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Big Brother

EXCLUSIVE: Big Brother's Sonia Kruger reveals why she really took the plunge and left Channel Nine

The talented TV icon spills as she prepares for her biggest hosting gig yet.

By Tamara Cullen
Time, it is often said, goes by too quickly. We often wish we could slow down or rewind the clock to a particular moment or occasion. Yet, we can never relive the magic over again – unless, that is, you work in television.
For Sonia Kruger, time has changed a lot in her life. She has carved out a successful career, found love and welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world. And yet, today, she finds herself in a situation she's lived through before.
Earlier this year, Sonia, 54, was asked to host the rebooted reality series of Big Brother, a job she originally took on from 2012-2014.
The surreal opportunity to revisit a huge moment in her career was met with nostalgia, excitement and some trepidation.
The move would not only see the TV personality leave her post on Today Extra alongside David Campbell, but defect from the Nine Network altogether and join her former team at Channel Seven where the show is in production.
"When you make a big decision, you have to weigh everything up," Sonia tells TV WEEK.
"It was such a difficult decision [to leave]. David and I had a great relationship, I loved working on The Voice and I have wonderful friends at Nine. But I was given an opportunity to go in another direction and that clinched it for me."
Despite media reports and claims that she was lured across to the rival network by a hefty salary or that she left the Nine Network due to team hostilities, Sonia says it simply came down to "opportunity".
"Regardless of what was reported, the money was the same," she retorts.
"You can stay and keep doing the same thing, but I like to change things up. When I left Channel Seven in 2011, I had completed 11 seasons of Dancing With The Stars so I wanted to get out while it was still on top.
"I've always tried to move onto the next project when the time is right. Big Brother is a super brand and I've been lucky enough to host some of those global franchise shows, and when they come your way, you really have to look at them and consider the opportunity."
Sonia is killing the TV game, one show at a time. (Instagram)
With over two decades of experience with the Australian media, the Strictly Ballroom star is well-equipped to handle the tabloids, no matter what they choose to write.
"You can't concern yourself with it too much," she says of the rumours.
"Things will always be written that aren't true – no matter how much you try to correct it! I try not to sweat it too much. The people who matter know the truth and that's all I concern myself with."
The TV icon has been on a host of hit Aussie shows over the years. (Instagram)
While stepping away from the steadiness of breakfast television was hard, Sonia is no longer hitting the snooze button at 4am.
In fact, her only alarm these days comes in the form of her five-year-old daughter, Maggie.
"I dropped her off to school this morning, it was wonderful," she says.
"I didn't realise how much I would enjoy the extra time. I knew I would enjoy it, but you get into a rhythm and routine, so you don't change anything. But when I did, I had a new lease on life."
Her husband, Craig Macpherson also works in the news department at Channel Seven; another incentive for Sonia to sign on the dotted line.
The couple, who have been together since 2008, are now "team Seven" and leaning into their new normal.
"I don't see him [Craig] very much because he's at Martin Place and I'm often on location, but I try to pop in and see him when I can. Luckily, we aren't in each other's pockets!" she says.
"It's truly the best of both worlds, we can barrack for the same team now and that's great for us."
WATCH: Sonia Kruger reveals how they broke the news to the Big Brother cast that COVID-19 was happening. Story continues...
At home, life is just as sweet for the media powerhouse.
With Maggie growing up before their very eyes and their schedules aligned, Sonia is finally getting the work-life balance that so many mothers crave. And as an active child, Maggie certainly keeps her busy!
"Maggie is very funny these days. She loves to make people laugh and has always been very expressive – now I sound like a doting mother – but people often say it," Sonia says.
At this point, TV WEEK points out that these endearing traits are quite similar to her own, which is what makes her so successful.
Sonia laughs in agreement before adding: "That's very true! We are like in that way. Perhaps she is taking after me!"
The youngster may not be heading to our screens anytime soon like her mother, but Sonia is acutely aware of the impact her actions may have on her daughter's livelihood.
Like most children, Maggie's mind is a sponge, absorbing and evaluating everything around her.
"It doesn't matter what you're doing – whether you work in TV, in an office or you're a stay-at-home mum, we all want to set a good example," she says.
"At the end of the day, we want our children to be kind, respectful and be able to contribute.
"For me, work has always been a huge part of my life and I've always been independent. I left home when I was 17, so she might grow up and follow a similar path. But I'm quite happy for her to stay home until she's 37!," she laughs, "Then again, ask me in a few more years and I might say otherwise!"
"She loves to make people laugh and has always been very expressive," says doting mum Sonia about daughter Maggie. (Instagram)
If her daughter does follow in her footsteps, Sonia is thankful to be part of an evolved industry – one that now recognises women's successes and those of a mature age, as well.
To be part of that is a promising start for Maggie's future.
"This is the best time for women in Australian television," she says.
"We are being given opportunities that we may not have had before. We didn't see a lot of mature women on TV years before, and now we do.
"The audience are a big part of that. They see themselves reflected on screen and that is something to be proud of."
Although, Sonia adds that she has loftier dreams for her daughter's prospects – even if she has herself in mind, too.
"I'm hoping she becomes a professional tennis player, so I can travel the summer circuit!" she says with a laugh.

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