CELEBRITY

It’s clear that Todd McKenney was shaped by the strong women in his life

Here's everything to know about his family.
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If you ever think Todd McKenney’s Dancing With The Stars scores are arbitrary numbers… think again, because the judge knows what he’s talking about. After all, he began dancing when he was just three years old, and even practised at his mother’s dancing school. 

WATCH: Georgie Parker and Todd McKenney sing a duet medley

As Todd’s father, prison warden David McKenney, left when he was nine years old, the performer was primarily raised by his mother, Peta Norton, and maternal grandmother, Dorothy Dyson, both of whom had a strong impact on the man he became. 

“I have no doubt my success is all because of my upbringing,” Todd McKenney said while appearing on SBS’ Who Do You Think You Are? 

His mother never forced him into dance, but she did make him fine tune his skills.  

“Mum’s probably the best dance teacher I’ve come across, as she’s a stickler for technique,” the star dished to the Sydney Morning Herald

 

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Todd McKenney began dancing when he was three years old. (Credit: Instagram)

Peta was also always incredibly accepting of Todd’s sexuality as a gay man, even making accommodations ahead of her son’s first theatre tour, so he could spend more time with his then-boyfriend.  

“Mum even moved out of her bed and onto my single bed for those three weeks,” Todd said on WDYTYA

During the episode, Todd also discovered that his grandmother Dorothy was “somewhat of a celebrity in Perth”.  

“When they said to me she was a celebrity — she had a talkback radio program and she was one of the first females on radio in WA — now my nanna has never mentioned that to us. I didn’t think they had the right woman,” he said. 

“I think what happened is that when nanna decided to marry my grandfather he said to her you have to give up this kind of celebrity lifestyle and just be my wife.” 

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A flashback of Todd dancing with Donna Dawson. (Credit: Instagram)

Like all families, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Todd and his loved ones. In 2018, the DWTS judge made headlines when he claimed his ex-boyfriend, TV star Simon Gallagher, married his sister Lisa. 

“She married my ex-boyfriend and is still married to my ex-boyfriend but just has never mentioned it to me,” he said on Joy 94.9’s Word For Word podcast. 

“It’s weird, isn’t it? I don’t think I’ve ever spoken about it publicly.” 

The Perth-born star went on to say that he kept the story to himself for the sake of the couple’s children, who had since grown up.  

“I’m sick of not talking about it,” he said. “For the sake of them I haven’t said it, but they’re grown up now and I get on with them and they know the stories now.” 

WATCH: Bec and Lleyton Hewitt’s daughter Ava’s performance on Dancing With The Stars (Article continues after video)

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Both Lisa and Simon soon responded to Todd’s comments via social media. 

“Shame on him,” Simon wrote, among other remarks. “His sister on the other hand is the love of my life and wife of over 31 years. I love her to the end of the world.”

Lisa also took aim at her brother on Facebook before saying: “We all have to just duck the fall out now.”

As the dust settled, Todd issued a public apology for his comments, saying he was sorry “for any hurt caused” to his family. 

“It was NEVER my intention to hurt anyone,” the dancer wrote on Twitter. “I’m so sorry. Hopefully we can sit down together one day and discuss any issues out of the public eye.” 

Following the saga, it was reported that Lisa and Simon ended their marriage.

It was entertainment reporter Peter Ford who broke the news via 6PR, saying that the drama “took a very, very big toll” on the couple and, ultimately, they decided to part ways. 

Simon confirmed that their relationship had ended to news.com.au in 2019.

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Todd is currently a judge on Dancing With The Stars. (Credit: Seven)

While not related, Todd has found a life-long friend in DWTS host Sonia Kruger. The pair originally met on the ballroom dancing circuit when they were just kids – and even dated when they were 12, and then again at 17.  

“Sonia makes me laugh like no one else,” Todd said to the Sydney Morning Herald, adding that she was his first “female crush”. 

“She is really bright and is great at doing a million things. She has a big heart, too. Sonia is driven – I like driven women.” 

Sonia is equally quick to gush about Todd, who even whisked her away to a holiday in Bali during a particularly tumultuous time in the presenter’s life. 

The star told the Australian Women’s Weekly how, during this trip, she and Todd had deep conversations about parenthood, with Sonia confiding in her friend about her fears regarding conceiving at her age.  

“I told him how, when I hold a newborn baby, I get an overwhelming feeling that this is something I don’t want to miss out on,” she said. 

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Todd and Sonia Kruger have been lifelong friends. (Credit: Getty)

The Big Brother host then spoke about Todd’s paternal side, saying that he would be a “great father to any child”, noting his strong relationship with his own daughter Charlotte, whom he shares with one of his best friends, theatre actress Anne Wood. 

In 2007, Todd and Anne became joint parents through IVF. 

“I rang her and I said: ‘I’m offering to provide you with the other half that you need to have this baby’. Blow me down, she said yes,” Todd said, according to Body + Soul.

“Charlotte lives with her mother in Melbourne and is a gorgeous, thoughtful little girl,” he further explained to the Sydney Morning Herald. “I love her to bits.”  

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