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Celebrity Families

EXCLUSIVE: Osher Gunsberg on "the most important job I have, which is being a husband and father"

He's the king of reality romance, helping lovelorn singles on their path to find true love. But, Osher Günsberg tells Tiffany Dunk, his own happily ever after didn't come without a price.

By Tiffany Dunk
There's a very special guest at our photo shoot with Osher Günsberg.
She's the woman he credits with bringing him a sense of completion and joy he'd never dreamt of – a wonderful marriage, his stepdaughter Georgia, and newborn son Wolfgang, or Wolfie, as he's affectionately nicknamed.
She's the woman who delivered him the happily ever after that he himself has been tasked with helping contestants on The Bachelor find since being appointed host in 2013.
That woman is his hair and make-up artist and long-time friend Carla Mico, or Cupid, as Osher jokes she likes to be called now.
The pair have worked together regularly since the late 1990s when Osher – then going by Andrew G – was a music presenter on Channel [V].
However, when the 2014 series of The Bachelor was due to start filming, Carla was booked on another job.
Don't worry, she told Osher, she had found the perfect person to step in.
"She's lovely, she has a kid and you're welcome," Carla said to her friend – who had been busy bemoaning his single status – with a wink.
And so Audrey Griffen entered his world, a meeting that would change Osher's life irrevocably and for which, he once again tells Carla, he's "incredibly grateful".
"Well, I did want Wolfie to be named after me," she laughs of her bragging rights for this fateful introduction.
"Yes, she kept saying, 'Carlos is a great name,'" Osher, 45, returns with a laugh of his own.
The popular TV host is clearly head over heels, not only with his wife but with their children.
The foursome is that picture-perfect representation of the love that singles signing up to his reality dating franchise aspire to.
They are demonstrative in their affections, frank in their discussions and four-month-old baby Wolfie is clearly the apple of everyone's eye – not least Georgia, 16, who is happily cooing at her little brother as he twinkles back at her.
She adores her new sibling and in turn Wolfie, Osher says, "smiles for her like for no one else. He lights up when he sees her. She's the best sister."
Osher and his adorable son Wolfie posing on set at our exclusive photoshoot. Image: The Australian Women's Weekly
But for all these scenes of domestic bliss, Audrey and Osher's first meeting on set was inauspicious.
"She saw me as I naturally appear in the wild," he recalls now.
"Arriving sweaty and nervous and on the back of a bicycle. There I was covered in dayglow and sweat, and there was Audrey Griffen looking at me with her Disney Princess eyes. And as I said hello to her, she poured a cup of coffee into her purse. We were both on our best form."
For her part, all Audrey, 39, knew of the man who would soon become her husband was that he was that "kind of loud TV persona from Australian Idol".
But that perception changed very quickly.
"My first impression was that he was surprisingly smart," Audrey says.
"Deep thinking and knowledgeable about the most random things. And I was surprised how much I liked conversing with him; I was surprised because I wasn't expecting that level of conversation."
Osher was equally struck but careful to keep things on a professional level at work.
So professional, Audrey laughs, that on their first date she turned up with a friend, so clueless was she of his romantic interest in her.
"I actually thought, 'These guys would make a great couple'," she says. "I was like, 'Do you like blondes? Because she's single and lovely.'"
"I said, 'I'm not interested in your friend,'" Osher recalls. "And Audrey said, 'Well, I wish you'd told me because I would have showered – I've come straight from work!"
Osher, Wolfie and their two pet pooches. Image: The Australian Women's Weekly
Audrey and Osher met on the set of The Bachelor. Image: The Australian Women's Weekly
The relationship developed swiftly, although both say they were a little "in denial" about their future.
At the time, Osher was still based in Los Angeles while single-mum Audrey's life was very much in Sydney.
Also, Osher was struggling with his mental health, a battle he'd been facing – for the most part secretly – since having his first full-blown panic attack in primary school.
Earlier that year he had experienced episodes of psychosis which were manifesting as paranoid delusions.
He was convinced the world was about to end. It would leave him considering suicide, Osher revealed in his 2018 memoir, Back, After the Break.
"Everywhere I looked I saw waves crashing over the houses and relentlessly destroying everything. I saw the famous Baywatch lifeguard towers floating at strange angles as they drifted against their concrete moorings with the water level high above them. I don't know if these things were hallucinations, but they were pretty real to me.
"My brain started to tie every single piece of auditory and visual input back to my terrifying fear," he recalls, calling it "the most intense panic and anxiety episode I'd ever had".
"I was quite sick when we met and I was on a lot of medication and going through a really difficult time with my mental health," he tells The Australian Women's Weekly now of the terrifying experience.
"I was really open and honest with Audrey from the moment we met because I wanted to make sure she looked under the hood before she bought the car."
"She was really supportive and I was lucky because she was able to see me and my sick brain as two separate things. Both she and Georgia were very patient with me when I wasn't well, and I'm so grateful for that."
Georgia looks on as her Mum Audrey's holds her little brother Wolfie. Image: The Australian Women's Weekly
As shooting wrapped on The Bachelor, it was clear this relationship was more than a fleeting romance.
"Right before I went back to America we had grown-up chats," Osher recalls. "It was quite evident that this was worth looking further into. And obviously because Georgia was part of the picture we were very considerate and careful around how we would progress. Because you're not just dating someone – the stakes are much higher when there is a kid involved."
And so Audrey took a trip to LA; and a second with Georgia a couple of months later. In between, Osher had a short work stint in Sydney.
By the time he returned to Australia to shoot another season of The Bachelor in March 2015, he was back for good.
The transition to blended family "had its challenges," Audrey admits.
Having split with Georgia's father prior to her birth, for the most part it had just been the two of them and she'd liked it like that.
