He's the talented designer from Channel 10’s The Living Room who always has a smile on his face, so it’s hard to believe that Barry Du Bois, or Baz as he’s lovingly known, once battled through a dark time in his life.
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Speaking to New Idea, the TV host revealed: “I was depressed, I refused to talk about it and I just thought it was everyone else trying to annoy me.”
Barry, 58, has always been open about his battle with cancer – he was diagnosed with Plasmacytoma Myeloma, a cancer of the immune system
in 2010 – and while he has maintained a positive outlook throughout his gruelling treatment and surgery, he now admits to experiencing depression at one point.
Barry has previously said his struggles first started after he lost his mother to breast and bowel cancer in 2004. But the difficult times didn’t stop there when his wife, Leonie Tobler, went on to be diagnosed with cervical cancer.
“I lost my mum, my wife got cancer and everything started to unwind,” Barry says, with raw honesty. “I just didn’t want to talk, I closed down.”
In October 2017, Barry shared the devastating news that his cancer had returned – this time it was much more aggressive, but still, he was determined to stay positive, and his fight inspired us all.
“My answer to my diagnosis wasn’t negative, it was all about how can we best prepare ourselves to deal with the battle ahead. There will always be battles in life and it’s always about being ready and best prepared to deal with them,” Barry tells us.
He credits his family and friends for keeping him afloat, especially his wife, who has been an incredible support. “She is great with nutrition and helping me really look after my heath,” Barry adds.
The couple have two beautiful children together – 6-year-old twins Arabella and Bennett, who were born via surrogacy.
“My kids are my life – everything about them is positive, they’re amazing. Family is the start of community and society,” Barry says. “I want my kids to experience a sense of self-belief.”
But despite always trying to maintain a positive outlook, and a friendly smile on his face, Barry is only human, and he admits that not talking about some of the more difficult times in his life only made things worse.
That’s why he also credits his role as an ambassador for suicide prevention charity R U OK? for encouraging him to open up, and talk about his problems.
“When I did, everything became clearer,” he explains. “I felt more positive and I was able to break down my problems.”
“When friends asked how
I was, I started to open up and I began to feel more in touch with reality.”
Gavin Larkin founded the charity after his father committed suicide. Barry says: “He wanted to turn what had happened to him into a positive, and that simple question ‘R U OK?’ can really change a life.”
The ambassador role has not only helped Barry through his own journey battling cancer and depression, but it is also a cause that really resonates with the star.
“I have had friends commit suicide. When you are depressed everything becomes so overwhelming and so big. That simple act of talking about it really helps you. I really believe in what the charity stands for,” Barry says.
Tragically, there is no cure for his cancer, but the TV favourite isn’t planning to go anywhere, and is determined to manage the disease with treatment and a balanced lifestyle, which includes meditation and a nutritious diet.
Speaking about being back on The Living Room, Barry says: “I love everything I do. I think it’s a gift to be sitting there with my co-hosts and it’s just such a great experience. They have all been amazing but we all support each other. I really am so grateful for my work.”
- Visit www.ruok.org.au to find out more.
For more, see this week's New Idea, out now.