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Chris Brown chats fatherhood and never giving up his day job

"I'd love to be a dad"
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Despite being one of Australia’s most in-demand TV personalities, Dr Chris Brown – the trained vet who first found a gig presenting on Harry’s Practice more than 20 years ago – says it’s unlikely that will ever go to his head. And if it does, a quick shift or two back at the Bondi veterinary clinic where it all began will get him firmly grounded again.

“There’s no greater leveller,” Brown explains to WHO down a crackly phone line in South America where he’s been filming Once in a Lifetime, an animal adventure series for Seven. “And I’ll always get like three dogs in a row with diarrhoea. It’s always the way, so you can never, ever get ahead of yourself,” he tells. “The animals don’t care who you are … in an hour you can be covered in 16 different bodily fluids. But I love it.

“It’s what I trained for,” he adds. “It keeps me very, very grounded.”

WATCH THE FIRST LOOK AT SEVEN’S DREAM HOME

Brown, 45, credits his old day job with equipping him with the skills he needed to take on his latest gig as host of the new Seven renovation show Dream Home.

In the reality show, six pairs of Aussies compete for $100,000 – as well as their own dream home – as they rebuild and renovate each other’s tired and outdated houses. Brown says he was attracted to the project because he saw an “opportunity to bring heart and humour to a renovation show”. Having suffered through his own stressful renovations, he can relate, but he adds that it’s his time working with animals that has been “the best training for anything involving people”.

“When you’re working at a veterinary hospital you are confronted with people either on the best day or the worst day of their lives, and the ability to be able to relate to them and understand them and empathise with them and just to listen to them is an important skill that I’ve honed,” he explains. 

Chris Brown stand on a building site with contestants from Dream Home
Contestants face the judges on Dream Home (Credit: Channel 7)

“It’s honestly no different to working on a renovation show. And that probably sounds strange when I say that, but genuinely what people are going through – they’re tired, they’re stressed, they’re trying to be creative, they’re trying to come up with unique ways of doing things – and it might not be going their way, so for me to be able to step into that and manage that emotion and drama, and to try and keep their spirits up, it’s kind of what I’ve done my whole career. So it just felt very natural to do that.”

Last year was a big shake up professionally for Brown. After 15 years with Network 10, during which he co-hosted I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! alongside Julia Morris, he was coaxed back to Seven, the network where it all began for him.

Christ Brown and Katrina Warren on Harry's Practice
Brown got his start opposite Katrina Warren on Harry’s Practice (Credit: SUPPLIED)

Seven is definitely getting its money’s worth from the signing, with Brown associated with at least three shows – Dream Home, Dancing with the Stars and Once in a Lifetime.

“I’ve really enjoyed the new challenges and the change,” Brown says of the move. “I think it’s good to challenge yourself and have some pressure. I’ve been really energised by being able to do that and bring a bit more of myself to the screen and hopefully people will enjoy it. It’s a pretty diverse mix when you’ve got dancing, renovation shows and animal adventures in some very remote places. There’s no sequence here.”

But personally, Brown eveals that there’s something missing in his life that he hopes will one day change. “I still would love to be a dad and have kids but it hasn’t happened yet,” shares the private star. “But I feel like when it does happen, it will be the right time.”

(Dream Home premieres Sun., May 26 on Channel 7 and 7plus)

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