Triple M radio host Ali Plath has paid a heartbreaking tribute to late NRL icon Paul Green, revealing the former coach and player was her 'first love'.
Green was found unresponsive at his Brisbane home last week, with police revealing there were no suspicious circumstances in his death at 49.
Speaking on 92.5 Triple M Breakfast on the Gold Coast on Saturday, Plath broke down in tears after revealing that Green was her high school sweetheart.
“My heart is breaking today for his wife Amanda and his beautiful kids and obviously his parents, and his four siblings,” she said.
“Paul and I went to high school together, he was my first love. You only get one first love."
Plath revealed how she and Green rekindled their romance later in life, but things didn't work out.
“We were together when I was in Year 12 for a year and then we split up. I had kids with (former partner) Mark and when that didn’t work out, Paul and I got back together," she said.
“We then did nine years of on-off, long-distance, de facto … I guess we were that couple that I think our family and friends were so much happier than we were when we finally split up.
“Paul was a wonderful step-dad to my two older kids Jesse and Jake when we all lived in Sydney together when I finally had the courage to move them.
“For him to swallow his pride and I guess take my kids under his wing, I really didn’t appreciate how big that was at the time. It’s a big responsibility taking on someone else’s family.
“Paul was extremely loyal, he was highly intelligent - even though I used to tell him I was smarter than him. When I was in Year 12, he was two years older than me, and he was getting up me for not doing my schoolwork.
“He just had such a great sense of fun as well as being so capable. If Paul said to you, ‘I’m going to be a pilot’, (you knew) he was going to be a pilot. And he did – he was a commercial pilot.
“My mum let him take me to Hervey Bay in this mosquito aeroplane when he was doing his training. That’s how capable Paul was. You trusted him, you knew he could do it, I never doubted him.
“He was just one of those people who you knew you could rely on. (As an NRL player), he was one of those players you could count on and he would give his all.
“I can’t believe that he’s done this, I can’t believe this has happened.
“That’s not Paul. I’m actually in complete and utter shock. I only spoke to him a couple of months ago. It’s horrendous.”
Paul Green's family left shattered by tragic death
Green’s brother Rick told The Courier Mail on Sunday that the family are still trying to come to terms with the tragedy.
“Everyone is feeling overwhelmed,” he said.
“There’s certainly a lot of stories that we’re sharing about our times with Paul but as we reflect on those good times, there’s a great sadness at his passing.
“It’s still very raw and difficult to process.”
The family had earlier released a statement saying: “Today we are devastated.
“We have lost a devoted husband, loving father and wonderful brother and son. We cannot find the words that would come close to expressing our feeling, however we would like to extend our thanks to those who have reached out to us with their love and support.
“Paul was loved by so many and we know that this news will generate immense interest, however at this time we ask for privacy.
“Our family is still trying to understand this tragedy and we request space and time as we come to terms with this loss. Thank you.”
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