Danielle Hardwicke has released a sad statement about her ex-husband Damien’s sudden decision to step down as Richmond coach after she was notably absent from announcing his emotional resignation on Tuesday.
The kids he shared with the former Tigers boss were sitting front row with his new love, former Richmond employee Alexandra Crowe, who was seen beaming with him as he thanked her and his ex and his family.
“It’s a tough 48 hours,” Danielle told the Herald Sun.
A lifetime is dedicated to D. [Damien] and football. It wasn’t supposed to end this way.
Hardwick made a special mention of his family as he struggled to hold back tears on Tuesday.
Danielle Hardwicke (pictured with Damien at the Brownlow Medal ceremony) has released a sad statement regarding her sudden decision to leave the club with whom she won the Three Flags
While she was notably absent from Hardwicke’s resignation announcement on Tuesday, his new flame Alexandra Crew (right, in a green jacket) was smiling at him from the front row, along with the kids Danielle shares.
“To Danielle and the children, I am forever grateful for what you have given me, and the support you have given me,” he said.
“And Alex, thanks for the new ride, and obviously your support over the past couple of months has been phenomenal.”
Hardwicke reportedly met Ms. Crowe while working with the Commercial Sales team in Richmond in 2020.
They officially became a couple when Danielle Hardwicke, his wife of 25 years and mother of his children, left in December of that year.
Crowe and the former coach were seen together for the first time in January 2021.
The seriousness of the former Tigers coach’s relationship with Crow was confirmed when they bought a $2.3 million terrace home in the inner Melbourne suburb of Elwood in June 2021.
Danielle said she and her children had to deal with a “serious grieving process” when her 25-year relationship with Damian ended.
His split from Danielle reportedly caused tension at the club, where she was held in high esteem.
Once Hardwicke and Danielle’s separation became official, she took aim at her ex, calling him “selfish”.
“It’s an old school environment, and there’s no way around it,” she said.
Everyone is trying to evolve and that’s great, but it’s so male-dominated and a footballer’s life and a coach’s life, for want of a better word, can become a very selfish existence.
“Because it’s a demanding role and you monitor the well-being of so many young people, so you feel very important.”
She also chose to keep her surname before revealing the impact of the breakup on their children.
“I’m Mrs. Hardwicke now, not Mrs. Hardwicke anymore,” she said, explaining that the surname was her identity and she wanted to keep it to turn a negative into a positive.
I do my best to remain respectful so how I feel there is still a lot of mixed feelings for sure. There has been a serious grieving process for myself and my two wonderful older children and the grief is real.
“I think when you’re planning a life with your best friend, your partner with whom you’ve spent your life as an adult… there’s a definite loss when that doesn’t exist anymore. So I’m on my way to being, well, well, sure.”
“There are certainly all the raw emotions that come with this situation, but we all have a choice about how we respond to it and I wanted to respond with the dignity and respect of my children.”
Hardwicke couldn’t contain his emotions as he thanked his family and Crowe for confronting the media for the first time since his decision to quit became public.
The former Essendon and Port Power player’s relationship with Crewe was confirmed to be serious in June 2021, when they paid $2.3m for a terrace house in the inner Melbourne suburb of Ellwood.
They’ve started renovating the property and even started an Instagram page to keep their followers updated on how the transformation is going.
The short term plan is to give it a neat look inside and out and take advantage of its flexibility. A long-term plan… to turn her back on one, honoring her heritage and indigenous features while crafting her modernity,” they wrote.
In February of last year, Hardwicke opened up about the 12 months he’d just been through.
“My personal life is my personal life and that was a challenge to deal with, not so much for me but for Danielle and the kids,” he said.
“It was a challenge at times but you just try to ride the punches as best you can.”