There was an air of familiarity when the news broke on Wednesday night that Michael Clarke was heading for a shock divorce with his wife, Kyly. Another decade, another high-profile, public split. In 2010, after a two-year engagement, Clarke’s relationship with model Lara Worthington (nee Bingle) came to an end. And now, 10 years later, so too has his marriage of seven years.
The Clarkes issued a joint statement to The Australian that announced they had been living apart for some time — reportedly five months — and they had come to the “mutual conclusion” to split.
The pair reportedly reached a settlement worth $40 million, while 38-year-old Kyly will continue to live in their Vaucluse property with four-year-old daughter Kelsey Lee. And so it’s once again back to the drawing board for the former Australian captain who has proven to be unlucky in love.
Relationship turmoil seemingly has a way of finding the 38-year-old who wrote in his 2016 autobiography, My Story, about the commitment issues he suffered after witnessing his parents’ divorce.
“Their break-up affected me to the core,” Clarke wrote about his parents Les and Debbie. “When I split up with my then fiance Lara Bingle in 2010, part of the undercurrent in my thinking is that if a couple like Mum and Dad can’t make it, what hope have I got?” His split with Worthington was much-publicised with rumours circulating that her $200,000, five-carat engagement ring was flushed down the toilet of their Bondi property. Clarke denies those claims.
Having defeated South Africa at the SCG, Clarke was accused of rushing team celebrations so he could leave early to visit Worthington.
Katich reportedly wanted to savour the victory and refused to cave into Clarke’s request to sing the team song early; a fiery disagreement which led to him grabbing the former captain by the throat.
The following year, Clarke made the decision to fly home from a tour of New Zealand for “personal reasons”, as an old photo of Worthington in the shower surfaced in the media.
Soon after, the pair split which led to a media circus that saw Clarke being forced to leave his own home in the boot of his friend’s car.
“That was heavy. That was cameras 24/7,” he told 60 Minutes at the time. “That wasn’t my dream, I didn’t know that came with playing cricket for Australia.”
Prior to his relationship with Worthington, Clarke in 2007 attempted to reconnect with wife Kyly who he went to high school with in Sydney’s west.
Writing about a chance encounter with her in his autobiography, the 115-Test veteran said: “In 2007, before I began dating Lara, I introduced myself to Kyly at a bar in Cronulla. We reconnected over a drink, and as we left, I sent my best mate Steve Phillips to ask for her number.
“She declined, saying I could come and ask myself. Now I was so embarrassed, I decided to leave it to chance, hoping we would bump into each other at another stage.”
The pair did eventually start chatting over Twitter following Clarke’s split from Worthington.
“By that stage I was going through a rough time, and Kyly’s warmth and compassion touched me,” Clarke wrote in his autobiography.
“She had been brought up in a very close and loving family, and encouraged me to let my vulnerability show rather than seeking ways to cover it up.”
Given the nature of his previous relationship, Clarke’s new one with Kyly naturally attracted the spotlight. But the pair happily leaned into it, flaunting their relationship at events together while Kyly was a staple in the stands when Clarke was playing.
The pair continued to live public lives past his retirement in 2015 but began to withdraw in recent years as Clarke reduced his media commitments. He increasingly turned away from the spotlight that followed him and Bingle and led to the intense media scrutiny in the final days of their relationship.
In the end, the Clarkes became so private that the status of their relationship went unnoticed by the public for months. But heartbreak still found Clarke, even away from the public eye.
The Australian reports the pair remain on good terms and continue to go to the gym together in Rose Bay.
Meanwhile, Worthington is married to Avatar star, Sam, with whom she shares two children.