Australian Celebrities

A look inside Michelle Bridges’ close bond with her son Axel

The mother and son duo are two peas in a pod!
Loading the player...

Ever since her split from Steve ‘The Commando’ Willis, Michelle Bridges has been making her son Axel her number one priority.

The former Biggest Loser trainer, who is starring in this year’s season of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Australia thought she’d missed her chance at becoming a mother, but when she welcomed baby Axel in 2015, at age 45, her whole life changed.

WATCH NOW: How Michelle Bridges started a “new chapter” following her split from Commando Steve.

“When Axel came into my world, it took me to a whole new place. There’s been many a time when I’ll just start talking about Axel and just burst into tears,” she confessed to 60 Minutes in 2017.

Michelle, Steve, and Axel appeared to be Australia’s happiest and healthiest family but in January 2020 when Michelle was arrested for drunk driving, news broke that the couple had suddenly split.

“I would like to express my deep regret for breaking the law, this was a terrible mistake and an error of judgment,’ she said in a statement at the time to the Daily Telegraph.

“This behaviour is inexcusable, and I am absolutely devastated and embarrassed to find myself in this position. It has been a very difficult time for me the last few weeks dealing with the break-up of my long-term relationship.”

(Credit: Instagram)

In the most recent snap shared of her fast-growing son, Michelle shared this smiley selfie of her and Axel, pairing it with John Lennon’s song Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)

(Credit: Instagram)

Before that, an image of Axel was last shared by his doting mother in October 2023, where alongside his grandmother Maureen, Axel celebrated Michelle’s 53rd birthday.

(Credit: Instagram)

A month earlier, this silly snap was taken of Michelle and Axel during a swanky hotel stay by Sydney harbour.

Around the same time, Michelle also made a rare admission to 9Honey about life as a single mum, describing her son as a “confident” young man. 

“He’s just a like a little man now, we have good conversations and he’s got a really good sense of humour.”

“We’re a team and we’re very close, extremely close. And yes, it can be challenging and you do need to sometimes rely on other people to help you out,” she added. 

(Credit: Instagram)

“Being active with this one is what dreams are made of! We’re so buggered from our first day [at the snow] we are already in bed (6:30pm) snuggling, watching funny cat videos, and laughing our heads off,” Michelle penned to her Instagram in July 2023 to accompany this action shot of her and Axel hitting the slopes.

(Credit: Instagram)

To celebrate Axel’s seventh birthday in 2022, Michelle wrote a heartwarming tribute that she shared on her social media. 

“The best day of my life was the day you, my moo, arrived. Happy birthday sweet boy. Love you forever.”


(Credit: Instagram)

Earlier that same year in May, Michelle paid tribute to single parents everywhere, writing an encouraging caption to accompany this happy photo of her and Axel during a family holiday. 

“To all the single carers! We do it all. We do the yards, because we want to. Homework, swimming, judo, uniforms, stories, covering books, driving to and fro, we LOVE them. You got this,” she wrote.

(Credit: Instagram)

Michelle often describes her son as her “world”, the pair sharing a love of fun and being active.

(Credit: Instagram)

In June 2021, the mother and son duo moved into a new family home marking “a whole new chapter.” 

Michelle is so committed to her son’s wellbeing that she even adopted an adorable cavoodle puppy for him, but acknowledged at the time that being a single parent was a tough gig. 

“Ok. I’ve been questioning myself, being a single parent, trying to run businesses, trying to give my son the most grounded wonderful life and run a household, as to what the $&@! I was thinking getting a puppy?!?!??!!!??” she captioned a photo of Axel sleeping alongside the puppy called Banjo.

“This photo answers it.”

(Credit: Instagram)

With their cheeky smiles and love of the great outdoors, Michelle and Axel don’t just resemble each other physically. In fact, the fitness entrepreneur previously told New Idea that the 2020 lockdowns brought them closer together.

“I have spent so much time with my little boy [during lockdown]. I will be forever grateful. It has brought us so close in a way that would never have otherwise happened.”

Then on the first Father’s Day following her split from Steve ‘The Commando’ Willis, the mum-of-one revealed to her Instagram followers that she and Axel spent the day together.

“Happy Father’s Day! Spending today with this human is a blessing,” Michelle captioned a photo of herself and Axel.

“Have a great day to all the Dads, Step-Dads, Father Figures, Mentors, and caregivers.”

(Credit: Instagram)

However, parenting hasn’t been all perfect as Michelle divulged in an Instagram post dedicated to “all the mums, dads, grandparents, caregivers,” where she remarked that “being a parent is 24/7.”

“The ‘witching hour’ 5-7pm. The 2am nightmare calms down. 3am vomit up the wall. 6am split lip/blood (right before school) The after-school time. The rewarding time away from social media. Internet. Tv. The playtime. Games. Stories. Books. Homework. The pickup. The drop-off. Swimming lessons. Supermarket meltdowns. Dinnertime Mexican stand-offs. And 1000+ things more,” she wrote.

“Things you can’t even begin to consider. Even when you think you’ve got everything considered.”

Michelle added: “It’s beyond a full-time job when in the hallway, your bubba is crying and you are soothing at 4am. It’s grounding. It’s not a ‘quote’. It’s happening [in] real-time. It’s the 24/7 reality. Which can only be narrated by the person who is there. 24/7. And it’s my best role ever.

“I am grateful forever. A role I’ve worked toward my whole life. I’ve got this. But very happy to workshop with anyone who gets this…! Cause some days are tougher than others in this world we live in.

“I’d rather be here talking/ conversing, than in the gym and I love the gym! But I know what’s important to me. Power to all the mums, dads, and care givers. All the people who care,” she wrote. 

Michelle (left) and Steve (right) welcomed Axel (bottom) in December 2015. (Credit: Instagram)

Axel’s dad Steve previously opened up about co-parenting with Michelle to the Daily Telegraph and says he sees his children every other weekend and “through the week where I can”.

Commando Steve also has three older children with ex-wife Froso – Brianna, 24, Ella, 15, and Jack, 12.

“My children are [with] their mother and me and [you need] to be mindful of that part within them and talk of the other parent in a positive light because otherwise children start to question their identity,” he said of co-parenting.

“You want them to focus on just being the age that they are. There is enough pressure these days with all the different outlets and social media and the like.”

Axel is his mother’s mini-me. (Credit: Instagram)

Some adorable snaps of a newborn Axel with his mum – we can’t believe how much he has grown up!

Introducing baby Axel. (Credit: The Australian Women’s Weekly)

When Michelle first introduced her baby boy to the world, she did so via a cover photoshoot in February 2016 with our sister publication The Australian Women’s Weekly.

Related stories