Tony Armstrong says he's 'uncomfortable' being 'Australia's boyfriend’

·Lifestyle & Entertainment producer
·5-min read

Since bursting into the entertainment industry just over a year ago as a sports presenter on ABC’s News Breakfast, Tony Armstrong has quickly gained a strong fan following for his talent, charismatic personality and good looks.

In addition to receiving accolades for his skills, including the Graham Kennedy Award for Most Popular New Talent at the 2022 Logie Awards, he’s also earned the title of ‘Australia’s boyfriend’ by countless social media users.

Tony Armstrong at the Logie Awards.
Tony Armstrong won the Graham Kennedy Award for Most Popular New Talent at the 2022 Logie Awards. Photo: Getty

Chatting with Yahoo Lifestyle, the 32-year-old former footballer now admits that he often finds it difficult dealing with the enormous attention he receives online.

“It's so lovely for people to be so complimentary, like obviously, that's really nice,” he begins. “I definitely get a bit uncomfortable because sometimes it gets, full-on might be the wrong word, but it can be a lot at times.

“Even, for instance, walking the Logies red carpet, I hated that so much. It was very overwhelming, all that kind of thing. Being nominated for an award, people wanted to talk to me and stuff and I was pretty keen to just walk through, but there was going to be none of that.”

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"It's kind of like this self-fulfilling prophecy,” he continues.

“It's like, the better I get at my job - which I always want to try to be better and try to do a better job - the bigger my profile will get and the more that will happen.

“So it's like, yeah, I want to do this because I want to be good at the work, but then, unfortunately, the ‘caveat’ to that is that I'm working in a very public space and just by nature of what some people think might be cool or whatever, I'm kind of in that hitting zone so it means I have those articles or comments made about me.”

Reality TV

Following a suspiciously timed announcement earlier this year that he was “taking time off work” for an unnamed project, it was heavily speculated that Tony would star on season ten of The Bachelor - a rumour he wishes he could have addressed in real-time without adding further fuel to the fire.

“I just had to not acknowledge it, as hard as that was,” he laughs. “I was like, ‘Shut the f**k up, man, it's not f**king me!’.”

While he insists that reality TV isn’t something he’s all that interested in pursuing, the former AFL star admits that he previously contemplated going on The Amazing Race.

“I thought about it for like, I reckon a couple of weeks with a good mate of mine,” he reveals.

“And then we were like, ‘Man, we've travelled before, we blew up at each other the whole time in the airports. Can you imagine f**king film crews there watching us descend into this very base kind of set of behaviours?’.

“So after considering it for a little while, I decided to hang up my non-existent ‘reality TV boots’ and just respectfully decline any opportunities to go on reality TV.”

Tony Armstrong on The Project.
It was rumoured earlier this year that Tony had been cast as The Bachelor for 2022. Photo: Channel Ten

ABC 90 Celebrate!

Following his win at the Logies, an honour he describes as “incredibly humbling”, Tony is gearing up to host ABC 90 Celebrate! alongside Craig Reucassel and Zan Rowe on Thursday 30 June at 8 pm.

The 2-hour special live event will shine a spotlight on the national broadcaster’s legacy and the iconic programming it has produced over the past 90 years.

“We’ll be throwing to spots all around the country where there's going to be some amazing live activations and some great performances,” he details.

“You kind of forget just how much the ABC does. Like, until you actually take stock, there's so much from Double J and rage, all the way through to cricket commentary and footy commentary, all the way through to Mad as Hell and kids’ shows. This spectrum of offerings that this place has and will continue to have is incredible.

“And what viewers should expect is a bunch of people doing their best to respect that and do our best to pay homage to everyone who's come before us, everyone who's watched and the audiences. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

ABC's Craig Reucassel, Zan Rowe and Tony Armstrong.
Tony will host ABC 90 Celebrate! alongside Craig Reucassel and Zan Rowe. Photo: Supplied/ABC

Future plans

Speaking about his future plans after a massive 12 months in the spotlight, Tony remarks that he’s simply looking forward to getting better at his job.

“There are so many things I'm learning all the time, so I’m excited for that,” he says.

“I've got a few sort of creative things away from the news that I'm working at. I can't really say what they are yet, but I'm working at them really hard and they're going alright. I do enjoy getting outside the newsroom and exploring what’s out there.

“The ABC is such a broad, diverse place for so many offerings. What better place to be than in a stable that allows you, if you’re good enough, to kind of play around and live in different spaces.”

ABC 90 Celebrate broadcasts Thursday, 30 June at 8 pm on ABC TV and ABC iview

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