Troubled tycoon James Packer used to take ‘really long showers’ to deal with his depression and anxiety, his former fiancée has revealed.
Tziporah Malkah, who dated Packer for five years until 1998, has spoken about his mental health battles after he retired as Crown boss yesterday citing mental illness.
The former actress and Vogue model said he would ‘withdraw for days’ and refuse to speak to her.
She once peeked at him in the shower to check if he was OK and found him ‘just standing there with his arms across his chest with water beating on his head just looking so sad,’ she told KIIS FM’s Kyle and Jackie O.
James Packer and Tziporah Malkah embrace at the Australian Grad Prix in 1998, before they broke up over mutual disagreements. Today she spoke about his mental health struggles
The former actress and Vogue model said Packer (pictured in 2007 with Robert de Niro) would ‘withdraw for days’ and sometimes ‘take really long showers’
Former actress and vogue model Tziporah Malkah (pictured speaking on Channel Seven’s Sunrise this morning), who dated the Crown boss for five years until 1998, said she was shocked to hear of his resignation yesterday
Ms Malkah, who dated Packer for five years until 1998, also discussed their relationship on Channel Seven’s Sunrise this morning.
The 44-year-old, born as Kate Fischer, said there were times Packer would come home from work and ‘be very withdrawn’.
She said there would be days when the pair wouldn’t speak because Packer was so stressed due to his work.
‘He would go into his shell and be non-communicative for days at a time,’ she said.
The former TV show host said it was ‘a good thing’ that Packer cited mental health as the reason for stepping down as it would help combat stigma.
James Packer’s former fiancée (pictured with Packer in 1998) has said the troubled tycoon’s mental health battle must be extremely serious for him to resign because his business was ‘the love of his life.’
Discussing their relationship on Channel Seven’s Sunrise this morning, Ms Malkah (pictured left and right in December in Melbourne), said there were times Packer would come home from work and ‘be very withdrawn’
She said when the pair were together she felt as though ‘he was never going to give up his business’ – but revealed there were signs of his mental health struggles.
‘For a man who is so passionate, he must be really suffering,’ she said.
Packer, 50, yesterday quit as director of his gaming empire for ‘mental health’ reasons after a turbulent period that included splitting from singer Mariah Carey.
The billionaire has battled anxiety and depression for years, but no further details have been given about his decision to resign from the board of Crown Resorts Ltd.
Kate Fischer poses at the Cointreau Ball for the celebration of the French National Day July 14, 1996 in Sydney, Australia
Left: Ms Malkah attends the Screen Actors Guild Awards Party at The Establishment on January 30, 2006. Right: She attends the launch of the book Repeating The Leaving by Charles Waterstreet at the Hyde Park Club on April 11, 2001
Ms Malkah met Packer after she starred in the 1993 film Sirens aged 20. She is pictured left in 2006 and right in 2000
Ms Malkah met Packer after she starred in the 1993 film Sirens aged 20. She then became the host of Channel Nine’s Looney Tunes show What’s Up Doc and the short-lived travel show Time Out For Serious Fun.
When they split in 1998, she was left with $300,000 and a $2million house in Bondi.
She went to Hollywood to find further fame and fortune but lost all her money on an ‘expensive, hedonistic lifestyle’.
While there she dated a Jewish man, converted to Judaism and legally changed her name to Tziporah Malkah bat Israel. She is now a care worker in Melbourne.
Last November she appeared on KIIS FM’s Kyle and Jackie O to insist the split with Packer was mutual.
She said they broke up after ‘talking about the time that we needed to spend together.’
She explained: ‘He just said “my job’s too stressful and if I need to go off and do whatever I want I need to be able to do that” and I said, “that’s not the sort of marriage that I want.” It was sort of mutual in a way.’
From Sirens star to care worker: The life and times of ’90s actress and supermodel Kate Fischer
The Adelaide-born brunette’s modelling career took off when she won the Dolly magazine cover girl competition, appearing on the cover in 1988 at age 14.
At 20, she became a movie star alongside ’90s babes Elle Macpherson and Portia de Rossi, as well as actor Hugh Grant.
Her role in the racy Australian film Sirens can still be remembered today, despite people being unable to recognise her transformed image.
Cover girl: During her career, the stunner appeared on the covers of Vogue as well as Cleo
During her career as an in-demand model, Tziporah appeared on the covers of Vogue as well as Cleo.
But perhaps her biggest claim to fame is as the former fiancée of billionaire playboy James Packer.
They were one of Australia’s most glamorous and were set to tie the knot before their split in 1998.
The pair were engaged after a three year courtship, but called it quits two years into their engagement.
Ms Malkah appeared to take a swipe at the billionaire’s previous high-profile exes, branding them as the ‘boring’ ones.
She traded in her quiet life as a nurse’s aid for a reality TV comeback, appearing on the third season of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here.
Packer, the only son of the late media mogul Kerry and one of Australia’s richest people with a personal fortune estimated at $3.9 billion, will now ‘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 in an emailed statement.
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.
Mariah Carey and James Packer attending an awards night at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York
Casino mogul James Packer with children Indigo, Jackson and Emmanuelle and ex-wife Erica
James Packer (left) with his father Kerry at a company general meeting in Sydney in 2005
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’.
JAMES PACKER’S LIFE AND TIMES
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
‘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.
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.
Billionaire James Packer steps out with first wife Jodhi Meares at Star City Casino in 2001
While James Packer and Jodhi Meares divorced the pair has remained extremely close