There was laughter aplenty and tears in equal measure when the self-styled “soulmates” exchanged vows on February 27 in front of civil celebrant Kirralee Burke and a small group of family and close friends, who travelled to the isolated location in a convoy of four-wheel-drives.
“I didn’t want to cry, but it’s so emotional when you say the words you’ve written out loud,” smiled Chezzi, 40, stunning in an embroidered ivory Zimmermann gown.
“No matter what has been thrown our way, what challenges and difficulties, we have overcome every single one of them. And the most important part is that our love has only grown stronger for one another over the years. I love you more today than I did when we first got married, and that is a testament to our connectedness and enduring passion.”
Wiping his eyes, quick-witted Denyer quipped, “I’m not crying, just itching,” before pumping his fist in the air and shouting, “She said yes!” As he paid tribute to his wife’s “wonderful, fun-filled approach to life”, the champion motorsports fanatic pledged to forgive her even when she is “a crazy, inattentive driver”.
For her part, Chezzi promised to love her workaholic spouse, although he “refuses to unpack his bags and cuts his fingernails in the bathroom sink”, where the clippings all too often land near her toothbrush.
A decade into their marriage – they originally wed at Queensland’s luxury Qualia resort on February 19, 2010 – the Denyers know each other’s foibles well, but try to laugh at them. That’s half the battle in a lasting union, they reckon.
Today their love is “different but better”, enriched by their two “mini-me” daughters, both cute as buttons at the ceremony in matching flower girl dresses from Dollcake.
“Anyone can be in love when everything is going well. That’s easy, you’re in the afterglow,” Denyer told WHO once the formalities were over. “But when tough stuff happens, new qualities are revealed and your love goes to a much deeper level. It’s only through the tests of life that you get to see a person’s true colours, and you’ve got a shared story from those moments on.
“There’s no way I could have got through quite a few of our challenges without
Chezzi’s support. We’ve been through a lot and no matter the hardship, we rise out the other side together, stronger and closer.
“When I broke my back, that took a hell of a recovery and I think she carried the heaviest load. Chezzi inspired me to get back on my feet and be the best version of myself.”
Setbacks came thick and fast for six years, starting in 2008 when the thrillseeking star fractured his lower vertebrae in eight places during a monster truck stunt at Dapto Showground, near Wollongong, NSW. Nursed back to apparent health by his then-girlfriend and producer Chezzi (née Rogers), he rapidly returned to hosting Australia’s Got Talent.
Behind the scenes, however, Grant had a secret and worsening dependency on prescription painkillers. Back on the road as Sunrise weatherman, Denyer pushed the envelope too hard and was eventually warned he would die unless he walked away from the demanding gig.
Meanwhile, vibrant high-flyer Chezzi – who later created Mummy Time TV to help mothers who are feeling the strain – suffered both post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and post-natal anxiety following Sailor’s troubled birth in May 2011.
By 2013, burnt out and deeply concerned for their future together, the couple were treated for exhaustion at The Cabin, a costly Thai rehabilitation facility.
Rebuilding their lives on an 11-hectare smallholding near Bathurst’s Mount Panorama circuit – a place any revhead will tell you is their “spiritual home” – the family went from strength to strength after Channel 10 threw out-of-work Denyer a career lifeline in 2014 with the chance to host Family Feud, followed by Game of Games, Celebrity Name Game and DWTS.
Last year, however, bad times returned when the accident-prone presenter spent weeks in hospital after rupturing a disc in a DIY mishap at home. Then Sailor broke her wrist, Scout had to have a tonsillectomy, their parents were bedridden with sever diarrhoea and Denyer’s 2Day FM breakfast radio show was axed.
“You just have to pick yourself up,
dust yourself off and go again,” he says philosophically, planning a slight gear shift on and off screen in future. “I kind of want to be home a little bit more. I want to do the school drop-offs and pick-ups, and I want to learn to cook.”
Of his desire to turn his attentions to the kitchen, Grant explains, “I’ve lived on the road so much of my working life, that’s not a skill I ever learnt and I feel almost embarrassed about it. I want to be more useful around the house and take some of the load off Chezzi, although
I might have to wrestle the kitchen tongs off her!” They chuckle at each other, affectionately. “She’s not giving up those reins easily!”
Recently, Denyer voiced a character for an animated movie starring Aussie favourite Sam Neill, and he also hopes to extend his charity work, especially with Rural Aid drought relief, for which he and Chezzi raised more than $150,000 with a Black Tie and Boots Ball in 2018.
“It’s nice to find some purpose that’s not just goal-chasing or ladder climbing,” he explains. “I’ve worked too hard and had too many jobs at once, but you do that when you’re trying to get your break.
“Now we are enjoying the fruits of the past 10 years. I’ve been lucky enough to glean a fair bit out of my career and I just feel the need to be a little more of service. It can be a pretty selfish, self-absorbed process when you work in TV, so I need to give back. That’s when your soul is at its most happy.”
Quietly, Chezzi adds, “We feel so blessed and so grateful. It all feels more real when you’re 10 years in. We were rushing around this morning, just normal life, and then when we got here …” She gestures towards the panoramic view from the flower-decked arbour on wedding planner Amy Gullifer’s magnificent Glen Outram cattle property.
“When we got here, Grant suddenly said, ‘I’m so glad we’re doing this.’ So I think we’ll have to renew our vows every 10 years!”