Model Annalise Braakensiek took her life last week
Model Annalise Braakensiek was mourning the two men she loved most when she took her own life last week, friends have said.
The 46-year-old Bondi icon had split with her stockbroker husband Danny Goldberg in April 2018, and had only just moved into her new apartment in Potts Point when friends reportedly found her dead from an overdose, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Her shock split from her husband of 16 years left her reeling, friends said, and she had struggled to leave Bondi.
Photo agency executive Kasey Drayton said Braakensiek had dreamed of marrying Mr Goldberg since the pair met.
‘She absolutely adored him and losing him – it broke her,’ she said.
Ms Drayton said no matter what she was facing, Braakensiek was always able to find a silver lining, or a positive spin, so she was ‘truly just shocked’ to hear of the model’s death.
‘To me there weren’t any red flags really. She had some issues but overall she seemed like moving forward,’ she said.
While Braakensiek was left devastated by the breakdown of her marriage, friends say she was also grieving for a man she had lost more than a decade before.
The 46-year-old had struggled previously with mental illness, and friends say she was grieving the end of her marriage and her father
At the age of 19, the model and presenter finally amassed enough information to find her father, yachtsman Odd Karlsen.
Braakensiek only met her father in 1993, but the pair were fast friends. Odd Karsen (pictured) died in 2004, leaving the model heartbroken
She had not known much of Norwegian man growing up, but quickly set to work trying to find him.
A chance meeting in San Francisco International Airport in 1992, where Braakensiek was working as a waitress, led her to a man who knew Mr Karlsen, and the father and daughter finally met at a regatta in 1993.
Those close to Braakensiek and Mr Karlsen say they connected instantly, with the pair sharing not only their good looks, but also their natural charisma.
A friend told the Telegraph meeting her father felt like ‘the final puzzle piece’ to Braakensiek.
When Mr Karlsen died after a long battle with cancer in 2004, aged just 68, Braakensiek was crushed.
‘They were similar in a lot of ways and kind of both had these extraordinary lives. But he passed away less than 10 years later and she was devastated. She adored him,’ one friend told the Telegraph.
Not much is known about Braakensiek’s final movements. Friends had gone to check on her in her new apartment after not hearing from her for a few days when they found her dead.
Neighbours and local businesses all said they had never seen the woman, who had lived in the unit for at least three months.
One woman, who works in a cafe across the street from the home, said she knew everyone who came by, but didn’t know the model at all.
When asked by Daily Mail Australia, many neighbours said they had heard the news, but were shocked to learn Braakensiek lived in their building.
Close friend Gina Byrnes said in a tribute to her friend, shared to social media, that the model had felt ‘abandoned’ and ‘misunderstood’.
Braakensiek had kept very much to herself in the past few months, and friends went to check on her when they had not heard from her in ‘days’
‘You were a work of art and yes not everyone understood you but those who did will never forget you,’ she wrote.
‘You stayed committed to being adventurous joyful authentic creative genuine inclusive compassionate forgiving and open minded. You loved passionately, fiercely and without conditions.
‘We laughed and cried together sharing each others pain and happiness . Baby I know you felt so abandoned and miss understood by some people but you were loved globally sweetheart.
‘Your presence and unselfish creative soul touched so many peoples hearts.’
Braakensiek was a fierce ambassador for R U OK, a suicide prevention charity, and had been vocal about her own struggles with mental illness.
She said when she was first ‘immobilised’ by depression, she felt she had little support, as friends struggled to find the words to reach out to her.
‘Very few people asked me ‘was I OK?’ And when I did say [I wasn’t], they ran,’ she told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2017.
‘I was so shocked by the reaction of so-called friends – the aggression, the lack of support. That’s when I really realised the negative stigma with mental illness is rampant. People have that real “what have you got to be depressed about?”‘
Neighbours were unaware she even lived in the building of her new Potts Point apartment (pictured)
She said many people didn’t understand how her successful, high-profile life didn’t shield her from her inner demons.
‘Suicide and feeling you’re on the edge; success doesn’t come into it.’
After becoming an ambassador for R U OK?, Braakensiek continued to speak out about mental health, often opening up on Instagram about her own struggles.
She detailed in one of her last posts how: ‘life’s challenges have been deep, dark, difficult, demanding and down right scary lately’.
Braakensiek split from stockbroker husband Danny Goldberg in April 2018, and left Bondi, where they both lived, at least three months ago
‘Everything seems to feel twisted and upside down at the moment… am I right?’ she posted to her almost 40,000 followers in mid-December.
Ms Braakensiek also gave ‘thanks to all of you who have carried me though this turbulent year’, adding ‘time to breathe in the new beginnings and let go of the old… bring on 2019 already I say’.
In another post weeks earlier, she said: ‘Isn’t it incredible how life has such variable highs and lows, and insane contrasts?’.
R U OK? chief executive Brendan Maher said the organisation was ‘devastated’ to hear of Braakensiek’s death, noting the woman was ‘much loved and respected’.
‘We are still processing the news we have heard today. Annalise has been a huge voice for suicide prevention in Australia,’ he said in a statement.
‘Nothing we have ever asked of Annalise was too much, she has stepped up time and time again to share our message, even when she was going through her own tough times.
‘We couldn’t have asked for a more genuine, kind and sincere spokesperson.’