SAS Australia: Meet the hosts pushing the celebrities to their limits

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TV show SAS Australia is all about mental and physical strength and endurance but who are the experts who help the celebrities as well as push them to achieve all they have?

This elite squad of former SAS soldiers will push the stars to their limits so they can see if they have what it takes to pass the tests needed to get into the infamously most secretive and specialist of the military regiments.

And although all four – Ant, Ollie, Foxy and Billy – are returning from last year's show, just who are the men behind the muscles?

Mark 'Billy' Billingham, Ant Middleton, Matthew 'Ollie' Ollerton and Jason 'Foxy' Fox
SAS Australia elite squad - Mark 'Billy' Billingham, Ant Middleton, Matthew 'Ollie' Ollerton and Jason 'Foxy' Fox. Photo: Instagram
SAS Australia elite squad
SAS Australia elite squad - Matthew 'Ollie' Ollerton, Ant Middleton, Jason 'Foxy' Fox and Mark 'Billy' Billingham. Photo: Instagram

Ant Middleton

Ant Middleton joined the army at just 17 where he served in the 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineer before moving to the Royal Marines and eventually to the Special Boat Service, the sister unit to the SAS.

After leaving the military he went into personal security where he protected VIPs, including government officials and high profile celebrities.

Ant, 40, found fame when he joined SAS: Who Dares Wins in the UK as the Chief Instructor. Since then he has also released four books.

SAS Ant Middleton during his time in the military, with wife Emilie and with his five children.
Ant Middleton during his time in the military, with wife Emilie and with his five children. Photo: instagram/@antmiddleton

In his personal life, he met wife Emilie Middleton in 2004 and they have five children. Oakley, 19, Ant's son from a previous relationship, daughter Shyla, 13, son Gabriel, 12, daughter Priseis, five, and youngest son Bligh who is four. Completing their family is bulldog Roxy and new puppy Mila Mittens.

Emilie has admitted that fame has been hard on them as a family. "It went to [Ant's] head and stuff teetered a bit for us," wife Emilie said in Ant's book Zero Negativity

"If I had thousands of strangers sending me messages on Instagram telling me how great I was, I bet my head would swell up too. Who wouldn’t float up in that bubble? Anyone who says it wouldn’t affect them is lying. I spent a lot of time bringing him back to earth, mostly by nagging him," she added.

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She also had to see her husband spend time behind bars for an assault charge after two police officers were attacked outside a nightclub in the UK

"It was a very dark moment in my life. It was a turning point, I thought the transition from military life to civilian life would be quite easy but I found it quite hard," Ant told the Mirror. "I was shocked by how I acted. I’m very ashamed of it, hence why I’ve put it behind me."

Mark “Billy” Billingham

Mark Billingham with wife Julie Colombino-Billingham; in his SAS days and with his grandchildren
Mark Billingham with wife Julie Colombino-Billingham; in his SAS days and with his grandchildren. Photo: instagram/@billingham22b & instagram/@juliecolombino

Growing up on a tough housing estate in the UK and was stabbed in a knife fight at the age of 11. Lucky for him he discovered the armed forces joining the cadets at 16 and it was the making of him. 

"I needed discipline. I needed to be shown that I wasn’t the person that I thought I really was," he told POPSUGAR Australia. "I knew the military was exactly where I needed to be."

His military career led him to the SAS and eventually he became an instructor in Counter-Terrorist Snipers; Advanced Evasive Driving; Tracking, Jungle Warfare and Navigation; Demolition and Sabotage; Ski Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, Abseiling and Ice climbing; Combat Survival; and Counter-Terrorism. As if that wasn't enough he also worked as a Patrol Medic and in Trauma Life Support Agent.

After leaving the military he became a bodyguard and looked after a raft of A-list celebrities including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Sir Michael Caine, Jude Law, Hulk Hogan, Kate Moss, Russell Crowe and Tom Cruise.

Mark, 56, courted controversy when he claimed he was the most like a father figure to Brad and Angelina's children for some time.

"I could take the kids anywhere I wanted to on my own. No one else was allowed to do that," Mark said. "I took them swimming. I fathered them, basically."

But Mark's own personal life suffered spending all his time being a bodyguard. Doing TV, being a public speaker and writing books has allowed the father of six to enjoy life more with wife Julie Colombino-Billingham, an ethical fashion and footwear designer.

“My wife and I love going hiking or looking after our grandchildren," he tells iNews. "It’s those things that make me feel most alive and bring me the most joy. If being in the special forces has taught me anything, it’s to live everyday as if it’s your last because you really don’t know how long you have left – although now I’m out of the SAS I might have a little longer!"

Jason 'Foxy' Fox

SAS instructor Jason 'Foxy
Jason 'Foxy" Fox with his dog Bumble, during his time with the SAS and on top of the Brecon Beacons in Wales. Photo: instagram/@jason_carl_fox

Joining the armed forces at 16, Jason 'Foxy' Fox spent 10 years in the Royal Marines before joining the Special Boat Service (SBS).

However, when he left the military he claimed he lost his identity and purpose. "I just didn't know where I fitted in in society. I had a purpose from the age of 16 to 36 - I was a soldier and that's what I trained to do," he told LADbible. "OK, I was slightly damaged by it, but I was still good at it."

But one way he's really been able to help others is by opening up about his own mental health struggles. 

"I felt like I was failing at everything, I got kicked out of my job that I loved, got a job that I hated, I wasn't good at keeping a relationship sweet... I was just like, 'What's going on?' It was pretty grim," he said.

"I've got two marriages that have gone down the pan - I like to attribute it to the military life but then I look at the common denominator which is me. It's probably because I'm a nightmare to live with."

While he is open about his past, he likes to keeps his private life private. He reveals he has kids but that is all he will say publicly.

Having settled his demons, Foxy has admitted to becoming a bit of a hippie. "I’m a bit more mindful and in the moment, as opposed to what’s coming up in the future or what happened five minutes ago," he told Mancunian Matters. "I don’t sit down meditating and smoke loads of weed……sounds alright though.”

Matt 'Ollie' Ollerton

SAS Matthew 'Ollie' Ollerton during his time in the military
Matthew 'Ollie' Ollerton during his time in the military; with best friend, pup Murphy; and on honeymoon with wife Laura and son William earlier this year. Photo: instagram/@ollie.ollerton

Joining the Royal Marines was one of Matthew 'Ollie' Ollerton's proudest moments, especially as his mum was there to see him do it. From there he realised his childhood dream, joining the elite SAS.

During his time in the military, Ollie’s missions included hostage rescue, counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, homeland security, counter-insurgency operations and humanitarian efforts. Ollie also qualified as a pilot of the Submersible Dive Vessel (SDV), a mini-sub! 

But the military wasn't all he'd hoped it would be. "I didn't find my sense of purpose in the military, there was always something missing," he told the Express & Star.

However Ollie, 50, credits moving into TV for changing his life. "For years, I'd used alcohol to numb the crazy chatter in my head – blocking out memories of things I'd seen and had happened to me," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

Well that, and wife Laura, 41, who he married late last year. He has finally found contentment living in the English countryside with Laura, her son William, 12, and pup Murphy. "I'm the happiest I've ever been. Up until about five years ago, I don't believe I was a happy person - I was always happy on the outside, but on the inside there was a war going on," he reveals.

"But now, I'm settled with her and in everything I do. I help other people through my training and motivational business, Break Point, which gives me a massive amount of satisfaction."

SAS Australia coming soon to Channel 7 and 7plus.

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