Tony Armstrong opens up about Logies win, reality TV rumours and OnlyFans stint

Tony Armstrong has opened up about the prank that landed him in “chats” with his ABC bosses ahead of hosting the network’s 90th anniversary special this week.

Don’t expect to see Tony Armstrong handing out roses with Osher Günsberg, eating animal testicles in the jungle, or back on OnlyFans any time soon.

The recent Logie winner, 32, candidly told news.com.au there’s “not a chance” he’d ever sign up for reality TV, unless he had “secret lessons from Andy Allen” as a precursor to a stint on MasterChef.

“Kind of the more interested that people are in talking to me, the less I want to do in a public space,” he said with a laugh when asked about persistent Bachelor rumours, adding that his “anxiety inducing” red carpet debut at the Logies was enough of a foray out of his comfort zone.

“I really didn’t enjoy the red carpet … going to events and stuff like that, it’s just not ever going to be me,” he said.

“Logie winner, Tony Armstrong,” as he quips he’s ordered his ABC colleagues to call him from now on, is the brightest star on Aussie TV’s horizon off the back of his Most Popular New Talent win, and he’s set to mark a huge milestone for the national broadcaster on Thursday.

Armstrong will host the network’s 90th anniversary special, ABC 90 Celebrate!, tonight from 8pm, alongside Zan Rowe and Craig Reucassel.

It’s a huge gig for the up-and-comer given he only landed a permanent spot on the News Breakfast desk a year ago, where he quickly gained traction as a viewer favourite for his down-to-earth persona and undeniable charm.

But away from the screen, back in September 2021, it was his brief appearance on OnlyFans that set tongues wagging.

Tony opens up about cheeky OnlyFans stunt

Mystery shrouds the moment Armstrong was spotted in a verified account on the raunchy subscription-only platform.

At the time he denied was him, as news.com.au reported, but he’s since come clean that it was actually set up as a ploy to trick fans into donating to The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, cooked up with the owners of lifestyle brand Skwosh Club, Jack Watts and Jack Turner.

“I’m actually still waiting to get paid from it,” he explained.

“I did it because I was sitting with a couple of mates, Jack Watts and Jack Turner, and they had a charity run of shorts, and we thought ‘wouldn’t it be funny if we did a troll thing and tricked people into donating money’.

“Once they got into the OnlyFans, they would realise a subscription was for this charity … It was just photos of me with cups of tea or with a book or something. We ended up getting quite a few subscriptions.”

Asked whether he had permission from the ABC to join the site for the three-week stint, he sheepishly responded that he “found out later that he was meant to.”

“I wouldn’t say I got in trouble … I had ‘a chat’,” he revealed.

Adorable moment after Logies win

While the former AFL player is obviously well aware he’s become Australia’s favourite internet boyfriend over the past 12 months — he’s managed to stay humble, even with a Logie on his shelf.

“To be honest I’ve not really had a chance to let it sink in,” he said of the win.

“At some point, what was such a humbling win will give me a good chance to reflect on the start of my career in the media.

“The very nature of what we all do, is you don’t really stop and reflect. It’s just sort of like ‘Alright I’m done with that massive bit of work, what’s next?’ so it’s a good chance to do that,” he said.

During his acceptance speech, he thanked his mum, “the big cheese”, who he says was “so proud she was about ready to pop” by the achievement.

“If you’d have put a light bulb on her, the light bulb would have just lit up,” he said of her reaction on the night.

“I FaceTimed her immediately afterwards, just around at the table, and I was with Rove McManus, who came over to congratulate me because he produces The Project.

“I’d met Rove the night before but I couldn’t help it, I was like ‘Rove, I actually can’t believe I’m saying this, I am seeing myself from a third person point of view right now and I’m f***ing annoyed that I’m about to ask you this, but … can you say hi to my mum please?’,” he recalled, saying his mum was “chuffed” by the call with the beloved TV personality.

“Then (Rove) asked for $100 which was a bit odd,” he joked.

The pressures of live TV

One of Armstrong’s most memorable ABC moments remains his viral slip of the tongue which saw him refer to cricket captain Tim Paine’s “bulging dick” instead of “bulging disc” in 2021.

Speaking to news.com.au, the host of ABC’s A Dog’s World said awkward live moments are his speciality.

“I basically have moments every day where I see Michael (Rowland) and Lisa (Millar) look at me like I’ve come from another planet,” he said, recalling a day he continually quoted cult British comedy series The Mighty Boosh on air.

“I got really into it and at one point I looked over at them and they were looking at me like ‘how is this guy not only on TV, but in the building? There’s something obviously wrong with him’,” he joked.

Adding of his obvious popularity with viewers, he mused; “Maybe there’s more weirdos out there like me than I actually thought.”

But Armstrong knows when to switch tone on the show.

A proud Indigenous man and noted voice in discussions of racism in Australia, Armstrong feels his status comes with a level of responsibility.

“It’s something that I’m very cognisant of, and I take very seriously,” he said of having the platform to shed light on Indigenous issues.

“It’s also something where you do feel a bit of pressure to get right … I don’t take it for granted.

“I know how important it is to have people who do use their platform (so) if there’s something I’m pissed off about, I’ll generally say something.

“I’m just really lucky to have been afforded the success that I’ve started to have, but with that comes some responsibility to make sure I try to do good things.”

ABC 90 Celebrate! hosted by Tony Armstrong, Zan Rowe and Craig Reucassel airs live on Thursday, 30 June at 8pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.

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