He was once the superstar cricketer who was loved by everyone and had it all – the flashy sport cars, a luxury beachside apartment in Bondi and the stunning model fiancee.
But the last 10 years has been a decade of ups and downs for Michael Clarke, which began with the highly-publicised break-up with fiancee Lara Bingle in early 2010.
Since then, he has struggled with chronic health issues, cancer scares, the tragic death of a close friend and Test teammate while he was the Australian captain, strained relationships with players, forced retirement due to injury while media work has dried up since Channel Nine lost the cricket broadcast rights in 2018.
On Wednesday night, Clarke and his wife Kyly confirmed they have split after seven years of marriage.
Former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke and wife Kyly have announced a shock split
Before marrying Kyly, Michael Clarke with model Lara Bingle (now Wothington) for three years before their well-publicised break-up in 2010
After first meeting at Sydney’s Westfields Sports High School as students in the 1990s, the couple rekindled their relationship within a year of Clarke’s break-up with Bingle (now Worthington), which made headlines.
Clarke and Bingle had been been together since 2007 after he called off his eight-year relationship with teenage sweetheart Erina-Lea Connelly.
In March 2010, Clarke famously left his teammates midway through a New Zealand tour to return to Australia for ‘personal reasons.’
He announced two days later he had split with Bingle.
Their split came just months after a photo of a naked Bingle in the shower taken by one-time lover, AFL star Brendan Fevola was publicly leaked and went viral.
There were then highly-publicised rumours Bingle flushed her $200,000 engagement ring down the toilet in their Bondi beachside pad.
Clarke finally addressed the rumours six years later in a tell-all interview with 60 Minutes, describing them as ‘complete made-up 100 percent bulls**t!’
‘I’d like to say I’m a very silly man. But I’m not that silly. I’m not throwing any diamond ring down a toilet,’ he said in 2016.
‘At the time, he found himself hiding from the media crews parked outside his home.’
‘There were cameras 24/7 so I ended up hiding in the boot of a mate’s car,’ he said.
During the interview, Clarke addressed other controversies that threatened to derail his impressive cricketing career.
Media work has dried up for Michael Clarke (pictured with Shane Warne) in recent times
He recalled how Test teammate Katich ‘grabbed him by the shirt’ during their infamous locker room blow up in 2009.
Then vice-captain Clarke was rushing the team’s victory song so he could visit his model fiancee Bingle.
‘I think a lot of us were getting wound up,’ Clarke said. ‘So I think I had every reason to be p***ed off. But I don’t think my language was appropriate to Kato.’
Clarke also had a strained relationship with then captain Ricky Ponting and later called all-rounder Shane Watson a ‘tumour’ following a bitter spat during the 2013 Ashes tour.
Clarke and Lara Bingle got together in 2007 after he ended his long-time relationship with teenage sweetheart Erina-Lea Connelly (pictured together in 2005)
Clarke was Australian captain and struggling with injury when the tragic death of Phillip Hughes after being hit in the neck by a short-pitched delivery rocked the sporting world in 2014.
Hughes was scheduled to be recalled to the Test side days later.
‘I guess I probably tried to tell myself that there’s a chance he’d be okay,’ Clarke tearfully told 60 Minutes two years later.
‘But I think I knew there wasn’t.’
Within weeks of announcing his wife was expecting their first child, Clarke announced his retirement at the end of the 2015 Ashes series against England.
He had lost all away Ashes series as a player and captain.
Michael and Kyly together after he announced his retirement during the 2015 Ashes
Following retirement, Clarke worked as a commentator with Channel Nine until the network lost the television broadcast rights to Channel Seven and Fox Sports in 2018.
He hadn’t worked in media until he was recently announced as the new Big Sports Breakfast co-host alongside rugby league legend Laurie Daley on Sky Sports Radio.
The pair will go head to head with tough competition, including 2GB’s Alan Jones and KIIS FM’s Kyle and Jackie O.
He had skin cancer removed from his forehead this week, after previously being diagnosed with three non-melanoma lesions.
Clarke was first diagnosed with skin cancer in 2006 and has battle the disease several times since then.
Meanwhile, Clarke and his estranged wife have agreed on a financial settlement and on arrangements to co-parent their four-year-old daughter Kelsey Lee.
In happier times: Michael Clarke and his wife Kyly are pictured on their wedding day in May 2012. They announced their shock marriage split on Wednesday night
‘After living apart for some time, we have made the difficult decision to separate as a couple, amicably,’ they told The Australian in a joint statement.
‘With the greatest of respect for each other, we’ve come to the mutual conclusion that this is the best course for us to take while committed to the co-parenting of our daughter.’
The couple, both 38, married in 2012. Their daughter was born in 2015, months after Clarke announced his retirement.
The shock split comes a year after Kyly insisted the pair were unbreakable.
