Sam Burgess reveals the real reason his marriage to ex-wife Phoebe didn’t work out during a bombshell discussion with Jana Pittman on tonight’s episode of SAS Australia.
As the recruits drive to a challenge, the retired NRL star, 32, admits the former couple, who were married for four years before splitting in 2019, were ‘just not meant for each other’ and he ‘forced things’ because he desperately wanted a family.
After Jana asks how they met, Sam – who shares Poppy, four, and Billy, two, with Phoebe, 32 – responds: ‘At a concert, and I never go to concerts. We were just not meant for each other.
Shock revelation: Sam Burgess (left) reveals the real reason his marriage to ex-wife Phoebe didn’t work out during a bombshell discussion with Jana Pittman (right) on Tuesday night’s SAS Australia
‘I was trying to force things – I wanted a family, I wanted kids, I wanted the dream, the house… I got it, had it all.’
He then admits to the former Olympian that he ‘pushed it’ with Phoebe.
‘There were a few things I knew weren’t quite right, but I thought I could change that and help that, mend that… I couldn’t do it,’ he says in the shock episode.
Relationship: The retired South Sydney Rabbitohs player, 32, opens up about his four-year marriage to Phoebe (right), which ended for good in October 2019. Pictured: Sam and Phoebe in happier times
‘There were a few things I knew weren’t quite right but I thought I could change that and help that, mend that – I couldn’t do it,’ says
Sam then recalls how he once rang his mother Julie two years into the couple’s marriage and bluntly asked her: ‘Is this right?’
‘She was like “Sam, you’re just never going to make her happy. I don’t know how you’ve done two years,”‘ he explains to Jana.
‘I said, “I’ve got my kids, what am I supposed to do?” – I didn’t know what to do.’
Speaking to the camera, Sam says: ‘In the past 18 months I’ve had a pretty tricky personal life. My marriage broke down – we just didn’t work out as a couple.
Family: Sam shares daughter Poppy, four, and son Billy, two, (pictured) with ex-wife Phoebe
Sam recalls how he rang his mother Julie two years into their marriage and asked her: ‘Is this right?’ ‘She was like “Sam, you’re just never going to make her happy. I don’t know how you’ve done two years”‘ Pictured: Sam alongside his mother Julie
‘Most people would understand relationships can be quite complicated. It’s best we’re not in a relationship together. It’s sad and upsetting, but also it’s just life.’
Earlier in the season, Sam confessed he’d been unfaithful to Phoebe during their marriage while being interrogated by the directing staff on the show.
‘I don’t think I was the greatest husband at times,’ he said. ‘I embarrassed my wife. I’d had an affair with a girl, a woman in Melbourne. That’s true.
‘I was away on tour, and regretfully that happened, which would have been… it would have been a tough place for Phoebe to be.’
In 2018, Sam was embroiled in a sexting scandal which involved a Melbourne woman who claimed he had cheated on his wife the year prior.
Revelation: Earlier in the season, Sam confessed he’d been unfaithful to Phoebe during their marriage while being interrogated by the directing staff on the show
In the immediate aftermath of the scandal in September 2018, Phoebe, who was then pregnant with her second child, pulled out of a public appearance but was otherwise publicly supportive of her husband in the weeks that followed.
However, the couple ended their marriage shortly after Christmas the same year, three months after he was cleared of any involvement in an NRL ‘sexting’ affair.
Despite reconciling briefly in early 2019, the couple called it quits for good in October the same year.
News of the separation came just days after Sam announced his retirement from all sporting competitions with immediate effect on October 30, 2019, due to a shoulder injury.
Over: The couple ended their marriage shortly after Christmas in 2018, three months after he was cleared of any involvement in an NRL ‘sexting’ affair. Despite reconciling briefly in early 2019, the couple called it quits for good in October the same year
Sam said he ‘couldn’t accept’ hearing the decision from his surgeon that he should retire, and so tried to go back and play.
‘It was a bit of a knife to the heart,’ he explained on the show’s launch episode. ‘I couldn’t accept it. I knew two games in I couldn’t do my job anymore, so I retired. It was s**t.’
Chief instructor Ant Middleton then asked if Sam had then gone on a ‘path of destruction’ following the demise of his marriage and the end of his career, to which he replied: ‘I didn’t know how to manage it.
‘I’m not great with managing emotional. Anything to do with my team, myself, press – I don’t mind about that.
‘When it became emotional stuff with losing my kids, not seeing my kids every day, my marriage breakdown and that put pressure on my ex-wife… I didn’t like that.
Another loss: The separation came two days after Sam announced his retirement from all sporting competitions with immediate effect on October 30, due to a shoulder injury
‘I hated that I’d caused pain for other people that I couldn’t manage.’
He continued: ‘I turned to drinking, taking drugs – I thought I could manage that. Then got pulled [up on a] DUI with drugs in my system, which was all over the press again, which stopped me seeing my kids again. I just checked myself into rehab.’
In May this year, Sam avoided a conviction despite pleading guilty to three driving charges following a February 22 police traffic stop where he tested positive for cocaine.
It came two months after Sam’s conviction for intimidating his ex-wife Phoebe’s father Mitchell Hooke in the aftermath of the couple’s messy break-up was overturned by a judge.
Sam later said that going to a four-week long rehab centre had ‘saved his life’, revealing he had stopped drinking completely in an attempt to change his path for the better.
Following the interrogation, Sam concluded by saying he hoped his time on SAS Australia would help him see ‘a bit deeper inside myself’.
‘I have this theory of life that it’s peaks and valleys, ups and downs. Sometimes you don’t know when the peaks are at the top, and you don’t know how far the valley might go.
‘Maybe this could be the start of me climbing my way out of the valley.’
SAS Australia continues Tuesday at 7.30pm on Channel Seven
Aim: Following the interrogation, Sam concluded by saying he hoped his time on SAS Australia would help him see ‘a bit deeper inside myself’