'I needed space after Gerry died', says Melanie Verwoerd
MELANIE Verwoerd said she "needed some space" from Ireland following the death of her former partner Gerry Ryan.
The 2fm star tragically died at his apartment on Leeson Street in April 2010.
Melanie later came under scrutiny for including details of his last days in her memoir, When We Dance.
The former Unicef Ireland director moved back to her native South Africa in late 2013, but said Ireland was still dear to her.
"I've been back in South Africa two years now, but I shuttle [back and forth]," she told the Herald.
"I miss Ireland a lot and my friends here. I love South Africa, but I really do miss Ireland. I needed to get space - I'm happy there.
"I write a lot over there and I brought out two more books.
"I do consulting with NGOs, too, and some political commentating, so it's good to be back in my lovely house on Table Mountain and with all my dogs."
The former South African ambassador was back in Dublin this week to celebrate her son Wian's graduation from Trinity College.
She will return to South Africa in the coming days and will celebrate Christmas there.
"It's a very different Christmas there, because it's like 40 degrees," she said.
"It's hot, so we only put up a tree on December 16, and it's bright, too, so we don't really put up lights like people do in Ireland.
"We eat a cold dinner because of the weather and people hang around in swimming pools," she added.
While Melanie still has a home here, both her children will continue their studies in South Africa.
"My daughter is doing a masters in public health and Wian is going to do a masters in human rights law in Cape Town as well, so we're all back over there," she said.
"I hope I can spend a significant time again here in the future."
Melanie was speaking at Newstalk's Christmas lunch in aid of the Marie Keating Foundation.