Simon Baker: no relationship is without challenges – exclusive interview

Simon Baker has been a Longines ambassador for seven years, now. With his cute, blonde curls, broad smile and great sense of humor, the Australian star of ‘The Mentalist’ is the perfect personification of the elegance with which the Swiss watch brand is associated. We could experience that ourselves during the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona where Simon Baker revealed that for him no relation is without challenges.

Text Anja Van Der Borght
Pictures, Longines en Achim Steenhaut

With a firm handshake and a broad smile, Simon Baker welcomes us in Barcelona. “Sorry for my English,” I say. “Well, I’m sorry for mine,” Simon Baker replies. The tone is set.

What is the first thing you do in the morning? 
Simon Baker: “I have a drink of (plain) water. Sometimes a lemon juice. Sometimes I meditate.” 

Are you afraid of time passing? 
Simon Baker: “Getting old you mean? Yes, there are things I could do when I was young(er). Now I say to myself, I should have done more of that… at the time! They are mainly related to physical things. Because that’s getting a bit harder when you get older. It is not too bad yet, you know… but I feel some pains in different places, indicating that I did a bit too much in some instances. It is less about time going by, it is more about the things you want to do…” 

We asked Simon Baker to choose between :

Ferrari or Porsche?
Simon Baker: “I am not really a car person.” 

Boxer short or underpants?
Simon Baker: “Depending on what I’m feeling, at night, boxer shorts. 

Blondes or brunettes?
Simon Baker: “Hm…”

Sneakers or classic shoes?
Simon Baker: “Depends again on what I’m wearing, what I’ve done.”

Adventure trip like Kenya or city trip? 
Simon Baker: “Can I have both… one makes the other even better, right?”

So what do you dream of? Like what do you really want to do in the future?
Simon Baker: “It is less about what it is that I want to do, it is more about how I am going to feel when I am doing it. You can do great things, but not enjoy what it is that you are doing, because of some other anxiety related to it. Then in hindsight you look back and you say to yourself, well what I did there was really great, but I was so tense and so anxious and uptight about it, that I didn’t enjoy what it was. So actually I want to do a thing which I enjoy and indeed feel the relaxing process of doing it. So it is more about adjusting my own philosophical approach to the thing(s) which I am doing. Just let go of the guilt “I should rather be doing this or that”, and enjoy what you are doing there. Be more in the moment and just accepting that moment. Do not let any outside pressure come in.” 

Can you say that you live the life that you dreamt of? 
Simon Baker: “No, because I never dreamt any of this… I am living so outside of that. Every day I live in a situation which is almost surreal. When I grew up, I didn’t have a dream this big. So I’m improvising. And I really just try to enjoy each of those moments. My general approach is just to simplify everything back to just the basis of connection, whatever those connections are. Because as a person I can feel comfortable and safe in that. When I look at you, you look, I talk, you talk, you communicate, and there is an honest communication backwards and forwards, that’s simple, and as a human being, I can understand and relate to that, because that is just in me, innately. And I think that’s in all of us, innately. So that’s how I work. In a way, I work back to that point, all the time.” 

At what moment in your life you thought, I want to be an actor? 
Simon Baker: “I think it was pretty early on, when I understood the notion of performance; I grew up in a very idyllic place, but I didn’t grow up in the best family circumstances. The good thing is that I understood the release of humour in those situations, and the importance of performance, to help get through certain situations. I guess unconsciously it grew, but also my relationship with my mother developed, in my early teens, with watching films. Then when I first started seeing films, I thought, I like to do this. I remember specifically what it was, that was potent to me: that you could watch a film, and understand what a character was thinking, feeling, just through actions and behaviour, and not necessarily through dialogue, or being told, as when you read a story, it’s been told to you. But when you are watching a film, you are experiencing the behaviour of that character, connecting with that character, in your own way. I found that incredibly powerful, watching a person on a screen go through what they are going through, and this could speak to me in a really potent way. In those moments, and this happened to me more in a cinema, because there is more intimacy in a cinema then on a TV screen, it is comparatively more immersive, I thought, I like to be able to connect, through and with people, in that way.” 

Simon Baker: “But – and I want to stress this – I have not given up the idea of having time just to do nothing. Even if it is in small periods, it really is important to me.”

