Seven days of TV view­ing

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - DIANNE BUT­LER

‘‘ WHEN we first started I did not think I’d be get­ting wed­ding in­vi­ta­tions in the mail and there’d be farmer ba­bies,’’ Natalie Gru­zlewski is say­ing. It’s deep into sea­son eight of The Farmer Wants a Wife and she’s talk­ing about a se­ries she has an en­dur­ing ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship with, one that be­gan dur­ing a se­vere drought and some­how sur­vived.

‘‘ And there’s love in this se­ries, too,’’ Gru­zlewski says. ‘‘ Not in­fat­u­a­tions, there’s the real deal. I know what’s hap­pened and who’s still to­gether and it’s look­ing re­ally promis­ing. I think one of our big­gest love sto­ries has come out of this se­ries.’’

She’s more than qual­i­fied to make this state­ment. And not just be­cause she’s been host since it be­gan in 2007.

Gru­zlewski ( pic­tured) can reel off facts about this show.

‘‘ I know them [ stats]. There are five ba­bies,’’ she says in a flash. ‘‘ I re­mem­ber all of them [ cou­ples] and I stay in touch with a lot of them as well.’’ How in touch? ‘‘ With Rob and Jo, they text me all the time, give me a call and send through im­ages of their lit­tle girl. I spoke to Damien from Tas­ma­nia a lit­tle while back. Chris and Kim from se­ries one, Devon and Kev . . . all of them, re­ally.’’

Has she been to any of the wed­dings? ‘‘ I have. Nathan and Amanda in Perth and Chris and Kim’s. They’ve since had an­other lit­tle baby.’’

So, clearly, her role goes be­yond host now.

‘‘ I’m def­i­nitely like their mate,’’ she says. ‘‘ They see me as a bit of a men­tor. I’ve been in­volved from the be­gin­ning, so we form a good friend­ship. I just of­fer ad­vice where pos­si­ble. I don’t even know if I of­fer them the right ad­vice half the time.’’

She says the guys go to her be­hind the scenes a lot.

‘‘ Ab­so­lutely. It’s over­whelm­ing, es­pe­cially the first day with all the speed dates,’’ she says. ‘‘ It’s ex­cit­ing and they are ex­cep­tion­ally brave for be­ing part of the show.’’

She has a lot of the­o­ries about why the show works (‘‘ Love is some­thing we can all re­late to. It’s feel­good tele­vi­sion, it’s ther­apy. What you see is what you get.’’) and for some­one work­ing on a dat­ing show she is re­mark­ably un­cyn­i­cal about the process.

‘‘ There’s cer­tainly a few girls who’ve shown up for their five min­utes of fame but they don’t last,’’ she says.

‘‘ And they are gen­uine guys, there for the right rea­sons, not play­ing games, in­vested in find­ing a wife. This is a huge op­por­tu­nity.’’

Gru­zlewski, in her mid- 30s and with a 13- year ca­reer in tele­vi­sion, has been pub­licly linked to only two men – her for­mer hus­band, pro­surfer Luke Egan, and her cur­rent part­ner, Gold Coast prop­erty de­vel­oper Jack Ray. She at­tracted un­wel­come pub­lic­ity sev­eral months ago when Ray’s name be­came en­tan­gled with Lara Bin­gle’s, but Gru­zlewski, known for her re­laxed, coy na­ture, has been able to nav­i­gate the choppy wa­ters of a life of celebrity with a steady hand.

‘‘ I just choose to keep my pri­vate life just that, pri­vate,’’ she says.

But it’s tempt­ing to won­der where Gru­zlewski might be if she’d per­haps played the game a bit harder.

‘‘ I’m re­ally happy. Nine has pre­sented me with plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties over the years. I’m fil­ing life­style sto­ries for news, my weather re­ports for Nine News in Sydney. I’m still on the road with Get­away and Farmer so I’m kept quite busy and I’m lov­ing where I am right now.’’ THE FARMER WANTS A WIFE, WIN, Wed­nes­day, 8pm

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