The tragic death of one of her own family members helped Jacqui Lewis support husband Wally when he fell into depression after an operation for epilepsy.
The former wife of the man known as ‘King Wally’ also considered selling the family home and getting a job when she feared he would not be able to return to work after the debilitating illness.
The revelations originally reported in the Sydney Morning Herald make the demise of her marriage to Wally particularly poignant, reinforcing her 36 years of selfless devotion to the man.
While Jacqui declined to comment to Daily Mail Australia when contacted about her former husband’s statement on the split, earlier media appearances illustrate the extent of her loyalty to the rugby league legend.
Lewis’ diagnosis of epilepsy, which he first revealed in December 2006 after an on-air blackout while reading the news on Brisbane TV the previous month, led to an operation in February 2007.
Wally Lewis and Jacqueline Lewis (pictured right) have split after 36 years of marriage
The couple have three children – Lachlan (pictured left), Jamie-Lee and Mitchell Lewis (pictured right)
It was followed by period of depression, during which the Origin star admitted, ‘For three months, I was not much fun to be married to.’
Jacqui said: ‘When I realised Wally was suffering depression, I’d say, “Why wouldn’t you tell me you were in so much pain?”
‘But he wanted to get over it himself. Depression is a very hard thing. Wally didn’t understand it.’
The circumstances were even more trying for Jacqui, who revealed in the same interview that her own brother John had succumbed to the disease nine years earlier.
‘I knew he [Wally] was in a bad place but not in a hole like my brother,’ Jacqui continued.
‘He was just like a little puppy dog, a shadow, hanging around me all the time. He was so vulnerable and I thought he could never work again.’
Jacqui confessed she thought Wally’s condition would make it necessary to sell their house and she would have to return to work, before he made a steady recovery and she realised, ‘I’ve got my husband back.’
Also in 2009, Jacqui took to the airwaves to deal with the fallout from the revelations about son Lincoln’s sex tape with a teenage starlet, which he showed to his Home And Away castmates.
Phoning into the Ryan, Monty and Wippa Nova 969 drive show, Jacqui was asked how Wally had reacted to the news of son Lincoln’s indiscretion.
‘In the past Wally would have worried and got paranoid but now he’s so composed,’ she said.
‘Wally’s got to remember, as I’ve always told him, everything you do when you’re in the public eye belongs to the people.’
League legend Wally Lewis (pictured above) has found love with a new woman after 36 years of marriage
Lewis’ new flame is Lynda Adams (pictured above) who is a volunteer at Sands Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Newborn Death Support Group in Townsville
Ever the fiercely protective matriarch, Jacqui also came to the defence of her son.
‘I am glad he is not with that girl anymore,’ she said of the young actress appearing in the tape. ‘I don’t want that as a daughter-in -law.
‘She must have said she was willing to do it. ‘As a female I wouldn’t be doing any of that. We keep things. Have a look at Monica Lewinski, she kept the dress.
‘I say to Wally and Lincoln [it does not] matter what people throw at us, as long as we stay together as a family.’
Sadly, Jacqui’s wishes have not come to pass, sparking sorrow among the ‘King’s’ legion of fans, particularly in Queensland.
Rugby league Immortal Wally Lewis ‘s wife Jacqui (pictured left) has always been protective of him – especially during his battle with epilepsy and depression
While she is yet to publicly comment about her marriage break-up, Jacqui Lewis is known as a woman of singular strength.
‘Women have a lot of power,’ she told the SMH. ‘We can bring men to their knees if we want to, but we can also be nasty and conniving. I just want to be on par with my husband.’
The split comes after it emerged that the family home was sold by Lewis for a reported $2.1million three months ago after less than a week on the market.
It has now been revealed that Lewis, 61, is dating Lynda Adams.
Adams is a volunteer at Sands Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Newborn Death Support Group in Townsville, an organisation she became involved with after losing six unborn children to miscarriage over ‘four dark years’.
In his statement announcing the end of his marriage last Monday, Lewis said, ‘This is a deeply personal matter that we do not want to discuss publicly.
‘I want to acknowledge the pain and upset my family has gone through since Jacqui and I separated last year. I hope over time we can rebuild our ties and move on with life.’