Grant Hackett and Candice Alley's recent split after five years of marriage was a long time coming, sources close to the estranged couple have revealed to the Gold Coast Bulletin on May 4.
Sources close to Hackett said the split followed years of marital trouble, with the former swimming champion turning to alcohol as an "escape" to deal with the stress.
"When the couple have a blow-up, he's been known to have a big drink," a friend of the pair told the Herald Sun.Hackett's commitment to the marriage began to unravel after years of living in resentment, according to reports, citing recent alcohol-fuelled incidents from the Channel 9 sports presenter as contributing factors in the breakdown of the marriage, with Hackett moving out of the couple's penthouse apartment in Freshwater Tower three weeks ago.
Living in the same Southbank apartment as his parents-in-law and conflicting personal ambitions were said to be a constant cause of friction for the bickering couple.
"Candice and I have separated," Hackett said in a statement announcing the split on May 3 before heading to the Gold Coast to be with friends and family.
"I want to be dignified in my approach to everything and ensure the children's needs are paramount and put first.
"I wish Candice every success. It is my hope that everybody can respect the process and be kind to all parties involved as it is a very difficult time."
Alley and the Westpac and Telstra ambassador wed in 2007 and have two children together, twins Charlize and Jagger, who have been living with their mother since the separation.
On May 3, Alley issued a statement also confirming the split, after stepping outside without her wedding ring on to go shopping with her two-year-old daughter Charlize.
"I am disappointed to learn that rumours have been circulating. I will not be making any further comment. I trust that the media will respect our privacy during what is a very stressful time," she said.
Hackett has told close friends an incident at last month's Logies awards in which Hackett was asked to "call it a night by bouncers" was not the final straw in the couple's marriage.
"It hasn't been right since then but even before that, things were on the rocks," a close friend said yesterday.
The split comes six months after a drunk Hackett allegedly smashed a grand piano at the couple's multimillion-dollar apartment. At the time of the incident, police were called to the couple's penthouse to attend a domestic dispute, amid reports the apartment was in disarray on the night of Derby Day.
It is believed problems began early on, when the couple moved to Melbourne from the beach-loving swimming champion's home on the Gold Coast.
An early pregnancy with twins had Hackett give up his much-loved Ferrari, which had been a reward to himself after years of training. "It's been my lifelong ambition to own a Ferrari and this is the one time I can do it while there's just the two of us," he said before Alley fell pregnant. Forced to sell the $380,000 car, "it was a dream I lived for six months, but the focus is now on getting prepared in anticipation to be parents," he said at the time.
"He just wants closure and there are no other parties involved," a source said. "This has been an extremely tough time for them both but for it to be made public is actually a relief for him."
Hackett will fulfil his commentary role with Channel 9 at the London Olympics, where he will be covering the swimming events for the network. A Nine spokesman said Hackett remained a valued member of the network's London 2012 Olympic Games swimming commentary team.
Yesterday family and friends stood by Hackett's decision to keep quiet following the breakup and refused to comment, with other members of the swimming fraternity staying tight-lipped about the situation, with many admitting they were shocked to hear the news.
When contacted many had no idea the pair was in trouble, with one friend suggesting Hackett and Alley had got themselves back on track following the Derby Day disturbance last year.
Meanwhile Westpac, for whom Hackett is an ambassador and also head of sports and entertainment, said the split was really unfortunate but dismissed rumours it wanted to distance itself from the swim star following his performance at the Logies after-party.
"We saw all that (the Channel 9 video) but it doesn't look like from what people are saying it was any outrageous behaviour," a spokesman told the Gold Coast Bulletin.