Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has opened up for the first time about the emotional toll the decision to mount a leadership challenge took on her in the lead up to ousting Kevin Rudd for the nation’s top job in 2010.

In a tell-all interview (her first major TV interview since leaving politics) with Ray Martin – to accompany and promote the release of her extensive, and by all accounts honest, book My Story which is due for release on October 1st – Gillard opened up about a range of issues, from political factions, to the dysfunctional nature of the Labor government, to gay marriage and how she feels about her now-famous misogyny speech in Parliament.

But it’s her recounting of the events and days leading up to her successful leadership challenge in which she ousted Kevin Rudd as the Prime Minister of Australia which provided the most surprise – with Gillard admitting that the strain of the constant media speculation, at one point, brought her to tears.

I’d felt like I’d done everything I possibly could to help and support and prop Kevin up and there had already in the days before been some signs that, you know, now I was being viewed with ­suspicion and I just cried. I felt it was just so unfair.

But Gillard also stated that it was after then, after she asked Rudd for a ballot, that things began to take on a different feel.

By the time I got back to my office it was filling with supporters and that, I’d have to say, just had the sense of kind of, you know, almost uprising about it. People, people wanted change.

Gillard also commented on the decision to give Rudd the job of Foreign Minister – a decision made when it became apparent that the new Gillard Cabinet had to do something to stop the constant stream of media leaks.

Whether you like her or you don’t, an admission of this nature from a former senior politician is – at the very least – unusual. Seldom do we think of politicians as emotional beings, but the strain of constant media speculation contributing to instability in your own workplace has got to be hellish at the best of times.

However, it doesn’t change the fact that despite the emotional and frank admissions, and a tenure as Prime Minister that arguably will be looked upon more favourably as the years progress, towards the end of their term in Government the Labor party’s inability to present any semblance of a united front, coupled with their complete and total failure to sell the nation on their economic performance – which, let’s not forget here, was rated among the absolute best in the world by various global economic watchdogs – falling victim to muck-raking and basal, accusatory, Tea Party-style politicking from the opposition, ultimately caused the Government to eat itself.

As for the interview itself, it’s probably up to you to be the judge.

Photo: Brendon Thorne via Getty Images.