EXCLUSIVE: The Living Room’s Barry du Bois reveals the confronting reality of having cancer during COVID

As he turns 60, the iconc TV personality opens up to TV WEEK.
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You might think a 60-year-old with cancer would feel anxious in the time of COVID-19. But not Barry Du Bois.

“I have cancer, there’s no doubt about that,” The Living Room co-host tells TV WEEK.

“I have a very moderate treatment at the moment, which I have only about every two months, and throughout COVID I didn’t go on it.

“It does exhaust me, but I’m a pretty fit 60-year-old guy. There are a lot of 30-year-olds who aren’t as fit, and they’d be more threatened by COVID than I am.”

What Barry has found hard about COVID is not being allowed to hug and kiss Amanda Keller, Miguel Maestre and Dr Chris Brown, his co-hosts on the popular lifestyle show.

“These are people I love,” he declares. “These are my family.”

Barry, who’s been The Living Room‘s DIY expert since the show launched eight years ago, turned 60 earlier this month – not that he feels 60.

He still sees himself as “a 30-year-old strong guy who can achieve anything”, and it’s only when he catches sight of himself on screen that he has to accept how old he actually is.

Barry and his fellow Living Room hosts.

(Network Ten)

“When I watch the TV, I often ask myself what my dad is doing there. My dad’s been passed away for 10 years, but that’s who I see there: some old guy sitting on the couch with Amanda.”

Amanda, Miguel and Chris weren’t going to let Barry’s 60th birthday go by without a celebration. So they threw him a surprise party, which airs this week.

It comes complete with Mike Munro doing a This Is Your Life-style tribute to Barry. His cancer battle, marriage and children are covered.

“I’m quite an emotional guy, Amanda’s emotional as well, so yeah, there were tears,” he says. “It’s no secret I’ve been through plenty of stuff. A lot of people think that’s terrible, but I love my life. I love every second of it.”

Barry’s eight-year-old twins, Arabella and Bennet, make a guest appearance.

“When the kids come in, they want to give Uncle Miguel a hug and Chris a hug and Amanda a hug. There’s every reason for the kids to be feeling relaxed. They don’t notice cameras, that’s for sure.”

But Barry’s wife, Leonie Tobler, doesn’t join the twins on set.

“She’s very camera-shy, Leonie,” he explains. “I don’t know why. She’s an incredibly beautiful woman.”

Barry’s kids mean everything to him.


Barry is a big believer in seeing the positive in everything – including the lockdown earlier this year. He and the family were planning to spend time in Europe on their yacht.

Instead, like everyone else, they stayed home.

Barry says he learnt a lot about his kids from home-schooling them.

“My son, he looks like me, but he’s not an ego-driven person at all,” he explains.

The family played a lot of darts, and both kids picked up new skills.

“My daughter is enjoying crocheting and knitting me things,” Barry says.

And, for the first time in years, he played guitar, because Bennet was learning to play the instrument.

“I picked up my old guitar and started strumming along with him. Would this have happened if it wasn’t for COVID-19? I don’t think it would have.”

Barry believes one thing COVID has shown people is that they need to be as fit as they can be, to be prepared for whatever happens.

He learnt that himself, after being diagnosed with plasmacytoma myeloma, a cancer of the immune system, in 2010, and then multiple myeloma in 2017.

“If my numbers go up again, I know I’m in for another 12-round fight,” he says.

“I’ve got to be in peak physical fitness. If I’m not, I’ll lose that fight.”

Barry knows he has the love and support of not just his family and his co-hosts, but also the show’s viewers.

“That’s an incredible force. Not one day of my life do I take for granted the support and love I have from perfect strangers.”

WATCH BELOW: Barry Du Bois’ emotional reunion with Amanda Keller

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