The Australian Idol favourite is set to welcome the pitter-patter of tiny feet
With her beautiful blue eyes sparkling and skin glowing with good health, Kate DeAraugo has never looked more radiant as she breaks out in a huge smile to share the happiest news of her life.
“I’m 32 weeks pregnant,” beams Kate, 36. “My greatest hope is that I can raise a little human to be all the things I am now, and not have to go through all the insecurities I went through as a kid and an adult. If I can raise another human to be comfortable and love themselves, then I’ve done my job.”
Kate won Australian Idol in 2005, and became a huge star with her first single Maybe Tonight topping the charts, before going on to join the Young Divas. But a lifetime of insecurities about her body image overshadowed her incredible rise, and it can still wound her, even now, after years of therapy and lots of hard work to learn how to fully love herself.
‘I hope to raise a little human to be all the things I am now’
“Refinding myself was one of the scariest adventures I’ve ever been on and it took a lot of courage to do it, but to be at the other end of it, and to have the understanding of myself and who I am and who I want to be in this world, is the most rewarding thing I have ever achieved,” she says. “I’m a big advocate for therapy and being able to talk to people. I think deep down everybody should have a person. I couldn’t do it all on my own. I needed to help to understand things.
“I certainly have a lot more acceptance than I ever have had. Is it perfect? No. But it’s a work in progress, and being pregnant has certainly challenged me and I think a lot of women will be able to relate to that.
“It’s also taught me a whole other level of what to love in this moment. Some days I wake up and go, ‘Oh no, what’s happened?’ I’m not going to pretend I don’t have those feelings of stress or not liking what I see, but because of where I’ve been and what I’ve done, I redirect that and practice kindness.”
Fortunately, Kate has handsome Melbourne building foreman Shannon Riseley, 40, to help hold her hand and shower her with love on those difficult mornings when her old insecurities flare up and dent her confidence.
The couple met in 2019 after deciding to look for love on dating app Bumble, and found each other on their first foray into online dating. When COVID hit a short while later, they decided to ride out Melbourne’s first long lockdown together.
“I’m a very lucky man,” grins Shannon, who says Kate is going to be the best parent. “I think she’s going to be a really caring mum, and a fun mum. We both want this so much.”
Kate says Shannon had her heart from their first date at a coffee shop in Essendon, Melbourne. “We clicked straight away,” she says, admitting that COVID fast-tracked their relationship.
It also helped that Shannon had no idea who Kate was – that she had been the star of one of Australia’s biggest TV shows, experiencing all the highs and lows of life in the public eye.
“It was nice to meet someone who had no preconceived ideas of who I was or what I did or where I’d been,” reveals Kate, who has been “clean and sober” for almost five years after publicly admitting to a drug addiction in 2017. Her battle with drugs followed a lifetime of struggles with her weight, which only became more consuming after judge Kyle Sandilands cruelly humiliated her on Idol when he told her she had “tuckshop lady arms”.
Kate went on to have extreme liposuction and later underwent gastric band surgery to try to achieve the sort of body Kyle and others told her she had to have to succeed in the music industry.
It was a torment nobody should have to endure, and left her contemplating giving up the industry altogether a few years ago, before she fell back in love with music in 2019 – after realising her voice was beautiful no matter whether she was larger or smaller.
“It took me time to learn that my voice sounds the same irrespective of what size my jeans are!” she says, adding that meeting Shannon also helped heal her.
“He made me feel comfortable from the start and we got along, and we could laugh, and it was easy – apart from that first date when I was super nervous because I hadn’t dated in a really, really long time.”
‘Being pregnant has certainly challenged me’
Kate also paid tribute to her devoted mum Susan, who tragically died in an accident, aged just 59, just weeks after the singer shared her happy baby news.
“Yes, my life is wonderful, but I want to acknowledge Mum because at the end of the day I wouldn’t be where I am today – in a beautiful relationship and about to have a baby – if she hadn’t fought for me over the years,” she says.
Kate admits that without the loving support of Susan, dad Paul, 60, brother, Alex, 33, and sister Eliza, 29, she may not have survived her demons.
“My mum and my dad, and my family as a whole, are incredibly important to me and they have been such a massive support through all my adventures in life, good or bad and all the places in between,” she says. “My mum, in particular, never gave up on me… she taught me what the true meaning of unconditional love meant. My biggest hope is that I can be half the mum that she was to me.”
This article first appeared in Woman’s Day. Reproduced here with permission.