'Rock bottom': The heartbreaking year that left Mick Fanning 'totally empty'

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Mick Fanning getting emotional during his interview on 60 Minutes (pictured left) and hugging his fiancee Breeana Randall (pictured right).
Mick Fanning during his interview on 60 Minutes (pictured left) and with his fiancee Breeana Randall (pictured right). (Images: 60 Minutes/Instagram)

Aussie surfing legend and new father Mick Fanning has revealed the toll a horrid 2015 took on the former world champion.

Fanning and his fiance and fiancee Breeana recently welcomed their first child together, but the three-time world champion also spoke to 60 Minutes about the heartache he endured five years ago.

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In 2015, Fanning was devastated after the decade-long relationship with his wife Karissa ended.

Furthermore, Fanning escaped the jaws of a shark - an incident which made worldwide headlines - at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa and tragically his brother died that same year of an enlarged heart.

“For me, 2015 was such a down year,” Fanning told 60 Minutes on Sunday Night.

“I went through a divorce, had the shark incident and then at the end of it all I lost my brother. I was just totally empty at the end of it. I was done.”

After meeting in 2004, Karissa was alongside Fanning for all his world championship triumphs.

But Fanning said, “after giving it our all,” the pair went their separate ways.

World stunned after shark attacks Mick Fanning

But 2015 was about to take another twist for the Aussie when he made worldwide headlines after a blood curdling incident was beamed around the globe.

After surviving the shark attack, Fanning said he wasn’t prepared for the ‘pure mayhem’ of the media after such a shocking incident played out in front of the world.

Fanning returned to the water later that year, but despite claiming he just wanted to ‘get on with his life’, he admitted sharks are still in the back of his mind when he is ‘dangling’ around in the surf.

Fanning reveals the pain of losing his brother

Tragically, Fanning revealed the moment he hit ‘rock bottom’ in 2015 was the death of his brother Pete, 43, who died of an enlarged heart.

Unfortunately, it was the second brother Fanning lost after his brother Sean died in a car crash in 1998.

“That was the one that just floored me. I was like ‘what else? What else can be taken in a year?’ At the end of 2015, I just hit rock bottom,” Fanning told 60 Minutes.

Mick Fanning of Australia prior to his Semifinal heat at the Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach, 2018.
Mick Fanning of Australia prior to his Semifinal heat at the Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach, 2018. (Photo by Ed Sloane/World Surf League via Getty Images)

“I felt like I had nothing to give, nothing to give myself, or to the people around me, or to family or friends. I just didn’t see a way of coming back.

“I’ve never felt that empty before, I just lay in bed, did nothing, wouldn’t leave the house.”

But after retiring from the world tour, Fanning said he found comforted on a surfing trip in Alaska.

Fanning celebrates becoming a father

But fast-forward to 2020, and Fanning and Breeana Randall announced, via Instagram, she had given birth to their first child Xander Dean Fanning on August 10.

Writing a post on behalf of his newborn, Fanning said: “I’m extremely strong, healthy and calm all because of my beautiful Mama Breeana is a full on superhero.

“Mama was so calm, relaxed and in the zone. Dada calls her his Zen Wonder Woman and is so in awe of how strong and amazing she is.

“Dada thought he could focus but he’s got nothing on Mama.

“She rules. Dada loves you beyond words.”

A happy Fanning said becoming a father was “incredible”.