"There have been relationships, but nothing like, 'I'm pretty sure about this guy,'" she reflects.
"He's a very different guy to what was usually in my life so it was very... yeah, it took some getting used to balancing. He's just so emotionally aware and insightful and open. Like, 'I don't know what to do with this kind of guy that talks about his feelings readily!' That was a new experience for me. And I just didn't know what to do with it, to be honest. It can be confronting sometimes."
This complete openness is a relatively new chapter for Osher and one that only came about with much therapy and introspection.
(He changed his name from Andrew to Osher – Hebrew for 'happiness' – on his 38th birthday to signal his changed approach and outlook on life.)
In 2013 he decided that after years of silently struggling with anxiety, OCD, psychosis, suicidal ideation and alcoholism (he gave up booze for good in 2010), he would let people in on his journey. And so he launched what is now the hugely successful podcast, Better Than Yesterday.
In each episode, Osher shares updates on his own mental health – something he says, "you have to keep working at every day if you want to stay afloat" – while also chatting to high-profile guests.
To date, he's attracted a vast array of people, from Lucy Lawless to Erin Brockovich, who personally approached Osher to ask if she could be on the show.
"It's an exciting thing to be a part of and I really enjoy it," he says of the importance the podcast plays in his life.
"I get to make great connections with people and talk about things that otherwise we wouldn't be talking about."
We feel you, Wolfie. Image: The Australian Women's Weekly
Having seen his first marriage break down in 2011 after four years, Osher has also done some solid work on his relationship and communication skills.
He chooses his words carefully when asked if his divorce had made him gun-shy about popping the question to Audrey – which he did in January 2016 during a romantic holiday to Heron Island.
"You can't put a book about falling in love on a bookshelf that is packed," he says, using an analogy to make his point – something he does often during our chat.
"You have to make room on that bookshelf, you've got to clean out all the stuff you don't need, take care of all the stuff that got in the way the last time."
"If you are in a long-term relationship that breaks to pieces – I don't care if it's a marriage or not – and you don't have a long, hard look at yourself and figure out what your part was, it's going to end the same way every time. You have to scour out the wound. It sucks, but you've got to do it because otherwise you'll have no chance."
"And I'm really lucky that I got that chance to be in this relationship with Audrey who just radiates kindness and love. Being able to witness the way she guides and nurtures Georgia thorough her life is just an incredible honour."
Georgia was the first person they told when Osher proposed. And she played a huge role in the celebrations that were to follow, from informing her grandparents to organising her mum's hens and bridal shower to choreographing and performing a contemporary dance in front of 200 guests when they wed in December 2016.
Osher had prepared vows for his new stepdaughter as well as his wife.
"It was very early on that she went from being my girlfriend's kid to the next day being someone that, if she was standing in the road and a bus was coming, I would push her out of the way even if it meant I would die," he says.
"It was like a switch turned on and my DNA had activated some gene, some expression turned on that was it. My life is no longer just about me, it just happened."
Too cute! Image: The Australian Women's Weekly
Their wedding was a three-day festival in the NSW Hunter Valley, where camping grounds had been set up for people to stay.
"It was so much fun," Audrey says, beaming.
"And because it was over a couple of days we got to spend time with everyone. The majority of people were there for at least a night, so it wasn't like we were trying to see everyone and catch up during the wedding, we could just have fun. We actually saw each other on our wedding night!"
One of the revellers was Osher's mum, Birute Mikužyte. It's a bittersweet memory, as it was just six months later that cancer would take her, a battle she'd been facing for several years and another reason that Osher had been keen to make Australia home again.
"She was ill for quite some time and I wanted to be around her," he says. "There were times where I was just flying up [from Sydney to the Gold Coast] for the day, every day."
"I would take five flights in seven days. She was happy that Audrey and I found each other. And she loved Georgia. She was over the moon that there was this little girl because she'd raised four boys by herself [Osher is the second of Birute's four sons].
"Dad wasn't around from when I was about 11, so she was just surrounded by men all the time. To know that there was a little girl in her family, she just adored Georgia."
"It's just a shame she didn't get to meet Wolfie," adds Audrey, sadly.
The happy family relaxing together. Image: The Australian Women's Weekly
Although for a time it didn't look like he would be part of the Günsberg clan at all. Initially, the couple had no plans to add to their brood.
"It wasn't necessary for us to make life any happier, we were quite content with Georgia and the two of us," Audrey explains.
But after a long conversation, they decided to try for a baby – Audrey's only caveat being that it would have to happen before she turned 39. Wolfie made his appearance just two weeks before that date.
Once again, Georgia was the first to learn the couple's news. Soon she had appointed herself chief organiser of both the baby shower and gender reveal.
"She's extraordinary," Osher says, shaking his head in disbelief at his luck.
"There is nothing that makes me happier than watching Georgia thrive and I know I'll get that same feeling from Wolfie."
WATCH BELOW: Osher talks openly about his mental health battles with wife Audrey. Story continues after video.
Osher has had ebbs and flows throughout his career but arguably is now at an all-time high. Not only is he onscreen three times a year in various Bachelor incarnations, but he's also hosting Ten's runaway hit The Masked Singer, which returns for a second season later this year.
So what, we ask, is his goal for 2020?
"The only idea for 2020 would be that the most important job I have, which is being a husband and father, is the one I do best," he says.
"All I want to do is build a future for these kids, that's it. And for someone as selfish as me that's a big deal."
* Bachelor in Paradise is coming soon to Network 10.

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