What projects are you working on today? 
Simon Baker: I am working on two different projects, for different films I am going to direct, both in Australia. I will also do a feature film on quite a well known Australian artist, called Del Kathryn Barton. She has made a couple of short films, and the new ones is a very interesting, quite a powerful story about a twelve year old girl who witnesses a rape. I will play her father and it’s her journey. It will be quite an avant garde piece of cinema. That’s the next thing I will do as an actor, but at the moment I am in the process of developing stuff to work as a director. However I don’t want to work too much at the moment, because I have got my youngest kid left at home, and he’s one year left to school. I made a commitment to myself and him to be around as a father as much as possible for this last year. A lot of the work offered to me comes from America, but I live in Australia for the moment, and I would also like to work in Europe, because deep down, I have more a European sensibility. But I achieved success in America…”

Do you regret not having been there more for your other children? 
Simon Baker: “It is not about regret so much, it is more a combination of just like time. Time is moving in a direction for me and them, I have got three kids, and in a year, we will be moving to empty nesters. So what does that mean? Now I have only got this much time, let’s make the most of it. Once that’s gone, it’s gone, and things will be different. I know that it’s finite.” 

Talking about time, I heard you like to be on time?
Simon Baker: “I indeed like to be on time, I even like to be ready, ideally 5 minutes before, I want to focus and prepare myself.” 

What do you do in these five minutes before? You watch your text messages, your social media, … 
Simon Baker: “Sometimes I just think about why I am there, it just depends. If there are things I just have to deal with, and that is just the benefit on these (smartphone) instruments, if I’m waiting for someone and I have three or more things to do, and if I can do them in that period of time, and then I can free myself of having to do these matters afterwards, it is useful. But it is always a compromise, isn’t it. You do it now or later. But – and I want to stress this – I have not given up the idea of having time just to do nothing. Even if it is in small periods, it really is important to me.” 

Simon Baker: “No one is everything to another person. Understanding that and accepting is one thing, but also knowing that it can all fall apart the next week. You are together because you want to be together. Now, we will see what it’s like tomorrow.” 

You collect watches? 
Simon Baker: “I do now, whether you like it or not.” 

Do you consider your watches objects that you would pass on to next generations? 
Simon Baker: “Absolutely.” 

You do a lot of sports; do you wear a watch when you are surfing for example? 
Simon Baker: “Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It depends.” 

With a NATO or metal strap? Now you are wearing a rubber strap… ?
Simon Baker: “Well this HydroConquest from Longines I will probably wear because it is a beautiful watch, and it is really suited to the water. The other HydroConquest watch I always surf with has a steel strap.” 

And the steel strap doesn’t bother you? 
Simon Baker: “No, not really. I live right near the beach in Sydney, and if I have to be on time somewhere after the surf session, I will wear a watch. Otherwise, I don’t… because I don’t want to have any limitation while surfing; I just want to go…” 

You love horse riding?
Simon Baker: “I love horses, as an animal. They are incredible. They are just beautiful, powerful creatures. The experience of riding them is unique, I had the great fortune many years ago to have to ride a horse in a film, and my relationship with horses started there. Because I had four weeks of riding every day and when we shot the film for three months we were riding every day as well, I developed a relationship with the horse, which is really potent. It is really hard to articulate, it develops when you are ON the horse, it is a visceral thing, it is through feel. The horse can tune in how you feel, and you feel the tension in the horse through your body. And there is something really potent about that which is exiting to me. Tonight will be very interesting to me, because I have never been to a show jumping event. I have jumped horses, just for films, and I understand, with an animal as big as a horse, rhythmically, how precise and in sync the rider and the horse have to be. You reduce the steps, so that the horse shortens it steps before the jump, goes from left to right foot, all this is incredibly detailed, and so many hours of practice and training and then you (both) just belief and feel… it is like golf, you practice hitting the ball, you think, you think, but then when you actually do it, you just let go and just feel. That’s what these sport people have to do, these riders have to do during these events, with their horse. Just believe and feel. That’s incredible. That’s so powerful.” 

Simon Baker: “No relationship is without challenges.”

What is your mission in life? 
Simon Baker: “I think just to get through without too much carnage… also to yourself. You can inflict harm to yourself too.” 

Would you like your children to go in your footsteps? 
Simon Baker: “I want my kids to run their own race… It’s a cliché, I want my kids to be happy. If one wants to be a plumber, I want him to be the happiest plumber that there is. If one wants to be a poet, I want him to be the happiest poet that there is. If there is a miserable poet, I want him to be the happiest miserable poet that there is. I want him to be happy with himself, that’s the most important relationship, isn’t it?” 

You are married for a long time with your wife, what are the keys to a successful marriage? 
Simon Baker: “Adventure. It is more kind of a mindset. Because adventure is often the way you face challenges. Because any relationship is not without many, many challenges. You never get to a place where you say, oh, this is good, now it’s easy, because soon as you are there, it is like termites you know, soon as you look at the foundations, things start to collapse again. So it’s never taking those moments for granted. And I think the truth is that having kids feeds just so much more into your relationship. It takes the focus and the attention from just the two of you towards now a united goal which is just raising these kids. There are no keys. I think you do it because you want to do it. A lot of friends around my age are divorced, and sometimes their relationship is better once they are separated. But I don’t want to be held as a sort of yardstick at all as the successful married guy, as there is always pressure on a relationship. Because of that kind of pressure, every relationship is challenging and difficult, and no one is everything to another person. Understanding that and accepting is one thing, but also knowing that it can all fall apart the next week. You are together because you want to be together, now. We will see what it’s like tomorrow.”


