Singer-songwriter Danielle Spencer has had a big year and a half. She and Russell Crowe – one of the nation’s most famous couples – shocked Australia when they separated after nine years of marriage. Now, 18 months after the split, the mother-of-two is working on an album and has plans to resume acting. I caught up with Spencer, 44, to chat about the future, keeping out of the spotlight, and those rumours of her and Russell rekindling their relationship.
What are you up to at the moment?
I’m currently songwriting so I’m in my underground mode. [But] I’m also looking around and possibly doing some acting if something interesting presents itself. And I am also one of the ambassadors for Camp Quality Supper Club this year for their annual national fund-raising dinner, which will be held [on Thursday, May 8], so getting excited for that.
What type of acting role are you looking for?
I guess it’s not highly specific, it’s just if there was a project or a script that I read that I thought was really great then I’m interested in going in that direction. I think there has been some great Australian TV drama done in the last several years, so it’s made me more interested in being part of it.
What would be your dream role?
I’d like to play something a little gritty and edgy and a bit divorced from who I am as a person.
Should we expect to see an album release any time soon?
I certainly hope so. At the moment I’m working on an EP, so that’s my first goal.
What is the writing process for you?
I have a music room at home where I just set up my keyboard, and I have a piano in the next room so I kind of dance between the piano and the keyboard and I just record my songs onto my computer and do the vocals, backing vocals and piano parts. I flesh it out a bit, like a band, and when I have a few songs together I head to the studio.
You must be asked to be involved with so many charities. What made you get involved with Camp Quality Supper Club?
I just think it is an amazing cause. I’ve spent a bit of time in the oncology ward at the children’s hospital through my dad, Donald Spencer, and through his music foundation. So we visit and see the kids and their parents and it’s incredibly moving. The Supper Club raises money for Camp Quality, which helps create a better life for children with cancer, and at the moment they are only reaching one in three kids living with cancer, but the support of this year’s event will enable them to reach more.
You keep a low profile. Is that intentional? Do you like to keep out of the spotlight?
I don’t court the spotlight. Obviously I think it has its place if you’re promoting something, or if your music’s coming out then that helps, to be out there talking [to the media]. That’s the time for it, but I don’t actively go on courting the spotlight.
You’ve had a big year and a half and it seems you’ve managed to keep such a good relationship with Russell. Was it hard to go through a break-up with the media watching?
It’s OK. It is what it is. For me the most important thing is for my kids to see that their parents are still a parental unit and that we’re still friends and that there is a lot of affection there, so it’s the way to go. And I think if your family is breaking up, I think you really owe it to your kids to do that in the nicest possible way.
There must be a lot of pressure when going through a break-up with the media watching.
Obviously it’s very challenging for him to deal with, and very challenging for me to deal with, but I guess in some ways keeping under the radar is good for my kids. But everything’s fine and stable and secure and they are just living their busy little lives without too much interference.
Your kids are sometimes in the paparazzi spotlight. What is that like to deal with?
There are periods of time when that flares up, but considering what has gone on last year, I think it’s been pretty good on the whole for the kids. I take them here, there and everywhere and it just hasn’t been too bad, and I don’t feel like we have been harassed.
Do you have to think about where you can and can’t go to avoid paparazzi?
No, I try to just go where I want to go and not really think about it because you end up isolating yourself and it impacts on your freedom. If I’m invited to events with the kids, I often knock back things like that because I try to really limit them getting photographed.
Do you think either of your children will follow in your footsteps or Russell’s?
It’s a bit early to tell but they’re both musical and they’re both quite capable of flicking into little characters and that sort of thing, but they’re young. I’m not pushing them in any particular direction [but] I kind of hope they don’t, in all honesty. I think there are easier directions to go in, but we will see.
I keep reading headlines that you and Russell are getting back together. Is there any truth to these rumours?
They’re just rumours.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy a movie or a great TV show, I love walking, I love yoga, I love reading. At the moment I’m reading Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.
WE WENT TO Bishop Sessa, Surry Hills.
WE ATE scallop ceviche with cucumber, avocado, lemon & ginger beer sorbet; Poached Palmers Island Mulloway with cherry tomatoes, zucchini, samphire and green olives.
WE DRANK sparkling mineral water and Marques de Tezona Maca Sauvignon Blanc.
Photo: Janie Barrett