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AM's Melissa Chan-Green: 'Why I had to put my family first'

Her new job comes amid some personal drama, but the former newsreader is finally ready to let her sunny personality shine

It's about this time of year that most of us quietly abandon any "new year, new me" aspirations. But Three's Melissa Chan-Green really does have a completely different life in 2022.
Not only is she the new host of the network's glossy new-look morning show AM, but the former Newshub presenter has also just become the proud owner of a beautiful home in West Auckland.
"It's been quite an emotional rollercoaster," laughs Melissa. "We actually settled on the same day that I read the 6pm news for the last time. Mike McRoberts gave a beautiful and unexpected speech.
It was so touching.
"Afterwards, I met my husband Caspar with the keys at our new house, which was incredibly exciting, then I went to our Christmas party, so it was a real ride that night!"
Busby's recovered nicely from his hospital drama.
Chatting to Woman's Day in the room furthest away from her two-year-old son Busby's bedroom so she doesn't wake him from his nap, Melissa says the AM gig was simply too good to pass up.
"It was hard because I was in a job that I loved, but Ryan Bridge is a good friend and an amazing broadcaster. Having him as a co-host really sold it."
Talented, bubbly and beautiful, Melissa is the perfect candidate for the job – before she started as the weekend newsreader in 2016, she did a five-year stint as Three's European correspondent, where she covered everything from riots to royals.
The 38-year-old has been on our screens since 2004, however, this is the first time she's really felt comfortable enough in her own skin to take on a role that showcases her personality as well as her journalistic credentials.
"I used to question myself so much," admits Melissa.
"The worst thing was, I was achieving all of my work goals, but privately, I would berate myself that I wasn't good enough – that I could do better.
"I couldn't really accept anything that was a compliment, and I would just dwell on any criticism over and over. I wouldn't have been in the right headspace for a job like this a couple of years ago. I think it's just come with being around for a while now."
Melissa is well aware that TV personalities, particularly women, often cop a lot of criticism and sometimes outright vitriol on social media, but she's ready for any onslaught.
"I really have to put myself out there on AM and it will make me a bit more vulnerable, but I'm at a point in my career and my personal life where I'm excited about that and comfortable to do it," she says. "It's a bit of a peg in the ground almost that I've matured to a point where I'm OK to do that now."
Melissa with the AM team (from left) Bernadine, Ryan and William.
With a two-year-old and a demanding job, Melissa simply doesn't have the time or energy to worry about social media trolls. "That's one of the things that becoming a mum has taught me – the value of my time. Before I just said yes to everything and now I know that if I spend time worrying about comments or doing things that I don't want to do, it's just taking away time from my family."
Melissa is over the moon about spending her precious time with hubby Caspar, 41,and gorgeous Busby in their new three-and-a-half bedroom family home, particularly as she spent two lockdowns in an apartment in a leaky building that had essentially been shrink-wrapped.
"I don't want to moan too much because a lot of people had it incredibly tough during the lockdowns," tells Melissa. "But being in a tiny apartment where we couldn't open any windows or doors wasn't great.
"In the first lockdown, I was just learning to breastfeed and there were workers with chainsaws literally right outside the bedroom window, so that wasn't the best. But it probably wasn't a great time for them either – they almost certainly got more than they bargained for!"
Melissa and hubby Caspar have just bought a new house that's perfect for growing boy Busby.
The family spent part of the most recent lockdown on a mattress at her sister's place, so they're relishing the extra room they have now.
"We just love having a bit more space," Melissa says excitedly. "It gives Busby some room to run around – he's a really active little boy – and I've got a little vege patch. Busby's learning all of the different veges and herbs, and he helps with watering the garden. It's the kind of thing that I remember growing up."
Melissa's new hours mean she's now able to spend the afternoons with Busby while Caspar, who works from home, takes over the morning shift. No longer working the weekends means Melissa will see more of her mum, who lives on Auckland's North Shore, and her three sisters. Two of them have young kids as well, so having more space makes things easier to accommodate everyone.
"It can be quite chaotic, but in the nicest possible way," says Melissa.
Unfortunately, Caspar's parents, who live in the UK, are still yet to meet Busby. "It's sad, but hopefully that day will come," she sighs. "COVID hasn't made anybody's lives easier."
One other person she's still hoping to see a lot of is Tom McRae. After both returning from overseas, they were paired to read the weekend news together and, after several years behind the desk, they still get along famously.
With Melissa decamping to AM, Tom recently quipped that he had been "abandoned" by his work wife. Laughing, Melissa says, "He definitely understood the move, but telling him was kind of like admitting to an affair. I was so nervous! I'll miss working with him loads, but he has a couple of days off during the week. He'll still be hanging around and giving me grief when he can."
When we chat, rehearsals are still underway for the new show – which kicked off 6am on 8 February – and they're going well. Melissa reckons viewers will be blown away by the new studio and the team, which includes broadcaster Bernadine Oliver-Kerby as newsreader and social media sensation William Waiirua as roving weather presenter.
"It really feels like we've all worked together before, even though I haven't actually worked with Bernadine or William. I can sense that it's going to be very fun and I'll probably get quite sore cheeks from laughing – and I know viewers will love seeing William getting out and about meeting Kiwis."
Apart from continuing to unpack the boxes from their move and preparing for AM, Melissa is basically just hunkering down after a scare with Busby on a family trip to the museum. The active tot had an awkward fall and Melissa had to rally staff, call an ambulance and, after realising the emergency vehicle was two hours away, drive Busby to Auckland's Starship children's hospital.
"It's funny because you never know how you're going to react in those situations," she muses. "When I've been on work trips where I'm reporting on riots and situations where perhaps my safety has been at risk, I've been really methodical and clear-headed. But I wondered if I'd be like that with my own child – and, surprisingly, I was!"
Busby was monitored for the afternoon and fortunately he was fine. "I think Busby loved it because he got a bracelet with his name on it and he was allowed to watch Peppa Pig," chuckles Melissa.
"But after all the big stuff we've had to do lately, who would have thought it would be a simple trip to the museum that would end in drama? Ever since, we've just been laying low. I've got enough excitement in my life with AM!"

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