Osher Günsberg – Anything Else is Gravy
His name and his hairstyles may have changed through the years, but Osher Günsberg’s presence on our television screens has hardly wavered for nearly two decades, thanks largely to blockbuster television shows Australian Idol and The Bachelor (and its many spin-offs). Despite his television success, life hasn’t all been karaoke and roses for the man formerly know as Andrew G, as The Beast found out during the month…
How are you this afternoon, Osher?
I’m really great. I feel that I’ve finally made it as someone who’s lived in the Eastern Suburbs. I started living here in 2000, just after I came to Sydney, so to be on the cover of The Beast is an extraordinary honour. It feels like I’ve finally been called up and I’m up here on the podium now, and it feels good.
We’ve been trying to get you for years but they kept saying you were a tier one talent or something…
What? I am a D-grade celebrity at best. I don’t have any illusions about my role in the world.
Where are you originally from?
Lots of different places, but I was born in London. Both my parents were refugees at one point. They met in London, but Mum is from Lithuania, Dad’s from Czechoslovakia. My big brother showed up and I showed up and then we came to Australia in the mid ’70s. We lived in Adelaide for the first five years and then Brisbane until the late ’90s, when I went back to Adelaide for a radio job. It was a massive break in my radio career but about four weeks after I got there I was like, “I have to get out of here.” I sent a video tape to Channel V, the music channel on Foxtel, got the gig, and on April 12, 1999 I started on TV in Sydney.
And these days you’re in Bronte?
Yeah. I love it. It’s great.
How long have you been there for now?
I’ve been living in Bronte since I moved back to Australia from the States in 2013. We lived in Bronte and then we moved to Bondi, and now we’re back in Bronte.
What are your favourite things about living in Bronte and the Eastern Suburbs in general?
Well, in my late 20s I lived on Notts Avenue in Bondi, and what I think was quite significant about the first two years I lived in that apartment was that I never turned my television on. I just looked out the window and watched the tide come in and the tide go out. I watched the rips form. I watched backpackers get- ting rescued. I watched people surfing and fire twirling at night. Bondi was like my big screen. I moved there in 2002 and I left in 2009, so that’s seven years I lived there.
What I liked about living there was that you can get up in the morning and be in the ocean and have that moment of, I guess, humility. We all think we might be a bit something, but nothing’s going to humble you more than the ocean. You can get out there in the morning and there can be dolphins, there can be sting rays, there are sometimes hundreds of people all out there at the same time, all doing the same thing, which is great. And then you can be in a meeting and be like, “Man, I was swimming with dolphins this morning and here I am listening to this. That’s all right, I’ll swim
with dolphins again tomorrow morning.” It’s pretty good. You watch whales go by. It’s pretty extraordinary.
I’m very aware that not all of Sydney looks like the part of the world where I live – very, very much aware of that. But I think that’s what I enjoy. It comes with a cost, though. If you want to buy a smoothie you’re not going to get much change out of a 20, and you just weep when you hear about how much auction prices are if you ever think of not renting. But that’s the price you pay for living where you live. I particularly like Bronte because Old South Head Road and Syd Einfeld Drive can go take a running jump, because once you’ve discovered the key of Darley Road and Macpherson Street, you do that little shimmy down York Road and it’s like, “What peak hour?” You’re in, you’re out. It’s the best.
Except at school drop-off time…
Well, that’s the thing. If you have a meeting at the wrong time of day you’re toast.
What shits you about the area, other than the traffic?
Nothing really shits me about the area. We get to live in this extraordinary part of the world. It’s an amazing privilege to live where we live. I think if you take out the SFS precinct and Centennial Park it’s the highest density electorate in the country. A lot of people live here, and it’s extraordinary the amount of nationalities and cultures and the vibe going on. There’s always something happening. I think it’s really wonderful.
What shits me? I don’t know. Not much. It’s all pretty great. It’s what you’d expect from a highly desirable part of the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to live in another country for a long time, and then you come back and you go, “Holy Moly. We get to live here?” This is some people’s dream holiday destination and I get to call it my front yard.
When you’re talking about living overseas are you referring to LA?
Yeah. I lived in America for a long time.
