Celebrity Families

Dancing With The Star's Amanda Keller opens up about raising the teenage sons she fought so hard to have

TV and radio host Amanda Keller is the Queen of the professional juggle. But as she tells The Australian Women’s Weekly exclusively, it’s being a mother that is by far her most important job.

By Samantha Trenoweth
Amanda Keller spends her days surrounded by a "posse of blokes" but there's little doubt that the incisive radio and television presenter not only holds her own, but exerts a positive influence over the men in her life.
Speaking candidly with The Australian Women's Weekly she talks about self-confidence and finding a balance between living as a public "every woman" while still protecting the privacy of her family.
"My job is looking for relatable topics from my life, from the world … I have to be careful," she says, sharing what motherhood has taught her about love while revealing a side to herself she has previously kept hidden.
Amanda Keller is the queen of breakfast radio and one of the smartest women on TV. (Image: Peter Brew-Bevan)
"I don't think I have the 'bam'," Amanda says, referring to Julia Morris, who she recently joined in a song and dance number with Dr Chris Brown. "I'd love to have an ounce of that confidence."
"But," she goes on the say "listeners say they feel like they know me."
Amanda's day starts at the ungodly hour of 4am and before most of us have had our first coffee, she's sparing with the PM.
"People do want a proper climate change policy," she tells Prime Minister Scott Morrison, challenging him after he tries to fob off her line of questioning.
Next up, she expertly juggles callers and on-air banter before conducting pre-recorded interview with Jamie Lee Curtis. It's more than most of us achieve in a week, but Amanda is far from done. She has to race to her other job.
The Australian Women's Weekly was honoured to witness a day in the life of Amanda.(Image: Peter Brew-Bevan)
In between broadcasting her No.1 rating breakfast show and taping The Living Room she checks in with her son Jack, 15, who has an ear infection.
After she finishes filming with Chris Brown, Barry DuBois and Miguel Maestra she will head to her 17-year-old son Liam's school to proudly watch as he is made a prefect.
"I've always told Liam and Jack that if something really matters to them, they have to tell me because I'll drop everything to get there," she says.
She shares a story about how challenging it can be to balance her public life with raising two teenage sons.
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"The other day I took a photo of Jack with his school bag," she explains. "And I said, 'Can I put this on Instagram?' He said no, so I didn't."
"But then I went on radio and, not thinking, spoke about it. Harley was in the car with Jack when it came on air and he said Jack's face fell. I felt so bad. I was tears about it actually. I apologised and I said: You should be able to say whatever you like and live any life you like in the privacy if your own home without fear that it becomes material for me.' And I do mean that, but my job is looking for relatable topics from my life, from the world … I have to be careful and I normally am."
"Jack graciously said, 'Oh, it's okay.' He was more gracious about it than I deserved."
Challenges aside, her performance on the airways has gone from strength to strength.
Amanda says finding the balance between work and her family's privacy can sometimes be tricky.(Image: Peter Brew-Bevan)
Amanda has worked the same shift with Brendan "Jonesy" Jones for 13 years and the duo just stole the No. 1 spot in the ratings from Kyle and Jackie O.
The job, Amanda once told a colleague who had become a mother for the first, was the best job in the world for raising children. And her family is something she has an unwavering devotion to.
There were four long years of IVF before Liam was born when she was 39. Her husband, Harley Oliver, was an unstinting support, and she hasn't taken a moment of it for granted.
They had a close call during the closing ceremony of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney when Amanda dashed to the stadium toilets and realised that she had begun to bleed.
"Hold on little one – hold on," she whispered to the tiny soul inside her.
He did, and all was well. "My sons are going to be good men," she tells The Weekly.
Amanda wishes her mother was around to see her sons growing up. (Image: Peter Brew-Bevan)
The one thing that dampens her bright and busy life is the fact her mother is not around to see the young men Amanda's sons have become.
But she carries the lessons she learned from her mother with her. When Amanda went to university her mother made her some clothes to take away, including a "horrendous" knitted jumper with windmills and sheep on it.
"I wore it a few years later out of guilty and someone said, 'Have you just woken up from a coma?' But now I know the trouble Mum went to," she says.
"They say love is a doing word. She made all those things for me… I wish I could tell Mum, 'Thank you. I understand now.'"
To read the full interview, pick up a copy of the March issue of The Australian Women's Weekly. On sale now!

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