Wally Lewis’s new love revealed after shock split
Rugby league immortal Wally Lewis's new love has been revealed as prominent Townsville volunteer worker and writer Lynda Adams following his shock split from his wife of 36 years.
The Queensland Origin legend announced the end of his marriage to wife Jacqui in a statement released by his employer Channel 9 late Monday, confirming he was in a new relationship after the separation last year.
The Courier-Mail can reveal Lewis, 61, is dating Mrs Adams, a freelance writer and long-time volunteer worker, who is well-known in the Townsville community.
She recently separated from husband Mark Adams, a prominent Townsville businessman and property developer who serves as managing director of Qld Capital.
When contacted by The Courier-Mail, Mr Adams said he and Lynda were no longer together. But he said he would not comment on his or his ex-wife's private life.
"I am no longer married to Lynda," Mr Adams said.
"I don't want to comment about any of my personal stuff."
Lewis and Mrs Adams have not officially confirmed the relationship. Attempts were made to contact Lewis and his estranged wife Jacqui as well as Mrs Adams last night.
Lewis was absent from the Nine News bulletin on Monday as a result of the breaking personal news, following a series of meetings at the Mount Coot-Tha newsroom throughout the day.
He appeared downcast while taking phone calls at Brisbane Broncos training at Red Hill early yesterday during his regular duties for Nine, before returning to the newsdesk last night.
"Wally and Jacqui Lewis separated last year after 36 years of marriage. It has been a difficult time for everyone in the family and they are still working through the details of the separation," the statement read.
Lewis, 61, who shares three adult children - Mitchell, Lincoln and Jamie-Lee - and three grandsons with Jacqui, admitted the separation had taken a heavy toll on his close-knit family.
"This is a deeply personal matter that we do not want to discuss publicly, but 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," Lewis said.
"I will confirm I am now in another relationship and only ask for the media to respect our privacy."
Mrs Adams moved to Townsville from Victoria in her mid-twenties where she met Mark while working as a part time radio announcer on HOT-FM. The pair share a teenage daughter.
Having suffered six miscarriages over four years before conceiving their child via IVF, Lynda became a long-time volunteer for Townsville support group Still Birth and Neonatal Death Support (SANDS).
She helped launch the organisation's annual Walk to Remember initiative, which has now been running for 15 years, a year after her daughter's birth in an effort to support other families going through similar personal battles.
"When I was going through all my losses - my husband and I lost six babies - I really felt I needed to do something to help other families going through such pain,'' Mrs Adams said a 2015 interview.
"I wanted to offer an avenue where people could not only get support from other families suffering, but also allow their friends and family to come together to discuss a subject typically kept silent, and show support in a way they may not otherwise know how to.''
Mrs Adams has been working as a freelance writer specialising in real estate, lifestyle and travel.
It is understood Lewis' public statement announcing the split came as a shock to his Nine News colleagues, who were also grappling with the news yesterday.
While typically private, the sports presenter was known for regularly offering Jacqui's famed caramel slice around the newsroom and to the commentary team during Nine's rugby league broadcasts.
The split was yesterday met with an outpouring of sadness from fans, who had followed the couple since they wed at St John's Cathedral in Brisbane in late 1984, early in Wally's illustrious rugby league career, and throughout his health battle with epilepsy.
Wally and Jacqui raised their children in Brisbane with Lincoln becoming a well-known actor, Mitchell working as a sports presenter on Nova's top-rating breakfast show and Jamie-Lee pursuing her own career in the QRL Women's Premiership.
Mitchell recently announced he is expecting his fourth child, a daughter, with wife Sarah in June.
In November, Lewis listed and sold his waterfront family home in Birkdale, east of Brisbane, for a price tipped to have eclipsed the street record of $2.1 million.
It came in the same month his autobiography, My Life, hit book shelves around the country and Lewis embarked on a book tour.
He revealed in the autobiography how Jacqui had helped him through his epilepsy diagnosis - a condition he kept secret from 1987 to 2006 when he had a seizure on air on Nine News.
Lewis finally underwent a four-hour operation in 2007 but wrote he and Jacqui hadn't anticipated the depression that would follow.
"I had suicidal thoughts and found myself crying uncontrollably, for no reason," he wrote.
Lewis admitted to coming close to committing suicide at his Brisbane home when his wife had ducked out to the shops, and acknowledged her support following the ordeal.
"The thought was actually there that day. If I was going to suicide that's when I would have done it. (Jacqui) never left me alone after that," he continued.
Mitchell resumed his regular role on Nova yesterday while Lincoln and Jamie-Lee shared identical quotes to social media acknowledging supportive friends.
Originally published as Wally Lewis's new love revealed after shock split