Nathan Buckley's revelation about ex-wife after 'traumatic' marriage breakdown

The former Collingwood player and coach has lifted the lid on his personal life.

Nathan and Tania Buckley, pictured here before their split in 2020.
Nathan and Tania Buckley before their split in 2020. Image: Getty

Nathan Buckley has revealed how his split from ex-wife Tania has completely changed him as a person and made him more 'vulnerable' as a result. Buckley and Tania, who were once the glamour couple of the AFL, separated in 2020 after 18 years of marriage.

The former Collingwood coach and player confirmed the news in December that year after they'd been living separately for the majority of 2020. Speaking to Hamish McLachlan in an interview with News Corp over the weekend, Buckley said: “I’ve learnt things about myself in the last five years that I didn’t know. I’ve unpacked a lot.”

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When asked what was the driving force behind the change, the 51-year-old revealed: “The most traumatic thing that’s happened to me recently was my marriage breaking down. The two most important things to me were family and footy. That was pretty much me. And when the family element started breaking down, my immediate family, I leant on football even more than I had before.

“It wasn’t just kicks, marks and handballs – it was the people in the footy club, and I think because they saw me vulnerable and imperfect, I actually think that deepened the connection. They realised that I needed them, potentially for the first time in our respective relationships."

Buckley said he has moved past the hurt of his split with Tania and is happy in his new relationship with Melbourne business manager Brodie Ryan. The Fox Footy commentator implored others to be grateful for the things they cherish most because they won't last forever.

Nathan Buckley and ex-wife Tania, pictured here at the Brownlow Medal in 2019.
Nathan Buckley and ex-wife Tania at the Brownlow Medal in 2019. (Photo by Kelly Defina/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Nathan Buckley's sad split from wife Tania

Nathan and Tania have teenage sons Jett and Ayce together. “It has been a tough and challenging year for every family and for ours included,” a joint statement said at the time of their split. “It is with the utmost love and respect for each other and a true commitment to our sons, that we have made a decision to separate.

“We remain dedicated parents and in the interests of our boys, we ask for our family to be given the privacy that is needed. We thank everyone in advance for understanding our request and for the unconditional love and support we have received throughout our marriage.”

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Nathan and Tania married on New Year’s Eve in 2002, and went on to become the 'it' couple of the AFL throughout the early 2000s. Buckley played 260 games for Collingwood before retiring in 2007, before becoming the Magpies’ senior coach in 2012. He was in charge for a further 218 games before leaving the role in 2021.

Tania paid tribute to her ex-husband after his final game in charge of the Pies. She commented “So Proud” and posted a love heart emoji on a video tribute uploaded to Instagram by the club.

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