Hazelbrook MKR star Robert Murphy in battle with tax office

The Texan-born, Hazelbrook-based, reality TV star Robert Murphy hams it up with Winmalee Coles produce manager Daniel Lee.
The Texan-born, Hazelbrook-based, reality TV star Robert Murphy hams it up with Winmalee Coles produce manager Daniel Lee.
Father and daughter duo Robert and Lynzey. Source: Channel 7.

Father and daughter duo Robert and Lynzey. Source: Channel 7.

The unsuspecting and charming star of Channel Seven's ratings giant, My Kitchen Rules, Robert Murphy of Hazelbrook, 61, is set for a mammoth battle with the Australian Tax Office after discovering he owes "a substantial amount" in back taxes.

While shooting the reality show over the past six months, the former Texan cowboy with his trademark Fu Manchu moustache, who stars with his daughter Lynzey in the highest rating TV show, discovered his accounts from 2009 were not up-to-date.

Even if he wins the $250,000 competition, he said it wouldn't be enough.

"I'll have to get a real job. It turns out after I retired I got this bill in the mail, a tax bill from the government. I'm not an accountant and I've been hiring people to do my taxes and evidently they've been doing a really poor job," he told the Gazette in his distinctive Texan drawl.

The tax dramas also relate to his property in America, where his ailing mum lives.

"They want me to sell my property to pay my taxes. They reckon they own 45 per cent of what I own. It's pretty much going to take all my superannuation."

Mr Murphy, who spent most of his early life as a cowboy in Texas, said he couldn't go back to his visual arts teacher's position in western Sydney, and would love his own spin-off TV cooking show.

"I'd already told the people I work with I was retiring ... When you are shooting My Kitchen Rules you don't need any other distractions.

"Maybe I could [have a show and] cook on unusual things, like car engines."

But Mr Murphy, who rushed to America during filming to bury his beloved only sibling, Maxine Murphy Cockrell, who died in a car accident, said of the tax dramas: "I've been in a whole lot worse jams than this".

"My sister was my ace in the hole, she knew me best, she knew every recipe ... Things are not that important, it's just stuff."

He said living in a bushfire zone makes you re-evaluate what you need.

"I'd take four or five pairs of boots," he said laughing.

Robert Murphy learnt how to cook in the wilds of his Breckenridge, Texas home, seasoning rabbits he shot himself. He still cooks chicken fried steak, Tomahawk steak ['a ribeye with a bone in'] and also enjoys Wagyu beef. "You got to cook it rare and cook it really hot to cook the fat inside it."

He's still committed to multiple promotions with the show. The network flew him to Canberra over the weekend to sign autographs and this Friday he will be on Better Homes and Gardens.

"I spent three days mowing the lawn and dusting and a few days later Johanna Griggs came in and she was like part of the family."

My Kitchen Rules airs four nights a week and attracts two million viewers.

The father and daughter duo topped their instant restaurant round and are contracted to the network until the end of next year.

"It's a lot harder than it looks, cooking with a camera in your face... but people have been really nice, as nice as nice can be."

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