EXCLUSIVE Grant Denyer opens up about his most emotional year yet

'I’ve only ever lived life pedal to the metal!'

In a black-and-white video captured late on the night of July 1, a tuxedo-clad Grant Denyer grooves on a dance floor to a techno track. He smiles to himself, lost in thought as he moves.
Then, as revellers around him throw their hands in the air, he holds aloft the TV WEEK Gold Logie he's kept a tight grip on all night and spirals with glee, bopping his head in delight and satisfaction.
Grant celebrates his Logies win on the dance floor.
By the time the official ceremony for the 60th TV WEEK Logie Awards ended at The Star Gold Coast in Queensland, Grant had won Most Popular Presenter for the game show Family Feud and the coveted Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality On Australian TV – and had already spent hours hugging and chatting to a long receiving line of well-wishers.
Having escaped to the Network Ten afterparty, Grant remained a fixture on the dance floor until four in the morning.
"I just didn't stop," Grant, 40, tells TV WEEK Close Up on the phone from the relative peace of his country home in Bathurst, NSW. "I was jumping in the crowd with this permanent grin that would just not leave my face."
By his side once again was wife and Mummy Time blogger Cheryl "Chezzi" Denyer.
"I just kept saying to him, 'Live and breathe every minute of this,'" Chezzi, 38, says. "This is just amazing."
Chezzi and Grant Denyer celebrate his wins at the 2018 TV WEEK Logie Awards.
In fact, in a roller-coaster year that saw Grant recover from a car accident, start his first radio gig and tape his final episodes of Family Feud (this year's series was its last), he's gone on to win a Gold Logie, campaign for Rural Aid, and start work on a new show for Network Ten, Game Of Games.
"I've only ever lived life pedal to the metal!" Grant acknowledges.
After eight nominations without a win during his 21-year career on television, Grant went two for two in 2018, including his first golden gong.
"I think I'm in a better headspace," Grant, who admits he had long coveted the honour, says."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."
Grant reflects on his roller-coaster year.
Even so, Grant says he hasn't seen footage of his speech – nor does he plan to seek it out.
"It was overwhelming when it happened, just too magical to want to revisit it," he says. "I can't improve on it, so why go through it again?"
Someone who did feel the effect of Grant's acceptance speech, in which he spoke of moving out of a dark period of his life 10 years ago when he felt "sad and lost," was Most Popular Actress winner and fellow Gold nominee Jessica Marais.
The Love Child and The Wrong Girl star, who didn't attend the Logies after entering a Sydney clinic to work on mental health issues, tweeted that Grant "moved me to tears. And gives me strength. Courage in the quiet battle. Congrats, mate."
Grant reveals that he reached out to Jessica and has been talking to the 33-year-old actress over the past two months.
"I didn't really want to single her out that night and add any unnecessary pressure in what is surely already a difficult situation for her," he says. "But the words I chose were for anyone in that type of situation. That she said it helped and moved her meant the world to me."
To read more of our exclusive interview, pick up a copy of the new issue of TV WEEK Close Up, where Grant talks about his passionate Rural Aid work to help farmers affected by drought, his family life, his tough times and why he is being kinder to himself now.
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