For over 12 years, Leigh Sales had one of the highest profile jobs on Australian television as the presenter of ABC’s 7.30 show.
But after leaving her post last June, Sales has been keeping busy by spending more time with her two sons, James and Daniel.
“They want me home with them by 8:30 p.m. and I don’t think that’s too much to ask for two little kids and they’re two beautiful kids,” she said at the time of her resignation.
Sales had taken a six-week break to homeschool her children in 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting the pressure she faced running a national program and being a single mother.
“People have reported that I left because there was an interview with Scott Morrison and then I was abused.
“But I was abused all the time, so that really had nothing to do with it.
“I decided to jump before the elections because I thought the level of trolling would increase.
“Kids love to sit on the couch, snuggle up and watch TV and discuss what we’re going to watch tonight and things like that. That seems like heaven to me to do that every night.
In her post-7:30 Report life, Sales has been hosting Australian Story and is up for a Sunday night Logie for her work on 7:30 Report.
“It means a lot to me to host this show, especially since I’ve always thought it’s brilliant,” he told ABC.
Leigh Sales (above) left one of the most high-profile jobs in Australian television as the presenter of ABC’s 7:30 Report last June.
In addition to his television endeavors, Sales has embraced the world of podcasting with his show ‘Chat 10 Looks 3’, co-hosted with ABC journalist Annabel Crabb, covering the world of literature.
“I also have a book coming out later this year that I started during lockdown. It’s called Storytellers: Questions, Answers and the Craft of Journalism,” he told ABC. ‘It’s a series of conversations with top journalists, breaking down the basic components of the trade,
As for her love life, Sales says she prefers to “keep it under the radar” after she split from ex-husband Phil Willis in 2016 after 20 years together.
“I work pretty hard so I don’t get seen with people,” she told Mamamia’s Unfiltered podcast in June of last year.
“To be honest, it’s not like I hang out with an endless parade of people, but I don’t want my kids to Google ‘Oh, there’s mom with that boy and that boy.’ I would prefer to keep all my private matters private. I keep it under the radar.
Sales said asking her out requires a reasonable level of trust.
“I think you need to have reasonable confidence to do that. [ask me out] but I also think that most people, once they get to know me and get to know me, quickly realize that I’m not really intimidating,” he explained.
“I think what people find difficult sometimes is the way other people interact with them.”
During one particular date with a man, Sales recounted an incident in which some people came up to him and said, “Wow, you must have been intimidated asking Leigh out.”
“So the message they get is ‘you’re punching above your weight’ and I think that’s a hard message for men to understand.” That’s not the message I give to the people I’m in a relationship with or dating, but sometimes you can feel very scrutinized,” Sales said.
Sales (pictured with one of her sons) said she left the 7:30 Report to spend time with her two young sons, James and Daniel.
Sales previously spoke about his turbulent 40s, after a series of heartbreaking events.
In 2016 she suffered a life-threatening uterine rupture after giving birth prematurely with her youngest son in 2014.
“It was a disastrous birth… I had a uterine rupture, luckily I was in the hospital at the time, I wasn’t feeling well and I knew something was wrong,” she said on the Mamamia No Filter podcast.
“I had massive bleeding and emergency surgery and I woke up and he [James] he was in neonatal intensive care and I was in the high dependency unit and I didn’t even see him for a few days… we were both very, very sick.’
But despite illness and time apart, Sales said the couple were still able to bond like any other mother and her newborn child.
“I tried to breastfeed… but my body was not producing milk because I had lost a lot of blood,” she said.
“He was mostly bottle fed and I didn’t hold him for three days, but I still bonded with him… He wasn’t even conscious when he was born, but you still bond, you work it out.”
In addition to the traumatic birth, James contracted viral meningitis at five weeks of age, and Sales was still unwell, struggling with memories of the dramatic birth experience.
“For me to find myself in a circumstance where I had absolutely no control and was on the other end unable to care for myself, unable to care for my three-year-old son and a newborn baby, it was very, very confronting and hard to accept,” Sales said.
After Sales’ son’s second hospitalization, another challenge arose when his oldest son, Daniel, then just two years old, showed noticeable hand tremors while in day care.
Thus began a series of doctor visits, hospital stays, and therapies, while dealing with various medical difficulties that required frequent hospital visits and surgeries.
Sales (pictured with her children at The Little Mermaid premiere in May) has since given insight into her notoriously private life, recounting the near-fatal birth of her second child and difficulties dating.
In the midst of these difficult circumstances, their marriage of nearly 20 years fell apart. Then, in 2018, her father, Dale Sales, died suddenly.
“It seemed like things couldn’t get any worse,”
Reflecting on his journey, Sales said: The birth of ‘James’ marked the first significant hurdle in my life and from there it felt like a relentless stream of challenges.
‘Nothing felt safe anymore. I put on a brave face and told everyone that I was fine, but deep down I was struggling.
However, Sales says the traumatic times have made her appreciate life even more.
“I know this sounds trite, I think the idea of what can happen, that I’m not special and life is random and no one is immune to terrible things, has made me appreciate everyday things a lot more,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘People, including me, are much more resilient than we think. Almost everyone can cope with much more than they ever imagined they could. Now, I am absolutely dreading the next thing that will go wrong in my life. But I suspect it would probably hold.