Symantha Perkins is a journalist, model, TV personality, charity ambassador and media commentator but she is better known as the wife of one of our best ever swimmers, Kieren Perkins. Today we learn the sad news that their 15 year marriage is over.
The press release said the split was "amicable" and the result of growing apart after being together for so long. They have asked for privacy so they can concentrate on the wellbeing of their children, Harry, Georgia and Charlie.
Ever since she was 6 years old, Symantha suffered from debilitating migraines that would leave her bedridden, half blind and in excruciating pain. When the children started to arrive, each pregnancy seemed to make the symptoms worse, caused by a surge of hormones.
In 2007, Kieren and Symantha were interviewed by 60 Minutes. Sam said "I mean it's awful to even say but there have been times when I'd just rather be dead if it wasn't for the kids."
We will never forget that special moment in 1996 when Kieren won Gold at the Atlanta Olympic Games. Bursting with joy, he ran up to the grandstand to pay tribute to the love of his life. But up in the stands, Sam was battling another severe maigrane and was hoping she wouldn't vomit on international television. At one point, when her liver started to shut down and she was near death, Kieren had to face the reality of having to raise the children on his own.
Professor Michael Cousins from Sydney's Royal North Shore hospital said that Sam was in the very worst group of patients he had ever seen and told her there was something he could do that may fix the problem. It was a gamble but he went ahead and implanted two tiny electrodes into Sam's brain to block out the migraines. And it worked. Three months after surgery Kieren said "It's like having the old Sam back, I haven't seen her like this in ten years.
But that was five years ago, and today Kieren and Sam announced that their marriage is over. They will become just another statistic in Australia's high divorce rate and experience all the pain and suffering that goes with it. Just another shattered family who will never be the same again.
Perkins is the Athlete Liaison Officer of the 2012 Australian Olympic Team.