LA is a shithole compared to Sydney, though…
Parts of Los Angeles most definitely are. Parts of Sydney are the same.
I’ve found as I’ve moved around the world that there are parts of every city that make the city the city it is. For New York it would be the stuff around Central Park and Manhattan, but when you get out to Long Island or New Jersey it’s just suburbs like any- where else in the world – a shopping centre, kilometres of houses, a high school, a church, parks, a kilometre of houses, a shopping centre, another kilometre of houses. It just keeps going. I’ve seen it in France, and it’s the same in any kind of westernised country. You see it everywhere. But then Sydney has this thing around the harbour and around the beaches. It’s just different.
Do you have any favourite local haunts around the Eastern Suburbs that you frequent that you would like to mention?
I am very grateful that I’m walking distance from Huxton’s, which is on the corner of St Thomas Street and Macpherson Street in Bronte. Or Street Thomas Street, as I like to call it.
I’m hard to feed in that I’m coeliac, and I’m also vegan, so I’ve got to be really careful about what I eat because I can get sick. Huxton’s has a vegan bowl that changes every time I eat it. If I have a meeting on this side of town I’ll ask people to meet me there. That’s my second office.
Back in October 2016, following criticism for attending Derby Day during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, you stated that, “I say that I’m vegan because it’s the quickest way to get the explanation across, but the truth is I’ve never really called myself vegan.”
So if you’re not vegan, what are you, and how long have you been pursuing this lifestyle?
I like to say I’m plant-based because the term ‘vegan’ comes with the expectation that you’ll also be quite politically active, which is fine. I’ve eaten this way since 2002. It was a very slow transition. I started in about ’96, not eating chicken. And then I kind of toyed with it. By ’98 I’d stopped eating red meat, by ’99 I’d stopped eating fish, by 2002 I stopped eating eggs and that was it.
How do you get all your essential minerals? Do you take supplements?
I eat food. Where do animals get their essential minerals? You just eat and it’s fine. All the things that you eat meat for, those animals had to eat something to get it into their bodies, so you just eat what they eat and you’re fine.
When you first started on radio your nickname was ‘Spidey’, right?
What’s the story behind that?
Well, it was the ’90s and it was FM radio in Brisbane. I think it was a hangover from CB radio culture, because FM radio only came alive as a technology in the ’70s. That was the first time its broadcasting was available. It was like when HD suddenly showed up or when digi- tal television showed up. When FM radio showed up in the ’70s it was like, “Oh wow! This sounds good.” At the time CB culture, citizens band radio culture, was really big and everyone had call signs – like rubber ducky, breaker breaker, all that shit. So it was a hangover from that, 15 years or 16 years after FM radio had shown up.
I had hair down to my waistline. I was playing a five-string, sometimes a four-string fretless bassin a funk metal band, because if it wasn’t in seven then we weren’t playing it. We were very much like halfway between Primus and Sound Garden. We had shorts down to our ankles and I had a hair braid on one side and had a spider woven into it. And the head promo guy when I was driving the Black Thunder trucks around, the trucks where we gave away ice-cold cans of Coke, he was like, “Yeah. All right. Your nickname is Spidey.” And that was it. It stuck like shit to a blanket.
You adopted the stage name of Andrew G while you were doing the afternoon shift at SAFM after your program director said, “Günsberg? Adelaide? Nah, we’ll go with Andrew G.”
He inhaled very sharply through his teeth like, “Günsberg (inhales through teeth)? Nah, we’ll go with G.”
Do you think he’d say the same thing in 2019 in Sydney?
No, not at all. Look, it was 1998 in Adelaide, mate. It was 21 years ago. That’s fine. It was okay. I was 24 years old and I had this massive break doing a day shift in radio. When you think how rare is it to get a day gig in a major metropolitan city on an FM radio show, on a number one station, I wasn’t complaining. I’d been working for five years in radio when I got that gig. My former shift was midnight to 6am or 1am to 6am. I did that six days a week. So it was like, “I don’t give a shit what you want to call me. I’m going to bed at normal people time. This is fine with me.”
When you were doing the graveyard shift would you go out partying before going in to work?
