Alex Fevola has opened up on the moment she realised husband Brendan had lost their entire savings because of his gambling addiction.
The former Carlton Blues and Brisbane Lions player revealed last year that he was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2013 and even went to the length of selling his Coleman Medal to fund his addiction.
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The 41-year-old admitted he lost more than $360,000 over a three-day gambling spree and spoke publicly about seeking treatment for his addiction.
Now, Fevola's wife Alex has revealed she was largely in the dark about the extent of her husband's habit and opened up about the moment she realised he'd lost their entire savings.
“The pay hadn’t gone into the account,” she told the Mamamia 'No Filter' podcast.
“I thought, ‘That’s so strange. What’s going on?’ And I couldn’t get onto anybody, no one was answering my calls.
“Eventually, someone answered my call and told me that, 'yeah, there was no pay' and it was that entire year’s worth of pay.”
Alex said the reason she divorced Brendan in 2014 was because of his gambling problems, not because of his infamous affair with Lara Bingle.
“I was actually just in disbelief. I could not believe that this would all happen and no one would notify me,” she said.
“The biggest shock of it all was that this had gone on behind the scenes, and nobody thought it was important to tell me that that’s what was happening.
“I had to go into recovery mode. We had to get out of where we were living. We’d just bought a house. We had to sell everything.”
How Brendan Fevola lost $360,000 in one day
The Favolas have four daughters together and are now stronger than ever after reuniting.
The final years of Fevola's AFL career were plagued by off-field controversies, including his gambling problem, a nude photo scandal involving Bingle, and an arrest that ultimately ended his time in the league.
Speaking on his Nova radio show in 2017, Fevola opened up about how quickly he would rack up wins and losses.
“I was in Queensland and it was a Wednesday afternoon and I had a bookie so I had $2000 credit in my account and I was having a really good day,” he said.
“By 3am the next morning I was betting at Hong Kong, not knowing anything about the horses, just having a little bit of fun.
“I ended that morning $363,000 in front, told (his wife) Alex. She said, ‘This is amazing, can you get it out?’
“So I rang the bookie the next day to try and get it out but when you’ve got a bookie you can’t get it out until the Monday. So Sunday night I was 20 (thousand) down. So I lost $360,000 in three days. That’s my biggest loss.”
Fevola said the hardest thing about his addiction was how it affected his family - including daughters Leni, Lulu, Tobi and Mia.
“I did (lose a lot of our savings) and hence why Alex left the first time when we were in Brisbane,” he said on his Nova breakfast show.
“She went back because of the gambling. Now she looks after a lot of the accounts which is good.
“I said to myself then I didn’t lose that ($360,000) because I’d already won it, so it’s so weird. But you did, you lost it.
“The worst thing is it didn’t actually affect me too much but if affects your family and that’s the bottom line, Alex and the kids.
“It’s an addictive thing, it’s a really bad addiction to have and it obviously cripples a lot of people’s lives.”
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