It’s the sort of scandal that is so quintessentially Sydney: the powerful radio and sports broadcaster nursing a broken heart, his estranged wife and her new boyfriend, the former football star turned NRL coach.
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Ray Hadley on his marriage break-down
In his Friday morning program, Ray Hadley tells listeners that he faces "exactly the same problems, off-air, as you do every day."
Former greyhound race caller turned talkback powerhouse Ray Hadley has flatly refused to comment on the breakdown of his marriage with his second wife, Suzanne, despite it being the talk of Sydney’s rugby league circles.
Suzanne has now embarked on a new relationship with Canberra Raiders assistant coach Matt Parish, who is also assistant coach for the NSW team in the upcoming State of Origin. To say the situation has created a political minefield around the corridors of the NRL would be putting it mildly.
NSW coach Laurie Daley yesterday confirmed Hadley had applied undue pressure on him to have Parish sacked, having lobbied various NRL figures for weeks since Parish and Suzanne began their relationship.
"It is only a new relationship and it is going well so far, but the problem they face is Ray," a source close to the situation told PS.
This morning Hadley was reported in News Corp as saying: "This is a very difficult situation for me and my children and all I did was ask someone to pull his coat with relation to my wife and to be a bit more dignified in his actions."
On his 2GB morning show on Friday, Hadley told listeners that all he was trying to do was to "get some dignity from a very undignified situation".
Hadley on Friday morning conceded that his private life was public, and for the first time provided an insight into the toll the break-down of his marriage had taken on him.
"I've never be one to be overwhelmed by things, but this year has provided me with no doubt my biggest personal challenge," he said.
"At times I've felt like staying in bed and not coming here [to 2GB]. Some mates have suggested, 'Maybe, son, you'd better talk to someone, you might need some help'."
Last month, The Australian Financial Review’s Rear Window column ran an item about Hadley raising eyebrows by calling Manly’s home NRL game against Canberra for 2GB from his Sydney studio rather than from Brookvale Oval, noting that the Raiders coaches’ box is positioned right next door to the commentary box.
In a matter of days, Parish and Hadley will be in extremely close proximity when the first match of the State of Origin gets under way.
Parish declined to comment when PS approached him this week.
When PS approached Hadley to gauge his side of the story, he bluntly responded with: "My private life is my private life" but then confirmed his troubled marriage had finally come to an end by adding: "My former wife and I have asked for our privacy to be respected."
When PS asked about claims, raised on Monday night’s Media Watch program on the ABC, that he had influenced his close associate, The Daily Telegraph’s editor Paul Whittaker, to pull a story about his marriage breakdown and Parish, Hadley declined to elaborate on the specifics, offering only: "Obviously you have a private life and I don’t discuss your private life either on my program or away from my program. I’ll be making no comment."
It is understood PS's inquiries sparked today's reports, ran on The Daily Telegraph's front page, which had been sitting on the story for at least a fortnight.
Hadley and his now estranged wife certainly did talk about their private life when the cameras were rolling for Australian Story, aired just one year ago.
The couple, married for 20 years, first announced they were separating in February 2011, but reconciled a short time later.
Suzanne Hadley told Australian Story: "He got angry because, probably, of his workload and probably because he wanted everything to be perfect. But he got angry about something and I just, just couldn’t, I just couldn’t deal with it any more. So I left and moved somewhere else with the children."
In February this year, the Herald broke the story about the broadcaster’s wife applying for an apprehended violence order against Hadley and his son, a policeman named Daniel, only to withdraw the application the next day.
At the time the Herald reported: "Only the barest details are known about what sparked Suzanne Hadley to walk into Hornsby police station on Thursday afternoon asking to speak with an officer.
That night, her husband, who had spent Wednesday night sleeping on a couch in his radio station’s Pyrmont office, took the highly unusual step of calling in sick for work on Friday.
An internal email was sent to 2GB staff at 7.30pm on Thursday saying: "Ray is unwell. Luke Grant will host mornings tomorrow."
About the same time colleagues had reportedly seen Hadley sleeping on a black sofa in his office.
with Megan Levy