Saturday 21 April 2018

Widow of Jim Stynes' opens up about the backlash she received for re-marrying

Sam Stynes
Sam Stynes
Jim Stynes with his wife Sam Ludbey

David Kearns

The widow of Irish Aussie Rules legend Jim Stynes has spoken for the first time about her decision to remarry and the emotional backlash she has endured, even from her own friends.

Sam Ludbey, who was married to Dublin-born Stynes until his death from cancer in 2012, married Melbourne property developer Geoff Porz in April.

The mother-of-two, who had kept the relationship out of the public eye out of respect to her late husband, said she was taken back by the number of people questioning her decision to move on.

Speaking on Australian radio station 3AW, Ms Ludbey recalled being at a wedding dress fitting when she got a phone call from a friend questioning her new relationship.

Read More: Sam Stynes on death, grief and her new relationship

Jim Stynes with his wife Sam and children Matisse and Tiernan
Jim Stynes with his wife Sam and children Matisse and Tiernan
Jim Stynes with his wife Sam and children Matisse and Tiernan

“It think it just has to come down to grief and because everyone grieves in their own way and I think perhaps me making a decision to carve out a new life for myself perhaps that distills Jim's memory for people that might have had difficulty for me making those choices.

“People can judge people who don't move on fast enough and if you do move on you can be judged anyway because you are moving on too fast, so I think a lot of the time in situations where someone dies for the person who is left behind it is a very difficult scenario to be in because you sort of can't win if you worry what everyone around you thinks," she said.

“A comment was made to me, like we’re not all like you Sam, we haven’t moved on, we can’t move on that quickly,” she told 9NEWS.

“Some of those comments were from people really close to me, really dear to me, and I lost my Italian temper, but it made me think, how dare you – because everyone’s life goes on."

Read More: Widow of Jim Stynes tells of family's struggle to cope with his loss

Sam Ludbey and new husband property developer Geoff Porz
Sam Ludbey and new husband property developer Geoff Porz

Ms Ludbey, who is now working in childcare, said it meant much to her when Mr Stynes' mother looked her in the eye, held her hand and gave her blessing to re-marry.

“I feel a great responsibility to carry on Jim's legacy as best as I can, whatever I can do to do that and the children to do that... at the same time I figured I sort of have to have my own life as well.   

"I think being quiet about it also shows a level of respect for Jim and people who loved Jim and his family and his friends and also shows a level of respect for my new husband and his children and his ex-wife because it's a very sensitive topic not just for me but everyone.

"The quietness was just wanting to respect everyone involved," she told 3AW.

Read More: Stynes joins 'Avenue of Legends'

The wife of the late Melbourne football legend revealed shortly before his death, the 45-year-old father to their two children Tiernan and Matisse had encouraged her to move on.

“Jim always said to me, ‘after I die, and it’s sold, start again,’” she told 9NEWS.“I’m really happy, really happy. I remember once, thinking I’d never be happy. I thought the hole in my heart was so big.”

 “I have a couple of moments where I’ll be driving around Albert Lake, sometimes I feel like I feel him, and I think I wonder if he’d be proud, that I’m pulling it off.”

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