The secret heartaches of The Wiggles revealed!

A new documentary is set to reveal their darkest days...
Loading the player...

Content Warning: This article contains sensitive content such as infant loss and may be distressing to some readers.

With their colourful skivvies and catchy tunes about everything from hot potatoes to rose-eating dinosaurs, The Wiggles have provided joy for millions of children around the world – not to mention respite for their exhausted parents!

WATCH NOW: The Wiggles cover Tame Impala song for Triple J’s Like A Version. Article continues after video.

But while they are all smiles on stage, behind the scenes many of the group’s members have suffered imaginable heartbreak since they formed in 1991. 

RELATED || Everything you need to know about The Wiggles documentary

Now, a new documentary is set to tell all. Premiering on Prime Video in October, Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles promises to shed light on the highs and lows of the group’s rise to fame, as well as their personal struggles and the events that shaped them.

Producer Paul Field lost his daughter to SIDS (Credit: Supplied)

Tragic Loss

Long before they became The Wiggles, Anthony Field and his brother Paul were part of Aussie pub band, The Cockroaches. 

It was during this time in 1988 that Paul’s daughter Bernadette tragically died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) aged seven months.

“We never thought we’d laugh again, we honestly thought we’d never be happy again,” Paul told the Daily Telegraph. 

“The grief is overwhelming.”

After The Cockroaches disbanded, Anthony went on to form The Wiggles in 1991 and Paul became their producer. 

When The Wiggles released their debut album in 1991, they dedicated it to Bernadette and to this day they are avid supporters of Red Nose Day, which raises awareness for SIDS. 

Phillip Wilcher has continued to work as a composer after leaving the band (Credit: Supplied)

Secret Fifth Wiggle

The original line-up featured Anthony, Murray Cook, and Greg Page, who all met at university. 

They were joined by Jeff Fatt; a fellow musician from The Cockroaches, and Phillip Wilcher. 

Phillip was a music assistant at the Institute of Early Childhood in Sydney, where Anthony, Murray, and Greg were students. But shortly after releasing their self-titled debut album, Phillip quietly disappeared from the group. 

He told New Idea earlier this year that he didn’t quit. Instead, he claims he was told he was “no longer needed.”

The band relaunched themselves as a quartet in their colourful skivvies, going on to make millions of dollars in ticket sales and merchandise. 

Phillip has no bitterness about what happened, but admits he is slightly confused by the way his contribution to the group has faded, bar a small mention on The Wiggles website. 

Greg’s poor health has forced him off the stage – twice! (Credit: Supplied)

Greg’s Health Battle 

In 2006, Greg devastated fans when he announced he would be leaving the band. 

He had been suffering from a condition known as orthostatic intolerance, which causes fatigue and blackouts. 

“It means that I’ll no longer be able to sing and dance as I want to,” he explained at the time. 

Initially, the ‘Yellow Wiggle’ position was passed to Sam Moran, but Greg has returned intermittently over the years, including in January 2020. 

He joined The Wiggles at a Sydney bushfire relief concert but made headlines when he collapsed on stage. Greg had suffered a heart attack and went into cardiac arrest. 

Luckily, an off-duty nurse was in the crowd and helped resuscitate Greg before he was hospitalised. 

Sam says he was “forced out” of The Wiggles (Credit: Supplied)

Sam Dumped!

Sam’s five-year tenure as Yellow Wiggle came to an abrupt end when he was controversially told there was no more room in the Big Red Car for him. 

Anthony claims Sam was simply “a hired hand” and that his contract came to an end – which Sam refutes. 

“I was not at the end of my contract,” he told the Herald Sun.

“As far as I was concerned, I wanted to continue because I loved what I was doing.”

Lachy and Emma’s marriage was short-lived (Credit: Supplied)

A Shock Divorce

With the door of the Wiggle House slammed shut on Sam, the yellow skivvy was then passed to Emma Watkins in 2012. 

As the first female Wiggle she quickly became one of the group’s most popular members. However, like Greg her tenure was marred by health issues. 

Emma suffered from crippling endometriosis. She revealed that while on tour she was often “bedridden” from the pain and would be “on the floor of the dressing room” because she couldn’t move. 

The entertainer underwent surgery for her condition but admits it could affect her fertility. 

“Speaking plainly, I just don’t know if I will be able to [have children],” she told the Daily Telegraph. 

Emma also suffered a public break-up in 2018, when she and Purple Wiggle Lachy Gillespie called it quits on their two-year marriage. 

The pair remained on good terms, working together until Emma left The Wiggles in 2021. 

Emma has since gone on to marry The Wiggles’ full-time musician Oliver Brian, while Lachy wed ballerina Dana Stephensen, with whom he shares two-year-old twin daughters.

Related stories