‘We’re not, never were and never will be splitting,’ Kyly told Daily Mail Australia in January 2019.
The couple (left and right) have said they have already agreed a co-parenting arrangement for their four-year-old daughter Kelsey Lee (centre)
Life and Loves Of Michael Clarke
2003: Cricketer Michael Clarke makes his debut for Australia in a one day international. He wins the Allan Border Medal as the sport’s best player just two years later
2007: Clarke begins a relationship with Lara Bingle after leaving his long-time partner of eight years. The couple are engaged within a year
2009: Clarke was vice captain of the Australian side when he became embroiled in a dressing room altercation with Test teammate Simon Katich
2010: Clarke leaves midway through cricket tour of New Zealand to return home due to personal reasons. His split with Bingle is confirmed two days later.
2012: Clarke marries Kyly Boldy, whom he first met at Westfields Sports High School
2013: Now Test captain, Clarke is embroiled with an ugly spat with Test all-rounder Shane Watson during the 2013 Ashes series, calling him a ‘tumour’
2014: Clarke publicly breaks down while addressing media following tragic death of close friend and Test teammate Phil Hughes
2015: Clarke retires from cricket at the end of the 2015 Ashes series in the UK, which Australia lost
2015: Clarke and his wife Kyly welcome the arrival of daughter Kelsey Lee
2020: The couple announce their separation after seven years of marriage
Michael Clarke drops his four-year-old daughter at daycare as he starts life as a bachelor amid his shock $40MILLION split from wife Kyly – and why he always feared his marriage would end in divorce
By Charlie Moore for Daily Mail Australia
Michael Clarke took his four-year-old daughter Kelsey-Lee to pre-school this morning after announcing his split with wife Kyly.
The former Australia cricket captain, 38, and his wife of seven years reportedly separated in September but kept their $40million break-up secret until announcing it last night.
This morning Clarke left his $12million marital home in the exclusive Sydney suburb of Vaucluse and drove their only child Kelsey-Lee to pre-school as he usually does.
Wearing gym clothes, a cap and no wedding ring, he was seen arriving at the daycare centre and helping Kelsey-Lee out of his four-wheel drive BMW. He carried her pink school bag and held her hand as he dropped her off.
Life goes on: Michael Clarke took his four-year-old daughter Kelsey to pre-school on Thursday morning after announcing his separation from his wife Kyly. Pictured: Clarke arrives at pre-school with Kelsey-Lee
There was no sign of Mrs Clarke, 38, who last night shared the first snaps of herself without her wedding ring as she worked out in the gym.
Clarke, who married the former model in 2012 after splitting with his fiance Laura Bingle in 2010, told fans in his 2016 autobiography that he always feared getting divorced.
He told how his parents Les and Debbie broke up after 25 years and this made him doubt whether he could ever hold down a relationship.
‘Their break-up affected me to the core,’ Clarke wrote. ‘When I split up with my then fiancee 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?
‘I don’t even want to start a serious relationship if it’s going to end in a separation. Mum and Dad are my heroes, and their marriage has always been a kind of gold standard for [my sister] Leanne and me.
‘I can’t imagine myself measuring up to my parents’ partnership. How can I do it, if they can’t? It takes me a long time to get over that fear.’
Daddy duties: On Thursday morning Clarke left his $12million marital home in the exclusive Sydney suburb of Vaucluse and drove Kelsey to pre-school as he usually does. Pictured: Clarke arrives at pre-school with Kelsey-Lee
Clarke and Kyly (née Boldy) went to Westfields Sports High School in Fairfield together but were not friends until they connected on Twitter after his split with Miss Bingle.
He said they spoke about his fear of divorce during the early stages of their romance.
‘When Kyly Boldy and I start dating, I open up with her about it. There is a strength of love between us that helps me get over my self-doubt,’ he wrote in the book called My Story.
The couple announced their split, estimated to be worth $40million, in a statement to The Australian newspaper on Wednesday.
Loving father: Wearing gym clothes, a cap and no wedding ring, Clarke was seen arriving at the daycare centre and helping Kelsey out of his four-wheel drive BMW. He carried her pink school bag and held her hand as he dropped her off
The high-school sweethearts said the ‘amicable’ decision was ‘the best course’ for their daughter.
The news has shocked the nation after Mrs Clarke told Daily Mail Australia in January 2019: ‘We’re not, never were and never will be splitting.’
According to the Australian, the couple separated five months ago when Clarke moved into his $8million investment property on Bondi Beach.
However, until last night, Mrs Clarke has continued to wear her wedding ring and pose for happy family photos in an effort to keep up appearances.
As recently as two days ago, she flaunted the sparkler in a photoshoot shared to her Instagram page.
Working out: Kyly Clarke, 38, last night shared the first snaps (above) of herself without her wedding ring as she worked out in the gym