George Calombaris opens up on his mental health battle after he was found to be ...

Embattled MasterChef judge George Calombaris has opened up about his battle with mental health after he was found to have underpaid staff by almost $8million.

The celebrity chef has been ordered to give the Government $200,000 after underpaying 515 staff between 2011 and 2017 by more than $7.8million.

Mr Calombaris, 40, apologised to his former and current employees, saying he was 'deeply sorry for what has happened' - but insisted he didn't deliberately underpay his staff.

Embattled MasterChef judge George Calombaris (far right) has opened up about his battle with mental health after he was found underpaying staff by almost $8million

Embattled MasterChef judge George Calombaris (far right) has opened up about his battle with mental health after he was found underpaying staff by almost $8million 

The chef (right with friend Nigella Lawson) has been ordered to pay the Government $200,000 for underpaying 515 staff between 2011 and 2017, the Fair Work Commission announced

The chef (right with friend Nigella Lawson) has been ordered to pay the Government $200,000 for underpaying 515 staff between 2011 and 2017, the Fair Work Commission announced

Opening up about his battle with mental health throughout the ordeal, the celebrity chef told Good Weekend meditation saved him when he hit 'darkness'. 

Mr Calombaris says it all began in April 2017 when he was hit with two scandals just a month apart - the first being the revelation his businesses underpaid staff for years.

Then in May 2017,  a video emerged of Mr Calombaris shoving a 19-year-old man who abused him at a soccer match.

In the days following the video becoming public, he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of deals and was being berated by the media.

'I was sleep-deprived, resorting to alcohol, erratic, not 'present' at home,' he said.

Reflecting on that period in his life, Mr Calombaris says he 'didn't know how to deal with it' so he began to act out.

In the years since, he has turned to meditation and said it had an instant affect on how he dealt with issues.

'It was like I'd just scalded my hand on the hotpot and then stuck it in ice water and gone 'Ahhh',' Mr Calombaris said.

He acknowledged that his 'single-minded drive' that pushed him to success was also what was pushing him to make reckless decisions.

Mr Calombaris says it all began in April 2017 when he was hit with two scandals just a month apart - the first being the revelation his businesses underpaid staff for years. Pictured: leaving court in 2017 after an incident with a fan at the A-League grand final

Mr Calombaris says it all began in April 2017 when he was hit with two scandals just a month apart - the first being the revelation his businesses underpaid staff for years. Pictured: leaving court in 2017 after an incident with a fan at the A-League grand final 

'And this is all from this intense craziness in the kitchen. We're not MMA fighters, we're chefs!' he said.

However, it seems Mr Calomabris' problems are far from over, with another two of his former staff claiming they were underpaid.

The employees claim there were ripped off after working at his Melbourne CBD restaurant

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