Plea­sure pain

Dan­nii Minogue has moved into the next phase in her life — be­ing the best mother that she can be, writes Dar­ren Dev­lyn

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

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

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