The Wiggles reveal impact of Greg, Emma quitting

The Wiggles have opened up about the impact of popular members leaving the group over the years, as they revealed whose departure hit hardest.

Anthony Field, the only remaining original in the Australian children’s group, along with fellow founding members Greg Page, Murray Cook and Jeff Fatt have reunited to promote their new Prime Video documentary, Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles.

A love-letter to their legacy, the doco profiles how they’ve managed to maintain popularity over a three-decade career, despite the respective high profile exits of Greg in 2006, and later his replacement Emma Watkins, who quit in 2021.

Speaking to news.com.au, the Wiggles were asked how difficult it was to move forward after the two high-profile exits, with Field explaining why Greg’s decision to leave proved most crushing.

“For me, with Greg, it was very hard, because this four have this magic that you can’t manufacture,” he said, a sentiment which was backed up by Murray.

“Greg’s voice is the sound of the Wiggles, really. Of our Wiggles,” Murray added.

“And also, it’s just that friendship, that bond that we had. We were like brothers. And when one of your brothers is gone, it was really hard for quite a long time.”

Page was forced to prematurely quit the Wiggles at the peak of their fame due to health issues, when he was replaced by Sam Moran. But Moran left after five years in a cloud of controversy when Page made a comeback in early 2012.

Watkins would later wear the Yellow skivvy for nine years until she stepped down.

“With Sam and Emma, it wasn’t such a big thing as Greg leaving … Because we knew that you can keep going, and you can have other people in the skivvys as long as you come from the child perspective,” Field continued.

Page retired from the Wiggles for good in late 2012, along with Murray and Jeff.

Watkins then became the first female Wiggle, while Simon Pryce took on Red Wiggle and Lachlan Gillespie became Purple Wiggle.

Within 18 months of debuting their new-look, the Wiggles managed the near-impossible as they hit the heights of their glory days, largely thanks to the inclusion of Watkins, who became a powerhouse brand in her own right and was oft-credited for the band’s popularity among a new generation of kids.

Her departure from the band, following a failed two-year marriage to remaining Wiggle Gillespie, prompted an outpouring of shock and sadness among her massive individual fanbase at the time.

While Watkins features in the doco, eyebrows were raised when she failed to attend the premiere alongside past and present Wiggles members on October 19.

She was instead on the other side of the country in Perth, with a book signing for Emma Memma’s Alphabet Day.

Further, Watkins – who features in the doco – hasn’t promoted its release on social media at all.

She does, however, speak fondly of her nine years in the group, while also touching on her split from Gillespie.

The pair went public with their relationship in 2015 before marrying the following year in Bowral. They announced their separation in 2018.

“Romantically, it just wasn’t going the way our friendship was going,” Watkins said, with Gillespie offering, “We were travelling the world, we were together, things do change, and life changes.”

Watkins concluded, “It was all about the children.”

Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles is now streaming on Prime Video

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