Once upon a time, Jamie Durie was one of the country’s most famous faces. He had a monopoly on the gardening industry and, in truth, the entire Australian lifestyle space, his face brandished across prime-time TV, his tips and tricks consumed like gospel for the green-thumbs.
This weekend, Fairfax reported Durie’s company JPD Media and Design Pty Ltd was placed into voluntary administration. It came after a former co-worker sued the gardening guru for unpaid commissions worth more than $500,000.
So, some two decades after he first sashayed onto our screens as the country’s most loveable designer, where did it all go wrong for Jamie Durie?
At 15, Durie left school to model for brands like Coca Cola and Samsung and, by the age of just 18, became one of the founding members of Manpower while living in Las Vegas.
Six years into his tenure as a stripper, Durie decided to give horticulture a go, eventually launching his own landscaping business in 1998. It was there, at the helm of that landscaping business, that Jamie Durie was propelled onto our screens as the host of Backyard Blitz.
In 2001, he won Most Popular New Male Talent at the Logies and in 2003 to 2005, Most Popular Presenter. Australia had fallen in love with the model-turned-gardner, his penchant for outdoor design and quiet charm an easy recipe for ratings success.
In fact, it was his monumental success on home soil that attracted both interested and praise from Oprah Winfrey.
For five years, he had a regular gig as a guest on her show, which eventually opened up the US market and led to him hosting his own show over there.
As international fame came, so too did the book deals — eleven of them, to be exact — and a self-titled app, such is the way of the 21st century. Oh, and if his resume wasn’t long enough, in 2012, he won an Order of Australia for services to the environment.
And yet, in March this year, the Supreme Court found in favour of Mike Curnow, the man who had worked alongside Durie in his self-titled business venture, and now claims to be owed more than half a million dollars in lost income.
In the days after Curnow’s lawyers issued Durie a creditor’s statutory demand for payment, he declared bankruptcy, Fairfax reports, though Curnow isn’t buying the sudden excuse.
“This has cost me my marriage, my home and my career … if he thinks I’m going to give up now he is mistaken, I’m not going anywhere,” he said.
It’s been nearly two decades since Jamie Durie first appeared on our screens with charisma and charm in spades. But perhaps now with frayed business relationships in his wake, it seems the benefits of fame he once relished have now all fallen away.