-read Weekly from 1975 until 1980, and her presentation of the magazine's television advertisements, that made her a household name.
In a revealing interview, Ita, now 69, discusses the revival of her fortunes after the ABC drama Paper Giants, her doubts about ever finding love again, and those rumours about Kerry Packer.
"You get used to rumours when you are in the public eye," she says. "[Kerry and I were] great friends, best friends, actually, and we thought alike … years ago, we made a pact that whatever happened, neither one of us would talk about the other."
She revealed that the secret financial backer behind her self-published magazine, Ita, was not Kerry Packer, as some have theorised, but Sir Peter Abeles. "I had an idea and I needed some money," she says. "He loved it".
Ita hasn't been in a significant relationship since she a was 40, and thinks it is "highly unlikely" she will find love again. "It's not number one on my list," she says. "Can you imagine if I went out looking on RSVP?"
She is happy with single life. "You can't just go out on the street and lasso a bloke. If it's not meant to be, I accept it's not meant to be. I've had two husbands and loved them both. Maybe that's all fate had in store for me."
Ita offers advice for other women juggling career and motherhood, as she did; you can do both. "I am proof of this," she says. "If your career is that important to you, it won't suffer. You shouldn't sacrifice motherhood for your job."
Read this story in the September issue of The Australian Women's Weekly.
Video: Paper Giants – the birth of CLEO