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Grant Denyer's darkest moment: “I don’t know how I survived"

Speaking to The Australian Women's Weekly, Grant talks about the moment that nearly broke him.

Grant Denyer says 2018 has been the best year of his life.
Career wise, things couldn't have gone better. The former Family Feud and Australia's Got Talent host won the coveted Gold Logie, plus a Silver Logie for Most Popular Television Presenter and a Best Newcomer ACRA (Australian Commercial Radio Award) for co-hosting 2Day FM's breakfast radio show.
"It's really been an incredible year, probably the best year ever. I've come full circle. My workload is pretty high but I've found a better life balance now," the 41-year-old told The Australian Women;s Weekly during an exclusive chat in the new January issue on sale now.
Along with his wife Cheryl and daughters Sailor, seven, and Scout, three, Denyer now lives on an 11-hectare property in Bathurst, a town in the New South Wales central west, about a three hour drive from Sydney. Their family is enjoying life at a slightly slower pace.
"I don't know how I've survived, but I have a deep passion for the game, for TV. I've been doing it since I was 16 and I've learned from a lot of good people around me," Denyer said.
"I'd like to think I've got a good work ethic. I try very hard. I take chances as well and those calculated risks have occasionally paid off. But I think there's been a fair amount of luck in there as well."
The family pictured at their Bathurst property. (Image: The Australian Women's Weekly)
Grant and Cheryl Denyer have been married for almost a decade. (Image: The Australian Women's Weekly)
But not too long ago, Denyer was at rock bottom.
He's been open about his battles with depression, chronic exhaustion and an addiction to heavy-duty prescription painkillers that in in 2013 led Denyer and his wife Cheryl to check into The Cabin, an expensive rehabilitation centre in Thailand.
Back on the road as the weatherman on Channel Seven's Sunrise, Grant "pushed too hard and too long" and was eventually warned he would die unless he walked away from the job.
Medical tests had revealed his organs were functioning "at just seven per cent" and he was sleeping 23 hours a day, waking just long enough to stand up on camera.
"I was run-down and exhausted, but I learned a lot from that," Denyer said.
"I used to ignore the warning signs. I never ate very well, I was never very fit. I was burning the candle at both ends and the middle, so it was the perfect storm of implosion, really. I thought I was invincible, and I f**ked up."
Chezzi and Grant share a tender moment at the 2018 Logie Awards. (Image: Getty Images)
Cheryl was also battling both post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and post-natal anxiety following her daughter Sailor's birth in May 2011.
A high-powered career woman used to travelling Australia for Sunrise, she was isolated and unhappy, alone with her baby in a high-rise Sydney flat while Denyer was away on assignment.
"I'm sure Grant thought he had married a monster," Cheryl told The Weekly, confessing to a "mini-breakdown" in 2012 when Sailor was eight months old.
"I feared that, if I didn't get help, they were going to lock me up. That's how crazy I was."
The couple agree seeking help was a life-saving decision.
"Going to Thailand was challenging, but it was the smartest thing we ever did. It was good for Chezzi to focus on her PTSD and post-natal anxiety," Denyer told The Weekly.
"It was good for me to recharge and reset because I had chronic fatigue and I was burned out. We had to be pretty disciplined, but we haven't looked back."
Grant and Cheryl made sure their mental wellbeing was a priority. (Image: Getty Images)
In May this year, Channel 10 announced that Family Feud would cease production after 1200 episodes.
While Denyer is looking forward to his new projects, like hosting Channel Seven's Dancing With The Stars with Amanda Keller, he's saying goodbye to a show that helped him during some of his darkest days.
During his Gold Logie Award acceptance speech at the July ceremony, Denyer broke down while explaining just how important the show is to him.
WATCH: Grant Denyer accepts his Gold Logie. Post continues.
"I'll tell you why this is important to me tonight and it really is a special achievement because Family Feud came long to me in my life when I really wasn't sure if I'd ever work again or if I wanted to," Denyer said through tears.
"I wasn't particularly in a very good place. I wasn't very well. I was in a bit of a hole. I was pretty sad. I was a bit lost and Family Feud came along and I was very unwell at that particular time," the father-of-two continued.
"I figured out it's never too late to improve yourself, to be kind to other people, and to know that you can always be a better you and that you can have a much better, positive influence on other people," he explained.
Grant Denyer and Amanda Keller are hosting Dancing With The Stars in 2019. (Image: Supplied)
As Cheryl looked on from the audience, also in tears, Denyer dedicated his award to his wife of almost 10 years.
"My beautiful wife Chezzi, oh, my god. We did it darling. We bloody did it. Wow. We've come a long way. I owe this to you," he said.
"We are an incredible team and you've been there by my side through the best and the worst. And we've had some down times and we've had some great times and I want you to share in this moment because this is yours as much as it's mine."
Denyer hasn't actually seen footage of that speech – and he doesn't plan to watch it anytime soon.
Grant Denyer with his daughters Sailor, seven, and Scout, three. (Image: TV Week)
Speaking exclusively with TV Week in September, he said: "It was overwhelming when it happened, just too magical to want to revisit it. I can't improve on it, so why go through it again?"
After eight nominations without a win during his 21-year career on television, Denyer said it was wonderful to be acknowledged by his peers.
It was the perfect full-circle moment to top off his miraculous mental and physical turnaround.
"I think I'm in a better headspace," Denyer told TV Week.
"To be honest, the last couple of years, I think I was afraid to win it. The idea of standing up there in front of your peers and trying to entertain a room of entertainers has almost been too daunting to want to try to achieve.
"So there was a part of me that was talking myself out of not wanting to win, like previously. Now, I'm just a little bit more at peace with things and with myself, and I think it made the moment a lot more enjoyable."
The January issue of The Australian Women's Weekly is on sale now.
The January issue of The Australian Women's Weekly is on sale now.