Celebrity News

EXCLUSIVE: Kerri-Anne Kennerley talks about her husband’s devastating spinal injury

''It's cruel beyond words.''
Loading the player...

It’s been seven years since Kerri-Anne Kennerley was told that her beloved husband John was a quadriplegic.

She’ll do anything she can to stop other families from having to go through what she and John went through when they heard those words.

”It’s devastating,” she tells TV WEEK.

”You’re sick to your stomach. And having to accommodate the new norm when you’ve had such a fabulous life is just cruel beyond words.

”It’s so hard to adapt to. And the pain management for patients – everybody thinks they don’t suffer pain, but they do. They just can’t move limbs.”

Kerri Anne certainly has made a rumble in the jungle on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!

(IMAGE: Ten)

One of the reasons the daytime TV legend made the decision to brave the jungle on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! was the chance to win $100,000 for SpinalCure Australia.

The organisation does research into restoring movement to people who’ve suffered spinal cord injuries.

”I do think there are quite a few things they’re working on at the moment that are very, very promising,” she explains.

John died in 2019, three years after the fall from a balcony that left him a quadriplegic.

”Every day is a different day and you just have to face up to it and get through it as best you can,” Kerri-Anne says.

”And time does go on. It doesn’t make you forget anything, it doesn’t make things all that much easier, but you have to forge through.”

Kerri-Anne and John attended the 2017 TV Week Logie Awards together.

(IMAGE: Getty)

The 69-year-old has another reason for doing I’m A Celebrity: she’s ready for ”a bit of an adventure.”

Before entering the jungle, Kerri-Anne had never been camping in her life, although she did go glamping in Africa when she was doing a story for Sunday Night about rhinos.

”It was a very nice big tent and you had your camp bed, but they came along and put lovely little hot water bottles in there at night,” she remembers.

The last time Kerri-Anne competed on a reality TV show was Dancing With The Stars in 2012 – and she found that a challenge.

”That was torture,” she says.

”I wouldn’t do that again. I couldn’t remember all the dances. It’s exhausting, but very good.

”You’re walking hours and hours and hours a day, in the guise of doing dance steps, and if you’re watching your diet you can actually get quite fit and lose a bit of weight. And you definitely feel better.”

Kerri Anne at the 2022 TV Week Logie awards.

(IMAGE: Getty)

She’s hoping I’m A Celebrity will have a similar effect on her body.

”I did so well after Dancing With The Stars,” she says.

”I need to go back to that weight again.”

Kerri-Anne has been in the TV business since 1967, but in her years on Studio 10, from 2018 to 2020, she attracted more controversy than she’d ever attracted, with comments about violence in Indigenous communities, women who socialise with footballers and climate-change protestors.

She has no regrets over anything she said (“Nope!”) and believes everybody is entitled to their opinion.

”I’m sure there are a lot of people who have an opinion of me for whatever reason, because people are judgemental,” she adds.

”That’s OK.”

Kerri Anne found a lifelong love in her late husband John.

(IMAGE: Getty)

Kerri-Anne, who was inducted into the TV WEEK Logie Hall Of Fame in 2017, says she’s not looking to return to TV with another show along the lines of Midday or Kerri-Anne – although she wouldn’t mind making ”a few specials talking to fabulous people.”

”I’ll never work five days a week, six days a week, again,” she says.

”I did that for 40 years and as much as I loved it, I’ve got too many other things I want to do in my life. I’ve got lots of travel organised this year.”

She’s not expecting to stay in the South African jungle long either.

”I think people will get bored and vote me out and that’ll be just fine,” she says.

”As long as I can stay in for a couple of weeks, lose a bit of weight and get a bit fitter, we’ll all be happy.”

Related stories