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Fri Aug 26 07:06:45 SAST 2016

Divorce by SMS: How Graeme Smith lied to his wife

GABI MBELE | 08 March, 2015 08:46
Morgan Deane and Graeme Smith

Friends reveal shocking details of Graeme Smith’s secret plans to end his marriage.

Shocking details about the break-up of cricketer Graeme Smith's marriage emerged this week as close friends of his wife, Morgan Deane, lashed out at the former Proteas captain.

Among the revelations are that his plan to divorce her was only confirmed when he mistakenly sent her an SMS that was meant for his lawyers.

Friends said the sports star had "abandoned" his family in favour of spending time with his mates at the Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

"He is only interested in going out with his friends and partying. He is obsessed with the limelight and would go to the opening of an envelope. He finds her boring and thinks she is a nag when she asks him to spend time with his family."

Friends revealed that Deane had been devastated about the way Smith had handled the impending divorce.

They said the Irish beauty had been under the impression that Smith wanted to patch things up and attend counselling with her.

But then she mistakenly received the SMS - which came only minutes after he had assured her that divorce was not on the cards.

"She does everything for her children not to see her cry, but she just can't believe how he has treated her. He has watched her go through this alone.

"The man has completely isolated her. Her whole life was his life, his friends were her friends, and she has just been left on her own with the kids. She has become reclusive in their Claremont home - only going to gym and to take the kids out."

Counselling

A friend said Deane went to visit her mother in Ireland in December after Smith suddenly stopped speaking to her and coming home.

When she returned to Cape Town in January "she was told to go to a counselling session, but when she arrived, Graeme wasn't there", the friend said.

"Instead the guy told her Graeme was divorcing her. He gave her a piece of paper with the name and number of a lawyer he said she [should] use.

"Morgan was distraught. She could not believe that he had not told her. She went home and was bathing the kids when Graeme walked in. She confronted him about it and he denied it all and turned the whole thing around on her.

"He denied he had seen a lawyer, but said that seeing as she had one, he was going to get one too.

"She told me she walked out the room and a few minutes later her phone beeped and the text was from him. It was a message to the lawyer that he had hired for her, asking why Morgan had been informed, because he [Smith] wanted to tell her himself."

The couple's whirlwind romance in 2011 touched the hearts of their fans across the globe. He was an international sporting icon and she a glamorous Irish pop singer. Their relationship quickly blossomed and Deane abandoned her career with her group, Industry, to move to South Africa with him.

The two were married at St Bernard church in Claremont, Cape Town, and had their reception at Suikerbossie near Llandudno.

On July 25 2012 Deane gave birth to their daughter, Cadence, and a year later the couple had a son, Carter. But the fairytale marriage began to take strain. Deane ballooned to 84kg and stayed out of the limelight while Smith travelled the world with the Proteas.

"She is the one who has been raising those children for the past two years. He has had a million jobs. She is a stay-at-home mother. From Monday to Friday she doesn't even leave the house. She doesn't go anywhere, she doesn't have a fancy lifestyle, she doesn't go to social events. She is not the person some media are trying to portray her as."

The friend said Smith's sudden insistence on divorce had made her question if there was another woman in her husband's life.

"She has been thinking about this, because the divorce came so quickly. She doesn't know for sure if there is another woman, but if there is, she will have a lot to say to her."

The friend said Smith was not a family man.

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"He has not made himself available to Morgan. He slotted them in when he could, but he was busy with his own things from the moment he woke up to the moment he went to bed. He could never come down from the hype. He wanted the hype. If he wasn't on TV doing the commentating, he had to be with the boys where they were all bigging him up, drinking and making him feel good. It was a joke.

"He told Morgan he wanted a family life, but he just couldn't do it. He spent so long being the king that family life bored him. Morgan was constantly fighting with an ego that wanted to be out there."

In March last year, the former Proteas captain announced his retirement from cricket "to have more time to see my children grow", a decision he made after his daughter suffered burns in an accident with boiling water.

However, the friend said that after his retirement, he tried to replace his cricketing mates with a new bunch of friends.

"He wanted to be in an environment with a group of men all the time. He would never just stay at home with Morgan and the kids because that was too boring for him. He needed to constantly be in contact with at least five or six men, at the pub. It put a massive strain on the family."

The friend said that when Deane had tried to make a new life for herself and entered the South African Idols, Smith had been indifferent.

"He didn't even watch her on the show, it was nothing to him. He didn't care, he was too busy doing his own thing."

Irreconcilable Differences

graeme.JPG 

Smith, who had been away in Australia leading a party of South Africans attending the Cricket World Cup since the couple released a statement on February 17 saying they were divorcing, has returned to Cape Town.

Asked for further comment about the split, his agent, Kirsti Lyall, sent a joint statement from the couple emphasising that "our marriage has broken down purely due to irreconcilable differences. We understand that there will be speculation as regards the breakdown of our marriage ... [and] would once again request that our privacy is respected during this difficult time. As parents we continue to have the deepest respect for each other and our ongoing priority remains the security, happiness and best interests of our children."

Smith has appointed international sports lawyer David Becker to handle his divorce.

Becker headed the International Cricket Council's legal department from 2007 to 2012 and counts eminent South African sportsmen among his clients.

He declined to comment on reasons for the divorce.

"I can confirm that the couple is divorcing," said Becker.

"I don't want to comment any further and have my words twisted. But I am appealing for privacy for the sake of the couple and the children."

Two restaurants in the upmarket suburb of Newlands confirmed that Smith frequented them on a regular basis - always with fellow sportsmen and never with his wife and two small children.

An employee at Bihari restaurant in the area said restaurant staff had not seen Smith together with Deane since she "once left in a huff". Smith had recently been seen only with his friends, said the employee. - Additional reporting by Philani Nombembe

mbeleg@sundaytimes.co.za

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