No, no. I couldn’t do it. Maybe it’s because I’m the kid of immigrants. You often see it. Hard f**king work is just all we knew and my brothers are the same. I’m the second out of four boys. Every one of us just f**king worked f**king hard.
I’m sure you’ve spoken about this many times in the past, but what brought on the name change from Andrew to Osher and what does it mean?
Osher is the Hebrew word for happiness. I used to spend a lot of time in Israel. My ex is from there. I met this Kabbalist mystic who sat me down and he basically asked for my name and my birthday and Mum’s name and the location that I was born. He knew about a hundred words in English, tops. It was in Tel Aviv. Both of my parents are doctors and I’m a pretty cynical guy, but I was like, “Yeah. All right. Let’s give it a shot.” And he pulled down all these charts, these big books of orbits and planetary positions and all this kind of stuff. I’m like, “Okay, here we go.” He’s got these seven big books. They were like phone books – kids, if you’ve never seen a phone book, people used to have phones that actually plugged into a wall.
Anyway, so he’s got these massive big tomes, and he had all these pages open all over the place and he started to explain them to me. He goes, “Okay, so when you were one this kind of stuff happened to you and you were this kind of kid. When you were two this kind of stuff happened to you and you were this kind of kid.” And he started to describe my life, and not just like in astrology star signs in the newspaper, which are so obtuse you can make them fit to your day. He was so specific about my life up to that point. I was 31 when I saw him. I was like, “Okay, you have my attention. All right. What next?”
He goes, “Well, would you accept that given what I’ve just told you, if I kept going I’d be able to tell you what’s going to happen.” I said, “All right, yeah, I can run with that.” And then he just proceeded to explain the path that I was on and where it was going to end up. I said, “Oh, that doesn’t sound very good.” He goes, “If you change your energy, change your name, and change the energy around your pathway, you will change your life.” I was like, “Yeah, it can’t hurt.”
So I did, and I never really told anyone. It was kind of like what I had in my heart. That was what I was. But cut to a few years later, about six or seven years later on my 38th birthday, I was divorced, I had this big f**king divorce beard, I was living in the spare room at a friend’s house and everything had gone to shit. I’d also recently gotten sober and I felt like, “This is right. This is the time. I’m going to flip the switch. Let’s go.” People had been calling me Osher in private, I’d been signing off my emails with Osher for a couple of years at that point, but publicly I was still Andrew at the time.
So anyway, I went skiing. I was in Colorado and I went up the mountain. I rented skis that day and I hadn’t skied since 1993. I’d been snowboarding for the previous 15 years until then. I went up the mountain a snowboarder called Andrew and I came down the mountain a skier called Osher. And that was it. And you know what? The Kabbalist was right. He was right because my life is f**king incredible now. My life changed completely and everything’s amazing.
How often do people mispronounce your surname?
Oh, all the time. It doesn’t bother me.
Because the ‘ü’ is pronounced as an ‘I’, isn’t it?
Yeah, there’s an umlaut. The umlaut makes an ‘I’ sound. So it’s Günsberg, like the poet.
Is it true that you wanted to be a star from a really young age?
I wouldn’t say ‘star’. I just knew that I wanted to be on stage. It comes from a place of anxiety. I struggled with anxiety quite seriously when I was a kid – ruminating, painful, physically hurting anxiety when I was really young – but when I was on stage all that went away, because for me my anxiety was due to a lack of control over what’s going to happen. I’m in control when I’m on stage. I know exactly what’s going to happen. I know what I’m going to say next. I know what happens next. Everything was just quiet when I was on stage, and so I just chased that. I chased that feeling.
But surely you’re not exactly in control when you’re on live television?
You absolutely are in control when you’re on live TV. Shit can go wrong, but you’re still the one there, the cameras are still on and there’s eight minutes till the next ad break and you’ve got to make something happen. So yeah, something strange happens when I’m on stage or on camera. All that anxiety and fear and everything just goes away. And so I chased that down, that feeling of peace and quiet.
You became a household name as the co-host of Australian Idol back in the day. How did that role come about and how much did it change your life?
Oh, it was incredible mate.
Were you and your co-host, James Mathison, still working at Channel V at the time?
