“I’m still in shock,” Brendan tells Studio 10 in a live cross to Sydney from the South African jungle.
“I can’t believe that I’m sitting here with the crown on my head.
“I’ve had the most amazing time for six and a bit weeks, and having my family here now to share this with me is the most amazing experience.”
Brendan admits he went on to the show with a lot more than excess flab to shed.
After his much-publicised stints in rehab for drinking, gambling and depression, he wanted to use the time isolated with 11 other celebrities to turn over a new leaf.
His off-again, on-again wife Alex Fevola has given him a second chance, now he wanted Australia to see a new side of him too.
“I’ve had such a chequered past and it’s all my fault. This is my chance to show Australia that this is the real me,” adds the rejuvenated father-of-three.
“I’m fun, loving and I love being around people. And by the looks of it, it’s come across the way I wanted it to.”
Brendan also hopes his story will be an inspiration to others suffering from depression.
“I found it [depression] really hard. I didn’t want to express myself.
“I kept everything inside. Then when I went out and had a few beers, everything would come out. And I’d get in trouble.
“I think the biggest lesson I learned is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a big strong bloke, or a young child, you’ve got to let someone know.
“There are people there to help you, and they’re not to going to think anything less of you. People really do care, and they’ll help you through it.
“Don’t keep things bottled up. Don’t be scared. Don’t think you’re too tough and they’ll think less of you for speaking up; they won’t.”
In another generous gesture, Brendan also donated half of his $100,000 winnings to runner-up Paul Harragon’s charity, the Mark Hughes Foundation.
Brendan will give the other $50,000 to the soon-to-be-defunct Shane Warne Foundation.
“Thanks Australia for voting for me. This is one thing I thought would never happen to me with so many great people in camp, I can’t believe it, I really can’t.
“It’s such a great experience. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.”