ENTERTAINMENT

EXCLUSIVE Rebecca Maddern: ‘Home is my sanctuary’

The TV star invites WHO into her family home.
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She’s one of our busiest TV stars. In addition to co-hosting Channel Nine’s ratings-busting Australian Ninja Warrior, which returned for its fifth season this week, Rebecca Maddern commutes from her Melbourne home to Sydney every week – border restrictions permitting – to front Weekend Today alongside Richard Wilkins. She’s also mum to one very busy little girl, Ruby, who celebrated her third birthday back in April.

WATCH BELOW: Rebecca Maddern shares cute video of daughter Ruby

“It’s a bit full on at times,” Maddern, 43, tells WHO. “But I love it all and am especially grateful to be busy with work right now, too.”

Maddern and her husband of seven years, Trent Miller, are also renovating their Melbourne home.

“We’d put it off for five years, thought about it for two and then started it during a pandemic. I know, we’re mad,” she laughs.

So the family of three decided to retreat to their coastal Victorian getaway (where our exclusive photo shoot took place) to escape the works.

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“This home is a complete break from my on-screen life,” says Maddern. “It’s usually a makeup-free zone for me!” (Credit: WHO/Tina Smigielski)

Thanks for inviting us into your retreat. This isn’t a bad place to sit out a home renovation! What’s special about this property for you?

We get away to this place on the coast from our home in Melbourne as much as we can, in normal times, because both my family and my husband Trent’s family are down this way. It’s been really nice to enjoy an extended stay here though. Our daughter Ruby especially has loved it, mainly because she’s had Mummy and Daddy at her beck and call 24/7!

You’re super-busy in your career, what’s downtime like for you?

This is a holiday home so when we’re visiting here normally and the weather’s warm, we throw open the doors and keep it very casual. We’ve got friends in the neighbourhood, too, and they have kids the same age as Ruby so we’ve got a nice little network going on. When I’m here, it’s shorts, T-shirts, a ponytail and no makeup for me – and that’s absolutely the way I like it!

We can just see you hooning down to the beach in your red Mini Moke!

That is very much Trent’s pride and joy! I think he cleans it and spends more time on it than any other object we own. He jumps in and heads to the beach for a surf, and that car brings him – and us – so much joy. We get a lot of beeps, smiles and waves. It’s so much fun and it just screams holiday.

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“This car just screams fun,” says Maddern. “It’s definitely Trent’s pride and joy, he absolutely loves it.” (Credit: WHO/Tina Smigielski)

Ruby has recently celebrated her birthday. Have you hit the threenager phase yet?

No, thankfully. I think this is my favourite age of all though. She seems to grow and change by the week, and every day she’ll ask me a new question or say something hilarious. Both Trent and I are just loving this stage.

Does she ever see you on TV and get a bit confused?

Sometimes, but she’s a bit too young to really understand what Mum’s doing for work. What’s nice about her being 3 now though is that she might just be old enough to watch a little bit of Australian Ninja Warrior. This will be the first year I can show her the series, so I’m really excited.

You and Trent have been married for seven years. How did you get through the lockdowns in Victoria together?

It’s been tough for everyone here especially, but if there is a silver lining it’s that it’s been really nice to spend so much time with Trent and Ruby at home – even if his home office is a tiny table shoved into a wardrobe! I giggle whenever I check in on him, but he took the less comfortable option for us and that’s love.

WATCH BELOW: Rebecca Maddern on her ‘miracle’ pregnancy. Post continues after video…

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So what can we expect during this season of the show?

The obstacles were all imported across from the US and because of their COVID-19 situation at the time, we had access to all their sets – which means there are some incredible new challenges for the Ninjas. Nick Kyrgios has been an awesome addition to the sideline commentary team alongside Shane Crawford. He is a Ninja Warrior super-fan. He’s like a little kid on set and he’s so in awe of what our athletes can do.

How would you describe your on-screen relationship with co-host Ben Fordham?

He’s one of my TV husbands, alongside Richard Wilkins! I didn’t know Ben when we started on the show together in 2017. It was an entirely new project for both of us and we were both out of our comfort zones. But to have Ninja Warrior become such a phenomenon, and now be working on our fifth season, is amazing.

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Miller and Maddern welcomed their daughter Ruby Mae, after a difficult journey to parenthood, on April 12, 2018. (Credit: WHO/Tina Smigielski)
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TV creative director Miller and Maddern met while working at Channel Seven and married in 2014. (Credit: WHO/Tina Smigielski)

With Ninja Ben Polson conquering the course in 2020, how will it be more challenging for competitors this year?

That was the very big question I also asked before we filmed this season. In a whisper voice here, I was secretly worried about how we would top Season 4. What happens when Mount Midoriyama is conquered? Well, there are a lot of meetings and out of those meetings come incredible ideas and I’ve been blown away by what we’ve been able to do. There are 20 new obstacles on the course alone!

Why do you think the show is special?

It’s been a really tough year or so for everyone but I love that Ninja Warrior brings people – whole families – so much fun and enjoyment. I’m living in a real pinch-me moment right now from being involved in such a juggernaut of a show.

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Maddern began her career in sports journalism and is the Geelong AFL club’s No. 1 ticket holder. (Credit: WHO/Tina Smigielski)

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