We were at V. We did V and Idol at the same time. When a network buys a TV format it’s like when you buy a burger franchise or a chicken franchise. The guys that started it say, “Here’s the recipe, here’s the marketing, here’s the logos, here’s the supply chain, here’s how you run it. Go.” And then it’s up to you to make it happen. It’s a proven business model. It works.
It’s the same with television. When you’re making a show that’s successful in your country and you can show that it grows over time and it builds an audience, you can sell that format, that franchise, to another country.
So the original Pop Idol in the UK was hosted by two people. The first series of American Idol was then hosted by two people. If you watched the opening piece to camera from the first series of Pop Idol, which features two superstar British presenters, Ant and Dec, the Americans copied that word for word. Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman did it verbatim but in American accents.
So then when it came time to cast the Australian version they were like, “Well, it’s two hosts. We need two hosts.” At the time, Jimmy and I were on Channel V doing live television every afternoon. We were playing music videos for three hours every day. For most people, they don’t get a chance to host live TV, but here’s these two kids – he was 24 and I was 28 – and we just had hundreds and hundreds of hours of live TV experience. So they went, “Okay. You guys. Come on down.” Because we came from Channel V we lent extra kind of oomph, I would like to think, to the show.
You were so young to be hosting such a massive show…
Mate, it was bananas, right? And my boss told me the other day, because I like to talk about this when I do the live stage show about my book (Back, After The Break – available in all good book stores), 78 per cent of Australians watched that first grand finale. It was crazy. People would speed up next to me on the freeway holding their ancient brick size 3G camera phones out of their car windows trying to take photos of me. People would run up to me in the street and scream my name in my face. Australian Idol had been on air for like a week. I was like, “F**k, is this what it’s going to be like?”
It’s pretty weird that people would feel so familiar with you that they can just come up and grab you and hold you and push you around and physically touch you. It’s odd. It’s an odd thing to happen. So yeah, it changed my life completely. It was incredible.
And then when I look now at The Bachelor, we’re about to do the seventh season. That’s two massive hits that I’ve got to be part of it. I can’t think of anyone that’s had a TV career like that.
The Bachelor didn’t go quite as nuts from the start, though, did it?
Well, the market was very different. If you think about the first season of Idol, if you were lucky – or if you were loaded – you had ADSL Internet. And even then it was maybe two megabits a second. So there was nothing else to do. There was no Netflix. There was nothing. The first season of Idol we were competing against four other things on TV and maybe the Blockbuster video store. When season one of The Bachelor showed up we were competing with a handheld, personally-curated dopamine and serotonin squirting machine in the palm of your hand that has every- thing you’ve ever wanted to watch, listen to, see, hear, and all of your friends on it. So TV is harder now. That’s why it’s different. But some people don’t get seven episodes of a show before it’s axed, and we’re about to do our seventh Bachelor season, our fifth Bachelorette and a third Bachelor in Paradise, which is incredible. I can’t believe it.
And it’s not really showing any signs of waning, is it?
From your lips to God’s ears, man. Even though I don’t believe in an interventionist God, let’s just say that she’s there.
James Mathison ran against Tony Abbott for the seat of Warringah in the last federal election. If you lived in that electorate who would you have voted for?
Well, I handed out flyers for Jimmy. What’s wild is that I think Tony won with about 55,000 votes, but I think he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in getting them. I think Jimmy’s team spent about five grand on his campaign and he got 11,000 votes.
James is the smartest man I’ve ever met. He reads a book a week. He’s so eloquent. If you want some fun, search on YouTube for when Andrew Bolt tried to have a go at James and James just took him apart like a Lego model, piece by piece. Bolt was trying all his old tricks and James was like, “No, Andrew, that’s not what’s happening.” He was so good.
You’re obviously interested in politics…
Very. I’m a human being. I pay taxes and I vote. So yes.
Do you have any aspirations to run for office in the future?
Honestly, I don’t know. Unless the system changes, I don’t think so.
What issues are you most passionate about?
Well, quite clearly, whether you are a more conservative person or you are a more open-minded person, we all need somewhere to live and we’re not going to have anywhere to live if we keep burning coal and we keep burning carbon. The science is f**king factual. We’ve just got to accept it and figure it out, and fast, otherwise the only people who are going to make money out of this are sea wall builders and desalination plants.
