Wally Lewis announces new romance after split with wife of 36 years

Wally Lewis and wife Jacqui, pictured here at the 2016 Dally M Awards.
Wally Lewis and wife Jacqui at the 2016 Dally M Awards. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Rugby league legend Wally Lewis has announced the end of his 36-year marriage with wife Jacqui, saying he’s moved on with a new relationship.

The Queensland legend announced the shock split in a statement to Channel Nine, released on Monday night.

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“Wally and Jacqui Lewis separated last year after 36 years of marriage,” the statement read.

“It has been a difficult time for everyone in the family and they are still working through the details of the separation.”

The 61-year-old admitted the split has taken a heavy toll on his family.

Wally Lewis, pictured here with son Lincoln during the State of Origin series in 2011.
Wally Lewis with son Lincoln during the State of Origin series in 2011. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Wally and Jacqui share three children together - Mitchell, Lincoln and Jamie-Lee.

“This is a deeply personal matter that we do not want to discuss publicly, but I want to acknowledge the pain and upset my family has gone through since Jacqui and I separated last year,” Lewis said.

“I hope over time we can rebuild our ties and move on with life.”

Lewis also announced that he is now in a new relationship.

“I will confirm I am now in another relationship and only ask for the media to respect our privacy,” he added.

Jacqui helped Lewis through epilepsy battle

Last year Lewis opened up in his autobiography about how Jacqui had helped him through his devastating epilepsy diagnosis.

After keeping the condition a secret from 1987 to 2006, Lewis was forced to undergo brain surgery in 2007 after collapsing while on air with Nine News.

The rugby league legend said he and Jacqui weren’t prepared for the depression that would follow.

“I had suicidal thoughts and found myself crying uncontrollably, for no reason,” he wrote in ‘My Life’.

“Another time I walked down to the pontoon on the canal at the back of the house and considered jumping in.

“The thought was actually there that day … (Jacqui) never left me alone after that.”

Lewis played 301 games throughout his career in the Queensland Rugby League and Australian Rugby League (ARL).

He represented Queensland 36 times in State of Origin and played 34 Test matches for Australia.

Lewis captained Queensland 30 times at Origin level and won a record eight man of the match awards.

He was inducted into the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame in 1999 and was announced as the sixth member of rugby league’s famed ‘Immortals’ club.

Since retirement the 61-year-old has forged a successful career in the media with Channel Seven and Channel Nine.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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