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Why Celebrity Apprentice’s David Genat almost had to leave the show

The Survivor star talks about his shock family emergency.
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After he found reality TV fame on Australian Survivor: Champions vs Contenders in 2019, model David Genat has gone on to firmly establish himself as an Australian TV favourite.

WATCH BELOW: David Genat crowned winner of Australian Survivor All Stars

He backed up his stint on Australian Survivor by appearing on – and wining – 2020’s All Stars version of the series and he’s currently starring on Nine Network’s Celebrity Apprentice Australia.

But the 41-year-old almost had to leave the show before he’d completed more than a handful of challenges when his wife Pearl – with whom he shares daughter Rei (the couple also have three other children between them) – was rushed to a Perth hospital and admitted while he was filming across the country in Sydney.

“That was so tough,” he tells WHO. “I was so stressed. She had a collapsed lung due to lupus complications and she really wasn’t very well at all.”

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The Celebrity Apprentice star almost had to leave the show when his wife Pearl was rushed to a Perth hospital (Credit: Supplied)

With a personal drama going on, what made you continue to do the show?

My wife is so tough, man. There was no way she was going to let me leave Celebrity Apprentice when I was there competing to raise money for lupus awareness and research on behalf of The Garvan Institute of Medical Research. I was talking to her all the time and my family was all around to support her, too. But like I say, she is tough. She got through two seasons of me being away doing Survivor when we had absolutely no contact during the show. At least on Apprentice, I had my phone and I could check in with her.

Is your wife’s lupus diagnosis new?

Relatively new. There are markers that doctors spot when you have a blood test and it can rear its ugly head in different ways, but a lot of other people will present with different symptoms so it can be tricky to get a diagnosis. That’s why I really wanted to help bring attention to lupus on the show.

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In March 2020, Genat won Australian Survivor: All Stars in front of his wife Pearl and their blended family. (Credit: Ten)

You must’ve felt so torn …

For sure! I think in some of the earlier episodes and in some of the publicity photos I did, you can see the stress on my face. It was rough.

Did it make you more determined than ever to win the series?

Absolutely, I only like to do competitive reality TV. I call Celebrity Apprentice “Survivor in the City”. I liked the fact I was going up against Lord Sugar as well as the other celebrities. I’m so glad I ended up staying because I’ve already won some money for The Garvan Institute.

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Despite the personal difficulties he was dealing with, Genat was determined to push through. (Credit: Nine)

Do you think the fact you’ve played Survivor twice and won it once was an advantage for you?

For sure. I don’t think all of the celebrities were aware of the gamesmanship that’s needed for this show. Some took boardroom critiques so personally, while others knew the score. Martha [Kalifatidis] is so great, she understands how TV works and she doesn’t get bent out of shape over how she’s edited into the show.

Did you know any of the other celebs?

I knew Janine Allis, of course, from Survivor but she blindsided me when she turned out to be one of Lord Sugar’s advisors. I know Camilla [Franks] and I knew of The Veronicas. They may be tiny but they are serious heavy hitters.

For more, pick up the latest issue of WHO, on sale now!

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