The people that you see in politics have been in it since they were at high school. They know each other and they’ve known each other for 50 years. How could anyone as an outsider make any change in that system? It’s just so, so ingrained.
I think the only changes can come from the outside. You look at a company like IKEA, for example. They are committing to fully circular manufacturing by 2030. They’re not waiting for anybody to mandate it into law. They’re just like, “We’ll have no virgin raw material for any of our products in 2030.” They have one billion customers around the world and they make four billion things a year. So when a company of that magnitude makes a baller move like that, if you want to compete with them as a furniture supplier or whatever you’re going to have to do the same thing.
I think outside of politics is where we can make the biggest move. For example, I drive an electric car. It’s a little Nissan Leaf, an older model. The new one, you can take the power back out of it. It’s got a 40-kilowatt hour battery in it. So you can take power off your roof, put it in your car and drive around all day. The average Australian only drives 38 kilometres a day so you’ve got a lot left over. The average household, four people, uses 9-kilowatt hours of energy, so you can drive all day then power your house for free for about half a week on this stuff. This is how we need to be thinking as a country.
The other thing to answer your question, as Australians there is so much blue sky ahead of us. It feels in many ways that we’ve kind of stopped climbing up the hill. It’s like, “No, no, no. We’re here. Stop. Don’t change anything.”
We can go so much further as a country. Look, we’re peaceful, we’ve got space, we’ve got land, we’ve got water, we’ve got air, we’ve got so much sun and so much free energy if we want it. We could be incredible as a nation if we wanted to, but we seem to have been stuck in policies that ignore what science has proven to be true.
You’ve mentioned a couple times that you hit the booze pretty hard back in the day…
How hard were you hitting it?
Are we talking a bottle of vodka a day?
No, no. Beer was my thing. In March I’ll be nine years sober.
Not a single drink for nine years?
Nope. The best way to explain it is that we all know people who have a peanut allergy, right? So you can’t feed that person a peanut, because if we give them a peanut their body will have a reaction that is very, very bad and it might end with them dying. No peanuts.
If I have alcohol something changes in my body. I have a similar allergic reaction. I am no longer able to make a correct decision about how much more I can drink. I start to disassociate with morals and values that I hold very dear. I kind of become another person, and I start doing and saying things that I’m horrified by. I cannot make a clever decision about how much to drink and I just need a sip for that change to happen. It’s easy to not have that change happen. I just don’t drink. That’s it. And life is amazing.
So one sip is all it takes?
That’s it. Alcohol wasn’t my problem. Alcohol was my solution. I’m not the first Australian man to use alcohol to manage anxiety, but the amount that I needed to drink to feel anywhere close to normal just became completely unmanageable. It was gradual, but the last six months was a very slippery slope.
How often were you getting on the beers?
Every day. And it was getting earlier and earlier in the day. I didn’t want to accept it, but I could see it was getting earlier and earlier in the day. And I could quite clearly see how it was going to end up. It was like, “If I don’t stop I know exactly where I’m going to go.” Then one day I realised I just couldn’t do it again. Every night was ending up the same. Something would be broken, someone who would be upset and I couldn’t remember the thing that happened, and it was just happening all the time. The same thing was happening every single f**king time I picked up a drink.
I had met a guy a few months before that, before I needed to stop, who was the life of the party. He was an incredible guy. He looked like a real life Tom of Finland, who is this super sexualised gay icon character with a big moustache, big muscles, arm tatts, leather pants. He was a photographer and he was just the life of the party. And he was sober. I’d never seen sobriety look like that. I thought sobriety was sad people in folding chairs, sitting in churches, drinking bad coffee. I called him up and I said, “Mate, I need help. Can you help me? You got sober; how did you do it?” He goes, “Well, come to this meeting.” So I went to this meeting; it was a fellowship of men and women who work together to maintain sobriety. I just shut my mouth and listened to what they told me and did what they said and, what do you know, things got better.
You obviously had some good willpower as well?
