| 13.8°C Dublin

Why we're so proud to be Daddy's girls

They say a daughter needs a dad to show her that not all boys are like the ones who hurt her.

it takes someone special to be a special dad so, With Father's Day approaching this Sunday, ANDREA SMITH speaks to Lisa Murphy and Lisa Cannon, who both enjoy great relationships with their fathers.

'Dad's very nurturing and loving, and I'm like that,too'

Three famous fiances, but dad is the constant man in star Lisa's life

Des Murphy is the father of model, businesswoman and star of Dublin Wives, Lisa Murphy. He met his wife Eileen at 16, and they were married seven years later in 1967. They had four children – Paul, who sadly passed away in 1995, Lisa, Noel and Kira, and have four grandchildren, Sophia (6), Alanna (3), Megan (2) and Charlie (8 months).

Growing up in Ballinteer, Lisa recalls having a very loving and harmonious childhood. "My memories are very special, as I had such a happy childhood," she says.

"Dad worked around the clock to give us everything, but we weren't spoiled because Mum kept us grounded. He came home every Friday with chocolate, so I have him to thank now that I'm a chocoholic."

The witty Des says that Lisa was very quiet and studious growing up, and never gave any trouble. "Lisa was beautiful, and she was always good," he says. "Kira was probably a bit wilder. Lisa used to go out with the girls, and as she didn't drink for ages, she was always the one making sure everyone got home."

Lisa says that her dad wasn't strict, and while her mother was stricter, she had to be as the lion's share of raising the children fell to her as Des was away a few days per week for work.

"Eileen did a brilliant job, and our personalities complemented one another" he says. "If the two of us had been the same, we'd have either ruined the children, or murdered them. She comes across as tougher, but she actually has the biggest heart of the lot of us."


"Dad was so easy-going, but if something was a no, it was a no," adds Lisa. "Although that only happened once in my life. I think we're exactly alike. Dad's personality and disposition is calm and giving and nurturing and loving, and I'm like that, too. We're very sentimental and soft, and, I suppose, a bit naive. I can always go to him and he just listens, and as I talk, I know what the answer is myself. Dad doesn't give opinions and he doesn't judge, which is exactly like me."

Lisa says that the whole family bonded even more after the devastation they experienced when her brother Paul, who had special needs, was killed in a car accident in 1995.

She may always look stunning and groomed, but Lisa loves nothing more than to spend time at home in her velour tracksuits, with no make-up on. Her dad loves to tease her about how glamorous she is when she comes down in the morning, complete with her ear plugs and sleep mask, and sits in his favourite chair.

Being papped is nothing new for the star, as her dad was always keen on photography and filming, and even has video footage of Eileen when she was pregnant with Lisa.

She was catapulted into the limelight as her three former fiances, boxer Joe Egan, dancer Michael Flatley and solicitor Gerald Kean, were all well known, but that was just a coincidence as the warm and grounded Lisa is a very private and discreet person who doesn't seek the limelight.

So, does the fact that some people have the wrong impression of his daughter upset Des?

"If she's hurt in any way, I feel sad, but she's well able to handle herself," he says. "I got on very well with her previous boyfriends, and they all said she was the nicest person they ever met. Her looks are just a bonus. Lisa has a heart of gold, and that's why her relationships lasted a long time. It wasn't her fault that they didn't work out. She's like me in that I don't fall out with people or hold grudges."

"Mum would have had more of an opinion on boyfriends, but dad just goes with the flow," says Lisa, adding that Des has always been the constant man in her life.

"If I was having a problem, I'd never really tell them anyway as I like to protect them. We're all very emotional as a family and we take things to heart, and while I'm out there at events and things, I still remain private and dignified."

Des says that he is proud of Lisa for this, as she has never spilled the beans on any of her relationships and says she never will.

He would love to see her find love and have "loads of children", because her nieces and nephew adore her and she is wonderful with them. "Lisa's mother worries about her more than I do, but I think I understand her better because she is more like me," he says. "She's too soft and forgiving, but I hope she never changes because that's just her."


'He gives me a teddy for my birthday and I still snuggle up to him'

Mick and Lisa Cannon got even closer as they coped with trauma of losing mum to cancer

Mick Cannon is the father of Xpose presenter Lisa Cannon. Originally from Castlebar, he was an English and Maths teacher, and a music writer for Hot Press. He sadly lost his wife and Lisa's mum Laura to cancer in 2008, and she was a French, German and English teacher.

"My dad has to be the best dad you could possibly wish for," says Lisa. "He is so kind, loving and caring, and very chatty and lovable, but he's also really cool. He's a massive music fan, and he always brought me to concerts, films, plays and ballets from a very early age. He is very well read, and has interviewed people like Roy Orbison and The Clash. My passion for music stemmed from him."

Mick jokes that Lisa was 'tormented' by having parents who were both teachers, and she says that they were a big help with her studies. "Mind you, if you didn't do well in exams, you had so many questions to answer," she laughs.

The family enjoyed regular visits to Castlebar, where Mick's parents had a family pub, Cannon's. He and Laura were a little worried when Lisa decided to take drama and theatre studies at Trinity College because it can lead to an insecure career path, but were thrilled when she got the Xpose job.

"Lisa is beautiful, but she has a beautiful, kind nature, too, and I think she's really natural on TV. I can't believe she gets to interview The Rolling Stones or Robert De Niro. People say to me that my claim to fame is that I'm Lisa Cannon's dad. We went away recently, and the airline staff were asking Lisa all about hair and make-up as one of them was getting married.

"Lisa brings me to the red carpet quite a lot and it's good fun. We went over to the US for a week, and met Beyonce, who was actually terrific."

Lisa recalls how funny it was when her dad asked Beyonce to pose for a pic, which she most graciously did. "It was that classic moment where you're just embarrassed by your parent," she laughs. "Every daughter has one."

When it comes to dating, her dad is more black and white about her boyfriends than her mother would have been. "If someone doesn't treat me right, they're out, which I think is typical of a dad/daughter relationship. Dad is a shining light in my life, and it's going to take a big man to measure up to him, but luckily my boyfriend Richard is not too far behind."

"I suppose every dad is protective, but I've liked every boyfriend she's had and Richard is really nice," says Mick.

"Lisa is very caring and compassionate, and we have the same sense of humour and can laugh at ourselves. There is a great chemistry between us.


"Lisa is also very close to her grandmother Nora in London, who has just turned 100. We stayed in Claridges for Christmas two years ago, and came down on Christmas morning to a horse and white carriage that Lisa had booked as a surprise to bring us all around London."

Lisa thinks she and her dad are particularly close, because they only had each other following the death of her mother Laura in 2008.

"It was terribly traumatic, horrendous and surreal," she says. "Dad put beautiful quotes up to help my mother when she was ill, and there was a lot of love in the room in her last few weeks. We sang songs together, ate great food, laughed and told stories.

"It was very tough for Dad, and he had to stay strong for me, too, as I very much leaned on him. I still snuggle up to him like an eight-year-old, and he still gives me teddy bears on my birthday. He also writes me a beautiful letter every year, describing what has happened to me that year, and we read it and have a couple of cry breaks and laugh breaks."

Lisa loves her "Dad days," which generally happen every Sunday, and Richard and Lisa's dog Lulu comes along too. "I think Lisa is scared that if anything happens to me, she's going to be left with nobody, being an only child," her dad points out.

"She has loads of friends, though I'd love to see her settling down. I'm so proud of her.