Dannii Minogue has moved into the next phase in her life — being the best mother that she can be, writes Darren Devlyn
Ogreat. It’s a stark contrast to a year ago, when the importance of maintaining her health hit forcefully.
She was rushed to hospital in Britain for emergency surgery to remove her appendix, later saying the pain eclipsed the 20 hours of labour she endured giving birth. In the midst of the appendix trauma, she called her doctor and said, ‘‘ If I don’t get to hospital right now I will be dead.’’
It also emerged Minogue had problems with her thyroid.
‘‘ There’s a small percentage of people who have an underactive thyroid who lose weight,’’ Minogue says.‘‘It could have been the appendix as well. It was all happening at the same time.
‘‘ If you look at footage from last year, I was skin and bone. I was wasting away and I didn’t know why. I was like, ‘ Oh my god, what is wrong with me?’
‘‘ There were no clothes in my wardrobe that fitted.
‘‘ And now it’s (attitude to life) about allowing the time to be well and not jumping into a full-on schedule the minute you are well.
‘‘ I’m eating — a lot (to stay healthy). And I eat well, except for last week, which was a blowout because it was (son) Ethan’s birthday. ’’
No matter the subject matter, Minogue comes across as pragmatic.
She speaks calmly about her immediate work prospects, saying she’s comfortable with the fact that negotiations for another season of AGT will probably not begin until the end of the year. But don’t be thinking she’s blase about AGT as it nears the end of season six.
‘‘ In the beginning, people didn’t really understand what the show was and maybe were scared to come on.
‘‘ Having worked on shows around the world, I think it’s the fact you need your first big winner. Justice Crew changed everything in the same way Leona Lewis did in The X-Factor. It brings a different N the eve of the 2012 Australia’s Got Talent final, Dannii Minogue looks, and feels, calibre of people to the show. ‘‘ The boys (co-judges Kyle Sandilands and Bryan McFadden) would like to think they are the most important element in the show,’’ Minogue adds with a laugh, ‘‘ but it’s about the contestants. If we get great contestants, everyone is buzzing. If we don’t get good contestants, the show is going to flop. It’s not about us (judges), though I don’t say that when I’m re-negotiating!’’
Tucked into a corner in a South Yarra cafe, Minogue is relaxed and introspective.
Days after celebrations for Ethan’s second birthday, she offers insight into what it is about being a mum that makes her ‘‘ heart melt’’ and what type of family structure she thinks will ensure Ethan grows up to be a well-adjusted young man.
She tells of the ritual of tucking Ethan into bed and leaning in for a goodnight kiss.
‘‘ We have this thing where I put him down to sleep and I say, Dannii Minogue (above) with her
cojudges Bryan McFadden and Kyle Sandilands. ‘ I love you’ and he says, ‘ I love you more’. There cannot be anything better than that.
‘‘ The things he says . . . he’s a really sensitive soul and very bright.’’
This doesn’t sound like a mum whose private life has supposedly suffered because she puts work ahead of family.
Minogue, separated from partner Kris Smith, is immersed deeply in the role of mum.
The pair, who had begun dating in 2008, made the split official in April.
Minogue is resolutely tightlipped about Kris and his role in her life.
‘‘ I’m not going to go into that . . . our privacy and our relationship. We need to protect that,’’ she says.
What is certain is that Minogue, who lived in the UK for 20 years until coaxed back to Australia for AGT, wants to spend as much time as possible in her home town, Melbourne, because of her son.
She has enjoyed huge success in Britain as a singer, TV presenter (judge on The X-Factor) and as a fashion designer with her Project D range, but Minogue’s loath to be away for long.
‘‘ Ethan is settled and it would have to be something incredible to take me back there (UK).
‘‘ I can’t do full time there, we live here now,’’ she says.
Does being a single mum make the decision-making process more challenging?
‘‘ I don’t think it makes a difference because you always put the child first no matter what.
‘‘ My family always put me first and that is something instilled in me. There was a period where there were a lot of things happening, and it was exciting and exhausting.
‘‘ You have to weigh these things up — ‘ OK, I’m a mum, I’m a provider, and what is the next 10 to 20 years going to be for me?’
‘‘ I was setting up for the long term. I wasn’t going to work at that pace forever — never had that intention.’’
Minogue’s plans for a home birth with Ethan went out the window after 20 hours of excruciating labour. Nothing went as planned, with Ethan arriving 10 days early.
Despite those difficulties, her eyes light up when the subject of having another baby is raised.
‘‘ I do think about it,’’ Minogue says. ‘‘ Whether that will happen, who knows. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen, but possibly . . . I’d have to scoot along with it.
‘‘ It’s the most magical thing, being a mum. I don’t want a nanny, I want to be a mum. It’s a big juggle to make that work, but I’m loving it.
‘‘ If I took on another big thing (work) I would need someone in to help me, but I want to be close to Ethan.’’
Asked what she considers crucial in Ethan’s development, Minogue says: ‘‘ A close, connected family, from grandparents through to my brother and sister, and my brother’s kids. You see how they play with Ethan. We are all creating the person he’s going to be.’’ Australia’s Got Talent, Channel 7, Wednesday, 7.30pm