No. It’s got nothing to do with willpower. You start building a life in sobriety that you are not willing to sacrifice.
So every now and again, on a hot summer’s day with my friends, I play poker with them and I think, “A cold beer would be great.” Then I just think about it. What’s going to happen if I have one? Every- thing that I’ve got will vanish. I don’t want to lose everything I’ve got, so I won’t have a beer. It’s really that easy.
When you were boozing were you also using drugs?
Let’s just say that I lived a life of incredible privilege, of laminated backstage passes, all kinds of things. There were drugs around. At first you go, “Maybe not.” Then everything is a good idea after half a bottle of vodka. So before you know it, you’re like, “F**k it. Why not?” So one thing led to another and that was a part of my life.
I’ve never had a line of cocaine or a pill. Am I missing out on something?
Don’t. Don’t do it. It’s not a good thing. It’s ultimately a very hollow experience.
Why? Because there’s always the chance you’ll get a bad pill?
I have had a bad one. I wrote about it in my book. I’d tried ecstasy a few times before but I’d always been drinking, always been quite pissed when I’d taken it, and so I didn’t notice what was going on. There was this one particular party that I went to and someone on the dance floor held this thing out. I was just like, “Yeah. Why not? I’m here.” Nothing was the same after that. Things about my anxiety and my obsessionality were already pretty bad and getting worse, but I think I just basically pushed the gas pedal down and really accelerated what was already declining quite rapidly.
After that pill something popped in my head; a switch got flipped and it didn’t switch back after that. So while it felt pretty great at the time, was it worth it? Nope. No f**king way.
There’s a lot of talk at the moment about pill testing, and unfortunately the generation of people who are in charge of allowing or disallowing pill testing are relating what they know about drug taking to their own years.
I don’t reckon Gladys Berejiklian would have ever been off her head on eckies…
Right? I don’t know if these people in power really quite understand the colossal amount of recreational drug use that happens in their society. There are good people who are just out for a fun time and like anybody they might be taking risks. There’s a personality type that is going to take a risk. They know that something very bad could happen to them, but they’re out, they’re full of excitement, they’ll take a risk.
We need to protect these people. We as a society have decided that even though it’s not for everybody, high fences on bridges are a good idea to protect people who are at risk. I don’t see pill testing as any different. This is harm minimisation and it may not align with how you feel about whether people should or shouldn’t do illegal things, but the science is in and pill testing works. Pill testing saves lives. And that’s it. You don’t have to look very far. Plenty of studies overseas have shown it works.
What pill testing does is it allows an intervention to occur, because you’ve got someone who is of a mind to go, “I want to do this thing with my friends but I kind of want to be safe,” and at that point you have a moment when you can have a chat with that person. A drug and alcohol counsellor will be there to have a chat with them and have an opportunity to intervene, or at least inform them about what’s going on.
While people are debating whether this should or shouldn’t happen, young Australians are dying. When you look at the research, when you look at the science, when you look at the evidence, I can’t understand the argument against pill testing.
Can you tell us a bit about your mental health battles?
I was living with a passive and active suicidal ideation for quite a while. I was ex- periencing episodes of borderline psychosis appearing as paranoid delusions.
Is this when you were drinking?
No. I was straight sober. And I’m lucky. I’m a lot better now, but I had to be on a lot of drugs for a long time. And at one point I was on two different kinds of antipsychotics. Antipsychotics are great because they work, but I was putting on about a kilo a week.
Is that a common side-effect?
Yeah. And your testosterone just goes out the window. You’re not dealing with these really horrible troubling thoughts all day long, which is nice, and you can work and you can have relationships with people and you can go through your day not feeling horror every second. But at one point I was down to track pants. I was still living in America on and off at that point. It was before the third season of The Bachelor and I said to my doctor, “I’ve got to be back on camera in about eight weeks and I don’t think I’m going to make it. I can’t be on TV like this.”
So you’d put on a shitload of weight?
Yeah. I got up to about 93 or 94 kilograms.
What are you weighing now?
I don’t know, probably 77 or 78 kilos. But at the time I could ride my bicycle 250 kilometres in a week and it wouldn’t change a thing because the medication changes the way the body metabolises food. It changes your insulin response. I was eating vegan. I was clean, man.
