He’s just split from his wife of almost four years after a desperate last-ditch attempt to save their marriage following a high-profile sexting scandal.
The 30-year-old — who plays for the South Sydney Rabbitohs — was filmed laughing and joking with his friends, the group dancing to Beyonce’s Crazy In Love at a masquerade-themed event that marked the end of the footy season.
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In the clip, which was shared on Instagram by a fan also at the nightclub, his wedding band was visibly missing from his left hand. The video, posted by Jacinta Sydney, was captioned: “Ssssssshenanigans and a quick bounce on the dance floor.”
At one point, the footy player who earns $1.5 million a season even flashes a thumbs up to the camera.
It was revealed on Sunday that the pair — who married in December 2015 — had split for the second time in a year, deciding to go their separate ways after living apart for several weeks according to a report by The Daily Telegraph.
On the same day the news broke, Sam’s brother George Burgess shared a separate video on his Instagram of Sam at a retirement party for teammate, John Sutton — it shows Sam and Sutton puckering up for a poll asking followers who they’d rather kiss.
Phoebe’s Instagram account shows a different story as she has retreated to her parents’ home in Bowral with their two kids, three-year-old daughter Poppy and baby Billy, who turns one in December.
While she has been maintaining a social media presence in recent weeks, Phoebe’s feed has a family theme with pictures of her playing with her kids.
She hasn’t posted since news of their separation emerged on Sunday.
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The last time her estranged husband appeared on Phoebe’s social media page was four months ago, in a picture-perfect family moment, feeding a giraffe at Taronga Zoo with their kids.
Despite the smiles and Sam’s public declaration of love for the snap — he commented with three heart eye emojis 17 weeks ago — the pair would split just a few months later.
With their marriage in strife again, it seems behind the beaming smiles not all was as it seemed.
It’s not exactly clear when the pair reunited following their split in December 2018, as neither ever spoke out about it directly.
Journalist and TV presenter Phoebe returned to the spotlight in April, telling news.com.au her kids had been the source of her “strength” during her difficult times.
“It’s about keeping on going for the greater cause, which is your family,” she said at the time.
“I’ve drawn strength from my children and the people that I love, particularly looking into my children’s faces. They’re the best thing ever and it’s the most meaningful job I’ll ever have.”
Indeed, despite being seen supporting her husband at his matches and watching from the sidelines during training, she barely posted about their second stab at their romance.
On Sam’s 30th birthday she shared the first snap of her husband, confirming they’d reconciled. But there was no official statement or interview on the topic.
THE FIRST BREAK-UP
In January, just three weeks after the couple welcomed their newborn son William, who they nicknamed Billy, shock reports emerged claiming they had split.
Things began to unravel at an alarming rate for the former lovebirds, with the rumour mill going into overdrive — including claims of a bitter family divide.
Sam’s mum Julie, and his sister-in-law Johanna appeared to snub Phoebe when they appeared to unfollow her on Instagram. Julie also removed a feature photo from the couple’s lavish wedding from her Facebook account, replacing it with a snap of her grandkids.
By March though, there were claims the pair were “back on track” after Phoebe was pictured supporting hubby Sam as he trained for a big Rabbitohs game.
THE SEXTING SCANDAL
Speculation that things weren’t going well had begun months before Sam was snapped moving his belongings out of their Eastern Suburbs home in January, when pair were rocked by a sexting scandal, after a woman claimed she was exposed to lewd images of Rabbitohs players sent from Sam’s social media account.
The 30-year-old league player was embroiled in the controversy in September 2018, though Sam was later officially cleared of any wrongdoing by the Souths.
In emails to the club, the 23-year-old woman claimed she felt violated in her online interaction with the players, who she claimed exposed themselves to her in a video chat.
The dad-of-two later admitted the media attention had taken a devastating toll on his family, saying it pained him to see the upset the whole ordeal caused Phoebe, who was six months pregnant at the time.
“I’m not angry. What hurts me the most is seeing my wife upset about what’s out there,” he told reporters, adding he was hoping the situation would be “resolved quickly”.
“I just want to protect my family in this whole thing.
“I’ve got a wife. I’ve got a daughter. My wife’s heavily pregnant. I just want them to be safe and happy. In my current situation at home there’s just no chance of that.”
The strain on their relationship must have been monumental, though you wouldn’t have known it looking at Phoebe’s blissfully happy family snaps on her social media at the time.
THEIR WHIRLWIND ROMANCE
After meeting at an Avicii concert in Sydney in back in 2014, the pair had a secret long distance relationship for eight months before going public at the Dally M’s.
When Sam relocated to Bath in the UK to play with Bath Rugby for three years, Phoebe didn’t hesitate to follow him, cementing their romance.
“As much as Sam will probably cringe at this, when you love someone, you know where you’re supposed to be,” she told a British paper at the time.
Eight months later, Phoebe was flashing a large diamond ring on her engagement finger following a romantic holiday to Greece, sparking rumours the pair had become engaged.
The happy news was later confirmed by Samantha Armytage who wished the then Phoebe Hooke her sincerest congratulations on social media, accidentally let the cat out of the bag.
Just six months later, the loved-up couple tied the knot in Bowral, surrounded by their friends and family. The stylish wedding was held at her family home, with Sam telling the world it was the “most amazing day of my life”.
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