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EXCLUSIVE: There was one, heartbreaking reality that almost broke Wippa while he filmed Celebrity Apprentice

The dad-of-three seemingly does it all, but there's always more going on behind the cameras.

By Jess Pullar
He's technically a presence in his own right with a primetime radio show to his name, but Michael 'Wippa' Wipfli took his profile one step further by going on Celebrity Apprentice Australia.
The co-host of popular morning radio show, Nova's Fitzy & Wippa, was put through his paces via the gruelling reality TV format. Working hours into the evening, filling his head with business ideas and bringing them to life, Wippa barely had time to think about much else.
But the thing was, he did have to think about other things.
Wippa is a dad to three gorgeous children, Theodore, five, Jack, four and Francesca, one.
Speaking to Now To Love, he revealed that it's his wife, Lisa Wipfli, to whom he is most grateful for holding the fort during the chaos.
"I take my hat off to my beautiful wife Lisa," he told us.
"We made the agreement and kind of signed off on the fact that it was going to be eight weeks of madness and that we were just going to have to push through."
Wippa's insane filming schedule heartbreakingly separated him from seeing his kids. (Instagram)
But while hosting an early morning radio show, then running to the Apprentice set and staying till all hours of the evening, Wippa's reality while filming was a little tough to swallow.
"The saddest part was I was like the old-fashioned dad who takes off before the kids get up in the morning and comes home after the kids have gone to bed," he admitted.
"Sometimes when I called home mid morning I'd hear one of the kids in the background crying, 'Where's Daddy?'"
"Of course we explained I was on TV for a good cause, but that's hard to explain to a four-year-old."
The radio star came close to pulling the pin when the hours got too much. (Instagram)
The pressure and despair of missing such special time with his wife and kids almost got too much.
"We were kind of halfway through the filming where I thought, 'I don't know how I'm going to keep doing this, I'm gonna have to pull the pin.'"
"But I had a conversation with my management team and said 'I don't want to [keep doing the show like this] but I I've got to do this.'"
The 41-year-old continued: "When you get tired everything becomes harder, everything multiplies, it's hard to stay going at a hundred miles an hour."

But what ultimately got him through was his passion and dedication to his charity.
As per the Celebrity Apprentice format, each contestant picks a charity which will receive all proceeds from the tasks they win.
It's no small number either, challenges can see teams win upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.
For Wippa, his charity was incredibly close to his heart.
He chose the Cooper Rice-Brading Foundation (CRBF), a charity helping young people who suffer from sarcoma, a rare type of cancer.
Wippa's personal link to the charity goes back to his friend Barney, who tragically passed away from osteosarcoma aged 18.
"It was an absolute honour for me to represent him and those guys and the board and the whole sarcoma community fighting together."
Wippa and his Apprentice comrades each picked a special charity to donate all winnings to. (Channel Nine)
And of course, the people he met on the show will forever be bonded to him.
Speaking about some of his Apprentice comrades, he named British comedian Ross Noble as one of his best pals to come from the experience.
"He's just a very funny guy," Wippa said.
"And I've known Anthony Callea over the years and then of course Camilla Franks, I was familiar with her story but had never met her - what she's built as a business is just incredible.
"She's a high achiever and probably should have been sitting on the other side of a desk!"

And of course, there were some who stood out to Wippa in other ways.
"Martha [Kalifatidis] does her best to look busy, she's one of those people who just tries to look busy all the time - but quite often you'd find her out the back just snacking from the lollies bag. You'd have to say to her, 'Hey! We've got work to do, get involved and stop taking selfies again!' Oh my god, you can imagine..."
Celebrity Apprentice premieres on Channel Nine on Sunday, May 23 at 7.30pm.

For more on Celebrity Apprentice Australia’s 2021 cast, read the stories below

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