So how did you get the weight off?
I was under very strict doctor supervision. And I was very grateful that I had a psychiatrist who was willing to challenge his initial hypothesis and shift me from one drug regimen to another. I was taking four different kinds of drugs every day. Once I shifted onto the other drug I started to get a lot better, but still weight gain was an issue; less, but it was still there.
When we see someone who’s carrying a few extra kilos we can be very quick to judge, but we don’t really know what’s going on in anybody else’s life. They might be on medication that allows them to live a normal life and have a relationship and be with their family and be great parents.
You were ‘fat shamed’ in the gossip mags at the time of your weight gain and regularly stalked by photographers; are paparazzos the lowest pieces of shit on this planet or do they add some kind of value?
I’m very careful about what I do, what I put my time and energy into for money. I’m very careful about the energy I put out into the world because I’m a firm believer that the energy I put into the world will be reflected back at me. I’m not brave enough to do their job. I’m not brave enough to go through life collecting that kind of karma.
That’s such a nice way of saying that someone is a piece of shit. The success rate of Bachelor and Bachelorette couples is pretty low, but you managed to find love behind the scenes…
I don’t know where you got that figure from. We’re f**king good. We’re 50/50.
I think we’re even more than that.
Across the US as well?
No. We’re just talking about us, mate. We’re not America. We’re doing really well. And we’ve got one baby and another one on the way. We’ve got two weddings as well.
How many Bachelor in Paradise couples are still together?
I can’t tell you; you’ll have to watch it.
What is the secret to true love and making it last, from your own experience?
From my own experience, the wisest words about this were taught to me by my former agent in LA. His name’s Adam Sher. He’s an incredible guy. He said to me, “Listen, there’s no such thing as ‘the one’. There’s only the one who’s willing to work on it with you.” And there are no truer words than those, because it is work. It’s work.
In the same way that you look at someone running down the beach in the morning and she’s got this mad six-pack and she’s got a great butt and whatever; she doesn’t accidentally have that. She works on it every single day. Same for guys. You’ve got to work on it every day. You’ve got to be careful about what you eat. You’ve got to be careful about how much sleep you get. You’ve got to be committed to it.
And it’s the same thing with a relationship. It doesn’t just keep itself going. It takes work every single day. And that’s it. As long as you find someone who’s willing to do the work with you then you are golden.
Can you drop any Bachie exclusives for us from the upcoming series?
Nope. Because we still haven’t gone to air. Sorry Bachie fans!
Do you have any advice for young people wanting to make it on radio or in the world of television presenting?
I would say that never in the history of broadcasting have you ever been able to be more in control of your own success than you are now. You used to have to wait until the gatekeepers said it was okay for you to access their platforms. You couldn’t publish a book, write it, publish a song, broadcast the music, make a radio show or make a television show unless the people that own the publishing companies, the radio stations, television stations allowed you to. Now you can do all that yourself. So don’t wait. Do it. No one’s getting hired who hasn’t got a solid YouTube following. I’m not talking about your friends on Instagram, I’m talking about a solid YouTube following or a really solid podcast. No one is stopping you from doing those things. You’ve got a phone in your hand; you can make both.
And just practise, practise, practise. I did five years of being pretty shit on radio before I was on cam- era on Channel V. And then I did three years of being equally shitty on that before I got on Australian Idol, so I had done eight years of just being crap every day until I got on Idol. Be prepared to suck for a long time, but do it every day.
You may have a certain amount of skill that gets you in the door, but after that it’s just work and relationships. Just be bloody nice to everyone you work with and be as professional as you possibly can. It’s a tiny industry and everyone you work with is everyone you will always work with. If you’re an arsehole to someone, 10 years later they’ll see your name on a list and go, “Actually, no man. I worked with him a while ago and he was difficult. Get someone else.” That’s it. Your gig is gone. So you can’t afford to piss anyone off. I guess that works across all industries.
In an ideal world what does the future hold for Osher Günsberg?
Mate, any day that I wake up with a roof over my head, food in my fridge and my family safe, healthy and happy is an extraordinary day. Anything else is gravy, man. Anything else is gravy.