Brooke Cotchin has admitted her mental health hit rock bottom amid the bruising fallout from her ill-advised trip to a Gold Coast day spa while staying in the AFL's 'hub' last year.
The wife of Richmond Tigers star Trent Cotchin had joined her husband on the Gold Coast when family were permitted to enter the Gold Coast hub, as the AFL restarted the pandemic-interrupted 2020 season.
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However Brooke generated controversy after posting about her trip to a day spa, a clear contravention of the rules players and their families were expected to abide by in order to minimise the risk of another shutdown.
The visit resulted in intense scrutiny of Brooke and saw the Tigers cop a $45,000 fine from the AFL.
There were longer lasting consequences from the coverage of the incident, with Brooke telling the Curious Conversations podcast that the incident had led to her becoming 'mentally depressed' and that she had contemplated taking her own life.
“I kept saying to Trent, the only reason — it sounds extreme — but the only reason I didn’t kill myself was because of my kids," she said.
“That’s my thing with the media and I don’t think they realise how damaging they can be.
“I suppose you get painted as this person that you’re not and you’ve got no control so you just have to deal with it.
“Everyone was like, ‘Don’t read it’. But I’m one of those people that I just need to know and I need to have control over what’s being said.
“Even what the boys were copping in the hub. I think people were so angry and frustrated and people were just looking for a way to take our their frustrations.”
She explained that she was unaware the day spa was outside the biosecure environment they were staying in, and had visited with the encouragement of Trent after a difficult week caring for their children.
Brooke also went on to say it took her days just to feel comfortable getting out of bed.
“I had to get up because I had no choice because Trent had to train,” she said.
“I couldn’t speak, I actually had to bar my mum’s calls because I couldn’t bear to speak to her because I didn’t want her to know how bad I was.
“It was more as well I think because I couldn’t hide. I’m living in this hub, I have to get up, I was the only partner in our hub, my kids were the only kids in there.
"Every meal was with the team and I was a mess and they had to see that.”
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Brooke's father Rick Kennedy was critical of both the AFL and Richmond in the wake of the saga, speaking out last August about how his daughter had been treated.
In an interview with Triple M, Kennedy said it was clear to him that neither the league of the club had done enough to protect his daughter following the scandal.
“My own view, and this is not coming from Trent and Brooke … I think the AFL and Richmond handled it really poorly,” he said.
“They talk today a big game about supporting women, coming in behind women and promoting women.
“What they really did is shut her down and didn’t allow her to go public and take responsibility.
“That took a few days to work its way through. I think the disappointing thing from where I sit is they had a prime opportunity to actually support a woman in a real life case rather than just words."
Brooke went on to joke that Trent was 'the biggest stiff in the AFL' and would never have suggested the spa visit if he knew it would break the rules.
“The fact that people thought that I did it on purpose … like one, my husband is the biggest stiff in the AFL and he would not have let me go for a facial if I wasn’t allowed,’’ she said.
“And I wouldn’t have posted it on social media if I knew I was doing the wrong thing."
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