James Packer’s mother has flown out of Australia to be with her son, less than 24 hours after his ‘mental health issues’ were revealed and he sensationally quit as director of his gaming empire, Crown Resorts.
Roslyn Packer, 80, cut a frail figure as she was wheeled through Sydney Airport on a mobility chair after arriving with her daughter Gretel on Thursday morning.
Clutching a brown Louis Vuitton handbag, the wife of late media mogul Kerry refused to speak with media as airport staff pushed her wheelchair through the international terminal.
James Packer’s mother Roslyn has flown out of Australia to be with her son, less than 24 hours after his ‘mental health issues’ were revealed
Ms Packer is seen adjusting a shoe as she arrives at Sydney Airport ahead of her flight to Los Angeles on Thursday morning
The 80-year-old is pictured arriving at the Airport’s international terminal to a waiting wheelchair provided by Qantas
Roslyn Packer boarded a flight to see her son after he sensationally quit as director of his gaming empire, Crown Resorts
She boarded an 11am flight bound for Los Angeles, where her troubled son has been living during a turbulent period that included splitting from Mariah Carey, his exit from Hollywood film production company RatPac and the arrest of Crown employees in China.
Ms Packer was dropped off by her daughter who has reportedly not seen her younger brother since they settled their father’s $1.25 billion will two years ago. Mr Packer has admitted conversations between the pair were at times not pleasant.
The mogul dropped a bombshell on Wednesday when he announced he had resigned from the board of casino operator Crown Resorts, citing ‘mental health issues’.
The 50-year-old, who is one of Australia’s richest people with a personal fortune estimated at $3.9 billion, will ‘step back from all commitments’ indefinitely.
‘Mr Packer is suffering from mental health issues. At this time he intends to step back from all commitments,’ a Packer spokesman said.
Ms Packer’s troubled son has been living in the United States where his children Indigo, Jackson and Emmanuelle and ex-wife Erica also live
Ms Packer boarded an 11am flight bound for Los Angeles, where her troubled son has been living during a turbulent period
Her son dropped a bombshell on Wednesday when he announced he had resigned from the board the casino operator Crown, citing ‘mental health issues’
The 80-year-old is seen speaking with a dark-haired woman as she waits to board her flight to Los Angeles on Thursday
Crown’s executive chairman John Alexander added: ‘We have appreciated James’ contribution to the board and respect his decision to step down from his role as a director at this time.’
No further details were given by the company, although Mr Packer has previously spoken about his battles with depression and how movie star Tom Cruise helped him cope.
In a 2013 interview he detailed how Cruise help him through a tough period when he was ‘depressed and emotionally exhausted’ over the collapse of his first marriage to bikini model Jodhi Meares.
Mr Packer flirted with the Church of Scientology around the same time, but has since distanced himself from the group.
Mariah Carey and James Packer attending an awards night at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York before their split in 2016
Ms Packer placed her left hand on her chest as she was wheeled by a Qantas staff member towards her departure gate
She passed a small package containing fruit to a companion as she was dropped off at Sydney Airport by her daughter, Gretel
Recent years have not been smooth sailing for either Crown or its high-profile director, who has three children and two ex-wives.
His high-profile engagement and subsequent split from American diva Mariah Carey in 2016 kept him in the public eye, a place he has admitted to finding uncomfortable.
Packer first left Crown’s board in 2015, the year he was briefly engaged to singer Carey, and rejoined 14 months ago while the company was in crisis following the arrest of staff for breaches of gambling marketing laws in China.
The arrests prompted the Melbourne-based, Aus $8.9billion firm to reverse a decade-old global expansion into the Asian gambling hub Macau and Las Vegas, to focus on Australia. Packer declared the company’s global strategy a failure.
He began selling assets to pay off his debts, including stakes in Macau-based Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd and Hollywood film company RatPac Entertainment.
He told The Australian newspaper in October ‘it has been a tumultuous four or five years for me’.
‘I’ve got China falling apart, the Australian casino businesses missing budgets by big amounts, I’ve got Mariah breaking up with me, ‘ he was quoted as saying.
In February, he was named by Israeli police as a witness in a bribery investigation against Benjamin Netanyahu, having lavished the Israeli prime minister and his family with expensive gifts. The Australian is not accused of criminal conduct.
Former model, clothing designer and Packer’s first wife Jodhi Meares (pictured) is still close to the mogul
James Packer’s engagement to singer Mariah Carey (both pictured in Los Angeles in May 2016) did not see out a year
James Packer (left) with his late father Kerry at a company general meeting in Sydney in 2005
Packer forged Crown by selling his father’s media empire to private equity firms a decade ago and buying casino interests from Vegas to Macau.
His personal stake in Crown, which once topped 50 per cent, made Packer responsible for decisions that have crimped the company’s growth prospects.
‘Packer is the company,’ said a former Melco executive who did not want to be named due to the sensitivity of the situation.
Crown sold its third-stake in Macau-based Melco for $1.16 billion in May last year, just as it was about to recover from a slump in Chinese VIP gambling. Those shares are worth $4.6 billion at Melco’s current valuation.
‘It was a bad trade,’ said Mathan Somasundaram, Market Portfolio Strategist at stockbroker Blue Ocean Equities.
‘In theory, that was the cash cow that was going to fund growth in other regions.’
Business setbacks and relationship troubles have triggered mental health issues for Packer in the past.
His first major investment disaster came from his involvement with telecommunications company One.Tel along with fellow media heir Lachlan Murdoch.
One.Tel, of which Packer was a director, was declared insolvent in 2001. The collapse of One.Tel cost Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd more than $300million.
Back when he was known as ‘Jamie’, a young James Packer watches tennis with a friend in 1987
James Packer with mother Ros (left), former wife Erica (to his right) and sister Gretel (far right)
James Packer has resigned from the board of Crown Resorts citing mental health problems
Packer later said he had learned a ‘painful lesson’ from the company’s collapse.
After his first marriage break-up and the collapse of the telecom company, Packer told the Seven Network in Australia that he ‘became depressed’ and ’emotionally exhausted’.
Packer has enjoyed a playboy lifestyle in recent years, hobnobbing with Hollywood royalty including Robert de Niro and Brad Pitt.
In a 2013 interview he detailed how Tom Cruise helped him through a tough period following the collapse of his first marriage to bikini model Jodhi Meares.
Packer flirted with the Church of Scientology around the same time, but has since distanced himself from the group.
He has previously told how he has found it uncomfortable being in the public eye.
‘I have always been shy. I have never liked the publicity,’ he told The Australian newspaper last year. ‘I get more publicity than anyone and have for 20 years. Most of it is negative. And you get gun-shy of getting hit.’
His resignation from the board of Crown Resorts due to mental health problems might have surprised the business world but is hardly shocking.
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF AUSTRALIAN MOGUL JAMES PACKER
Onetime movie investor James Packer walks through New York City in September 2015
1967: James Douglas Packer is born to Kerry and Ros Packer in Sydney
About 1985: Finishes school and works as a jackaroo in Northern Territory
1999: Marries first wife Jodhi Mears; the couple separates in 2002
2001: Telecommunications company One.Tel goes broke, costing Packer $300m
2005: Kerry Packer dies and James takes over family business
2006: Starts selling Channel 9 as he moves into casinos
2007: Marries model Erica Baxter; the couple separates in 2013
2012: Forms RatPac production company with producer Brett Ratner
2014: Has public street fight with then best friend David Gyngell
2016: Becomes engaged to singer Mariah Carey; couple separates later that year
2017: Sells out of RatPac
2018: Steps down from Crown Resorts board