When Rebecca Gibney was asked to go on Celebrity MasterChef, she said no. Then her 17-year-old son Zac found out about it.
"He was absolutely ropeable because he loves the show so much," Rebecca tells TV WEEK with a laugh, on the phone from her home in New Zealand. "He was like, 'Mum, if you're going to do a reality show, that's the only one you can do. Seriously.' And I wanted him to be proud of me."
So the TV WEEK Gold Logie-winning actress rang back and said yes.
"While he's still at home, for the little while that he's got left, I thought, 'I want to do it for him.'"
Rebecca, who has been married to producer Richard Bell for almost 20 years, admits she doesn't really cook because she hasn't had the time.
"I can cook basic things but, particularly the last few years, I've been so busy that I just haven't been in the kitchen," she explains. "And I'm very lucky that I'm married to a man who is an excellent cook so he tends to do a lot of the cooking in the house."
As if her lack of cooking experience wasn't enough to make her nervous, Rebecca, 56, had never been on a reality show before. It hit her when she walked into the MasterChef kitchen.
"All of a sudden you feel like you've been stripped naked because it's like, 'Oh, now it's just me. I don't have a script and the cameras are on the whole time and I have no control over this.' And then the clock starts ticking down."
Viewers can expect to see a lot of tears from Rebecca.
"I cry every episode!" she laughs. "You'll probably get sick to death of seeing me cry."
WATCH BELOW: Rebecca Gibney opens up on tackling anxiety. Post continues after video...
But she says she's made "friends for life" out of the other celebrities, who include radio host Chrissie Swan ("I adore her"), actor Matt Le Nevez ("he'd just have us all in stitches"), and chef Gordon Ramsay's daughter Tilly.
"Before we started this [interview], I was texting with Tilly in the UK. I've become another mother, I think!"
With MasterChef filming having finished, Rebecca is having a bit of downtime with her family, as Zac, who acted alongside her in Winter and Wanted, prepares to audition for drama school next year.
"There was that moment where both my husband and I were like, 'Really? You're so smart you could do anything. Do you really want to be an actor?'" she remembers.
"It's a tough profession because you do get rejected. I was very fortunate and I have had a very blessed and amazing career, but that's not the case for a lot of people.
"I don't want him to suffer. But you know what, he's actually really good. And he's gorgeous."
There's also the question of how Rebecca and Richard will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary in November, with COVID having dashed their plans to renew their vows in Port Douglas, where they got married.
"We were just walking on the beach, he and I, this morning, thinking about that," she says. "We haven't decided yet. Just going out for dinner with him is really lovely because he's awesome. Twenty years has gone very quickly."
Rebecca is planning to return to Australia soon, for a TV series she can't talk about just yet. She's hoping to spend Christmas with her 86-year-old mum Shirley, who lives in Brisbane.
"I haven't seen my mum now for nearly two years and I'm really missing her and I know she's really missing us. Zoom's not the same."
Next year is shaping up to be a very busy one for Rebecca, "COVID willing", with several TV shows in the works, including a couple she's developing with Richard. But no doubt at, some point, she'll find the time to use the skills she's learnt on MasterChef and "cut my husband some slack".
"He's been cooking for so long. It's time I stepped up to the plate."