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Australian Idol's dark side: Where are the former stars of the talent show now?

When all was said and done, what was left behind?

By Woman's Day team
When Australian Idol hit screens in the early 2000s, the country was enamoured.
A sounding stage for some of Australia's hidden and most incredible talents, we saw the likes of Shannon Noll and Guy Sebastian soar.
But for some stars, after the lights went out, things weren't so smooth sailing.
We take a look at where the stars of Australian Idol are now.

ANTHONY CALLEA

Talking on podcast The Idol Archives, the 2004 runner-up revealed that he had received a chilling note at the place where he was staying on the eve of the finale.
"It was hand-delivered to the house. It was essentially, 'If Anthony won the grand final he would be killed'," the 37-year-old revealed.
"They brought in the police to the house and they flew my parents up from Melbourne with a security guard."
Anthony was flanked by security everywhere he went and at the final at the Sydney Opera House, their presence meant that he and fellow finalist Casey Donovan weren't able to greet fans during their red carpet arrival.
Anthony received a chilling note at the place where he was staying on the eve of the finale. (Instagram)

CASEY DONOVAN

During her run on the 2004 season, Casey – who went on to win - secretly began a long-distance, over-the-phone relationship with a man named Campbell.
However, six years later she found out that she had been catfished by her friend Olga, who posed as a man for the entire relationship – and even coerced her into having sex with her.
Now 32, Casey has learned to forgive her betrayer, telling media that she's "ready to let it go to move forwards".
Casey was badly catfished. (Instagram)

DAMIEN LEITH

Despite taking in more than $5 million worth of records after winning the show in 2006, Damien still had to sell his car in order to pay his rent.
The Irishman, now 44, had fallen victim to the notoriously sketchy major label contracts, which upon signing, had handed over all his rights to his performances on his show.
"Basically I didn't get paid," he says. "It was tough. It wasn't what it was painted out to be."
Damien fell victim to notoriously sketchy major label contracts. (Instagram)

NATALIE GAUCI

After winning the show in 2007, Natalie struggled to grapple with the nation-wide fame the contest brought her. The singer, now 38, later revealed she turned to drugs and alcohol in order to deal with her sudden rise to success.
"I took a lot of drugs and became paranoid," she said in 2017.
"After that whirlwind I felt really detached… I wasn't being heard. I felt so alone," she added.
Natalie recently tried her luck again on The Voice, where she slammed Guy Sebastian for his "disappointing coaching".

KATE DEARAUGO

In one of the most public falls from grace, the 2005 winner shocked fans when she was caught driving under the influence of the drug ice in 2017.
A search of her car also uncovered a tomahawk axe and a large knife.
The singer admitted to police that she had been an on-and-off drug addict for 10 years.
Kate's lawyer revealed that she had started using drugs as "a fun sort of thing" in the industry, but it got to the point where her life had "steadily declined" since appearing on the show.
Kate, the 2005 winner shocked fans when she was caught driving under the influence of the drug ice in 2017.

PAULINI

In the same year Kate was caught driving under the influence, her former Young Divas band member Paulini Curuenavuli was slapped with a six-month suspended sentence for bribing a government official to unlawfully obtain a driver's license.
The previous year, The Bodyguard star paid an RMS worker $850 for an unrestricted NSW license.
The singer, now 38, stated she had experienced "significant ramifications" including loss of work and offers because of the scandal.
Former Young Divas band member Paulini Curuenavuli was slapped with a six-month suspended sentence for bribing a government official to unlawfully obtain a driver's license.

AXLE WHITEHEAD

Even though he didn't make it past the second week of semi-finals, 2003's season one contestant Axle showed promise of being a star.
He quickly landed a job as the host of Video Hits, but he was axed from the gig after he exposed himself on stage while presenting at the Aria Awards in 2006.
But the hiccup didn't ruin his career - Axel released an album and went on to star on Home and Away as rocker Liam Murphy from 2009 to 2013.
Axle went on to star on Home and Away.

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