The Queen Behind The Scenes
Well, that’s what we think she’s been doing. Marea Burke is a very private lady, and she rarely makes any public statements or appearances, with her interview on a 2015 episode of A Current Affair (ACA) being one of the few exceptions. But, after fifty years of marriage, it’s probably safe to say that she continues to be a supportive wife to Don even in the midst of all his issues.
That being said, Marea Burke is so much more than just Don Burke’s wife. Even though her husband was the big Aussie TV star, Marea was the one running everything from behind the scenes as a CEO of CTC Productions, the company that made Burke’s Backyard.
As CEO, she was responsible for pretty much everything, which ranged from handling staff to producing the actual show. In fact, her role was so crucial that Don has even admitted that he wouldn’t have achieved his level of success without her.
But, as important as they were to each other for their business, their work relationship never took priority over their romantic relationship. At the end of the day, they were still loving partners to each other.
Soulmates and Life-Long Partners
Don and Marea Burke have been married for almost as long as they’ve known each other. The two met at university over 50 years ago and quickly bonded over their shared interests and worldviews.
Even back then, Don knew that two of them had something special, as he explained in his and Marea’s 2015 ACA interview:
“But the moment Marea and I met we were on the same level... I thought thank god, I met a girl you can make your best friend.”
The couple fell in love and got married soon after, tying the knot on February 28, 1969. Since then, the couple has had two children: a son named Sean and a daughter named Christine, who actually went on to work with her parents as an executive producer for Burke’s Backyard. Don and Marea would also have two grandchildren named Joshua and Ben through Sean and his wife.
For the last fifty years, the couple has been inseparable, with Don even calling Marea his soulmate. However, their marriage hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows as the couple has had to face some difficult times together.
For the last 19 years, the couple has been battling Marea’s health problems, with Don having to act as his wife’s full-time carer.
The first of these problems appeared in the year 2000 when Marea started noticing that she was having some double-vision. As it turns out, her vision problems were related to a tangle of blood vessels on top of her brain known as an Arteriovenous Malformation, a rare condition that could’ve been fatal if it weren’t treated immediately.
Thankfully, she survived the 9-hour operation that removed the varicose veins from her brain. But unfortunately, that wasn’t the last of the health problems she’d face that year. In the middle of her rehab and recovery from the condition, Marea would also develop epilepsy after suffering from a minor stroke.
It was a scary time for the Burkes to be sure. But, the couple dealt with the situation as best as they could, with Don not only taking care of his wife but also taking over her responsibilities at CTC productions while she recovered. However, tragedy would strike once again in 2013 as Marea was diagnosed with breast cancer.
As her condition was a particularly aggressive form of cancer, Marea needed to rely on drastic measures to survive. On top of having to get chemotherapy and radiotherapy in the years that followed, she also underwent a mastectomy within the week that she was diagnosed.
Marea in 2019
With all that being said, for as difficult as the last 19 years have been for Marea and Don, they’ve found at least one silver lining to their situation. According to Marea herself, facing these battles together have helped the couple grow closer together:
“I suppose we are closer in that I need him to be there in case I do fall down the steps because Don does a lot now, that perhaps he wouldn’t have.”
Today, her health remains in a fragile state, though she is in remission. And, while her husband continues to take care of her, the accusations levelled against him alongside the reveal of his extramarital affairs probably aren’t helping.
That being said, she seems to be standing strong in spite of her health issues and the allegations against her husband. In fact, Tracey Grimshaw, host of A Current Affair, even described her as “tough, but fragile” when asked about what Marea thought of her husband’s scandal. While the last few years certainly couldn’t have been easy on her, it seems like she’ll continue to push on.
With as private of a person as she is, there’s only so much information about Marea that’s available to the public. But, after learning about her role in Burke’s Backyard and the battles she’s faced over the years, one thing becomes clear about her.
Marea Burke is more than just Don Burke’s wife – she’s a strong woman that works hard and stands by the people she loves. And, if that’s all we ever learn about her, then that’s plenty enough.