  1. Great interview. Simon Baker is one of the best in the industry. Would like to have a copy of the interview. How can I get one for my collection?

  2. Wonderful interview. I find Simon Baker to be an interesting and intelligent person. His devotion to his family is part of the reason for his success as a family man. His outlook on life and insight into motivation make him attractive to the heart and soul as well as to the eyes. As an American fan…I hope that he will return for a project here someday. GOD Bless you and your family Simon Baker!

  3. Wonderful interview. I find Simon Baker to be an interesting and intelligent person. His devotion to his family is part of the reason for his success as a family man. His outlook on life and insight into motivation make him attractive to the heart and soul as well as to the eyes. As an American fan…I hope that he will return for a project here someday. GOD Bless you and your family Simon Baker!

  4. In a world where most things & people appear fake, I admire Simon Baker because he presents as a GENUINE ( what you see is what you get)person who is not only an exceptional actor but a successful family man, who doesn’t seem to have let success get to his head!!

  5. Wonderful interview, Simon is the best actor for me and I wish to see him soon in cinema and tv series.. how can I get this interview to save it in my collection?

    1. Dear Simon Baker fan,
      May I ask you what kind of copy you need, as the info is publicly shared…
      Have a great day!

  6. ‘Very good questions – thank you. The answers revealed the quality of Simon Baker’s character – so genuine, generous and pure in nature and a brilliant, talented actor as well.

  7. Dear Anja, thank You very much for such a magnificent interview! For me Simon Baker is such a unique person in the world (not only cinema). I’ve read it only now, after a year having passed. Greatly hope he faced not too much challenges that could have extremely changed his life.

  8. Back when I first read this interview, I thought, oh my, the way he talks about his marriage sounds very different from what he usually says, I would not be surprised if we soon hear the news of a divorce.
    Now we have heard the news, and I am not surprised.
    The other thing that made me go “huh?” is his remark about wanting to work in Europe and having a “European sensibility”. As a European, I have no idea what the hell he is talking about. But if I had to guess, I’d say he is dating a European woman. Probably Italian or French.

    1. Well as Simon says no relation is without challenges and I feel they both have done allready a great job staying together for 29 years as public figures in the movie industry. I wish them both all the best and lots of luck.

  9. I am sad that Simon and Bec have split. I wonder if she’ll persuade her acting career again.
    I love Simon Baker, hope he is in many more movies!

    1. Hi Christine, I share your feelings. I wish them both a bright future with lots of movies and series for us to watch !

  10. This interview seems to have been when Simon was in spain promoting a Longines sponsored top grade horse jumping event, which, going by his instagram entry would have been October 2019 approx. He does speak very candidly about challenges in every relationship, which in hind sight makes me wonder if his marriage was already on the rocks. I am not surprised about him wanting to work in Europe because he has often mentioned this in interviews held in Europe, especially France. He seems to have a great liking for how the film industry is in France, Italy and Switzerland.

  11. Simon Baker has often praised the film industry in France and also Italy and Switzerland, when doing European interviews. I am not surprised when he said something about wanting to work in Europe and having a “European sensibility”.

  12. I found this article trying to get some information about Simon Baker ever since I heard he and his wife had split after 29 years. and I don’t know when this article was written but when I was reading it just now I thought wow that’s very telling about his relationship when he says about it being not without challenges. That was one of the things I admired about him years ago was his devotion to his wife and children. That and just his kindness and that he likes photography and I do too. I’ve always wanted to see some of his work. I do enjoy watching things he’s directed. I can’t wait to see that one project he was talking about with the unusual Cinema aspects or whatever.

  13. I have become fascinated by Simon Baker’s acting in both The Mentalist and The Guardian. He is very talented. I am sorry he has had to go through the stress of the break up of his marriage, I personally experienced two divorces and neither were very easy. Wish hi and his family the best in coping with their new lives, and I look forward to seeing in new films

  14. Thanks for this interview, different because the interviewed person is not like others, different and also speciak for being just natural human.
    I am happy to find out that he is in love now and happy, playing like a young kid with Laura in ocean and beach, the idyllic scenery he is familiar with since childhood and youth. God bless everybody!

  15. Almost four years since that interview and Simon has moved on, he seems to have created a perfect balance of handling his private life and keeping that separate form his public appearances. He has also moved on from “playing like a young kid with Laura in ocean and beach” and is hopefully having the relationships that he wasn’t able to have in his twenties, because of his commitment to his family back then. His acting in ‘Limbo’ is superb according to reports. He always wanted to be known for his acting and directing and not for his looks.

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