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Grant Denyer has been on a rollercoaster in 2019, and he’s glad to survive the ride in one piece

How this year taught Grant his most valuable lesson yet

By Cynthia Wang
In 2018, Grant Denyer delivered an emotional acceptance speech after receiving the TV WEEK Gold Logie Award for Most Popular Personality on Australian TV. According to the star, seeing the award brings back those feelings for him every day.
"It means the world to me," he says. "It was an incredible moment, and a lot's gone into making that moment happen.
"So I walk past it every day and it gives me a big smile, and the hair still stands up on the back of my neck when I think about the moment it was announced."
"Amanda Keller describes it as a great story of redemption, and I guess maybe it is," Grant, 42, says. "Because I've had some tough times, as everyone has, and it's just about how you rebound from those."
On a high after the Logies, which came on the heels of the cancellation of beloved game show Family Feud, Grant had several projects on his docket.
But Game Of Games failed to catch on, his time on Dancing With The Stars was cut short due to injury, and 2Day FM's Grant, Ed and Ash show was axed in August.
So once more, Grant had to dig deep into his well of resilience, even during the times he says he could have walked away.
"I've had some tough times" Image: Supplied
"Attitude can go a long way," he offers. "I suppose if anything, more than ever now, I'm very thankful for this job. I'm well aware that it could all end tomorrow."
He shakes his head, sighs, and smiles.
"It's been a crazy year," he tells TV WEEK at Network 10's Sydney headquarters, where he's just arrived after a bumpy flight from his home in Bathurst, NSW.
"I had a lot on my plate," he adds. "I had a lot of radio, I had a game show, and I had Dancing With The Stars as well, and I always knew it was going to be a tough ask to juggle them all. But I'm that kind of guy who says 'yes' to everything."
Even when his body is telling him 'no'.
Grant in hospital with his daughters, Sailor and Scout. Image: Grant Denyer Instagram
Right after the start of Dancing With The Stars in February, Grant ripped a disc in his back hammering a stake in the ground of his country property.
So to get back on set following two missed episodes with co-host Amanda, Grant needed pain medication. He then put himself through a rehabilitation hospital to "get on top of the injury" and then let time take its course.
Yet he learned something new in the process of healing.
"Pilates is the one thing that now just keeps that maintenance under control," he says. "Because there are a couple of old injuries in there from racing cars and doing stunts that have gone wrong. And you know, as you get a little bit older, you've got to be more mindful of that."
His family – wife Chezzi, 40, and daughters Sailor, eight, and Scout, four – have gone through aches and pains together.
"One daughter has had her tonsils out, one broke her arm on the monkey bars and I got Bali belly," Grant says of a holiday-borne illness in July that lead to Rove McManus filling in for him on Celebrity Name Game.
"It's been a crescendo of things, which I think is what happens when you have a lot going on," he concedes. "I think you could not take on so much, but then you also don't reap the gains or the rewards."
Grant on his property in Bathurst, where he injured his back. Image: Grant Denyer Instagram
He promises to be in top shape when Dancing With The Stars resumes in 2020 from Melbourne. Before then, the host who prides himself on making family entertainment has new episodes of Celebrity Name Game airing through to next year.
"We are this nice little island that you can go to and shout at the television, and grandma could play, and the kids can chip in," he says of Celebrity Name Game.
"The idea of families still sitting together on the one couch in the one room, rather than splintered off onto different devices, is a lovely thought."
He's also maintaining his relationship with Southern Cross Austereo even though his breakfast show with Ed Kavalee and Ash London is no more.
"I gave it my heart and soul and had an amazing time," Grant says. "And I learned a lot of new skills. Overshared a little bit, told quite a few personal stories, but loved it. I think radio will be something that's in my future."
In fact, it's something in his near future.
The Hit Network announced that Grant and Gogglebox Australia star Yvie Jones will co-host a two-week summer breakfast show across metro markets starting December 9.
Grant with Rove McManus and Peter Helliar on Celebrity Name Game. Image: 10
"I was always so busy and had blinkers on looking at the next goal that I never really reflected on things that had happened," Grant says. "Radio is good at reminding me of those, so it's helped me flesh out my storytelling abilities."
He also remains hopeful about Family Feud coming back, telling The Herald Sun, "I think it's been discussed."
Until then, Dancing With The Stars is just a couple of months away.
"I'll take a bit of time now to read a little bit and ensure I spend some time with the family – just top the tank back up again," Grant says.
With Celebrity Name Game recorded and a month to go before a new radio gig, is Grant sure he's content with just topping up the tank?
"It's a bit scary to me," he declares.
"I'm normally used to juggling many things, but it's something I've also got to teach myself in the same way that meditation is good – you kind of do it. I think having a moment to just enjoy one thing is really good, because it ensures that I do that to the best of my abilities."
Grant and his wife, Chezzi, have had a rollercoaster year. Image: Supplied
He'll also get behind the wheel for a couple of races, which he has been doing since he was 16 years old and is where, he says, his heart belongs.
But when asked if this slow creep of activities may soon blossom into another packed calendar of non-stop action, Grant pauses, and then explains that his workload is part of a bigger lesson for his daughters.
"I could just call it all off tomorrow and stop doing this dance, and stop doing the racing, and not do much work, and just be there 24/7," he says. "Or I could show them what's possible, what happens if you commit to something or have big dreams.
"I think the attitude of 'never settle' is quite a healthy one for them to learn."
WATCH NEXT: Grant Denyer shares hilarious story about his daughter on 2Day FM breakfast...
Celebrity Name Game airs weeknights, 6pm, on 10.

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