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Why my ex-wife is one of my closest friends

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Through thick and thin: DJ Carey's former wife Christine with their sons Mike and Sean in 2003

Through thick and thin: DJ Carey's former wife Christine with their sons Mike and Sean in 2003

Through thick and thin: DJ Carey's former wife Christine with their sons Mike and Sean in 2003

I have, over the years, been the victim of all sorts of rumours, but it passes over my head now.

To me, everything is about being positive now. I've had tough times, personally, professionally, emotionally, but I'm getting through them. I would consider myself a strong person who can deal with whatever is thrown at him, however hard it might be.

I have good friends, people who I trust and who I know are there because they are genuine. I regard friends as people who are always there for you and who don't judge you. They understand what you're about and accept you for what you are. They tell you if they have heard rumours about you because they care. Otherwise, you wouldn't hear what's being said and lies can go unchecked.

Good friendships are really important and I have some really great ones, the best of which is with my former wife, Christine. That might seem unusual but it happens to be true. Christine is happily married again, but we remain close friends as well as parents to our two lads. We were married for nine years before being divorced in 2004.

Everyone gets married with the intention that it will be for life, but sometimes it's not. It's a fact of life and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Things happen, circumstances arise, relationships change. It's a common story all over the world.

Our separation was as clean as it's possible to have. We arranged our financial affairs without solicitors because we were able to sit down and work through it. We got it legally formalised when we were finished, but it was our agreement, not one drawn up by someone else.

Obviously, divorce is a very raw experience emotionally, but we coped. We put the two lads first all the time and worked from there.

The run-up to our divorce was tough, not just because it's the nature of these things, but because I was being hounded by sections of the media. I was living in Mount Juliet at the time and got regular calls from journalists, asking if I would talk about my situation.

It was a private matter between Christine and me, yet some newspapers seemed to think it was okay to pry into our affairs. I certainly wasn't going to facilitate them and neither was she. Still, it was there in the background all the time.

Some of the papers eventually ran with the news of our separation on the morning of the 2003 All-Ireland Final. It was presented under the guise of sympathy, along the lines of "isn't it tough on DJ having this in the background as he prepared for an All-Ireland Final", but, in reality, it was done for maximum impact on the day.

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There was nothing I could have done about it even if I did think it unfair. Being hounded by the media in the run-up to the final wasn't helping my preparation, but it was outside my control so all I could do was ignore it as best I could.

I was captain that year and utterly determined that nothing would distract me, but all the time the media intrusions were going on in the background before coming to the fore on the day of the final. It wasn't right but I had to take it anyway.

I was an amateur sportsman, playing hurling for his county, not a publicity-seeking celebrity who wanted to be in the papers all the time. It was even more unfair on Christine, who was being dragged into the public eye because I happened to be a well-known hurler.

We got through it as best we could but it was a difficult time. I'm happy to say that 10 years on, we are now the best of friends. Indeed, I'll go as far as to say that I don't know where I would have been without her when I was sick last year. She did all she possibly could for me in what was a very tough time, while also looking after the lads. But then that's her nature.

Whatever my personal health or business difficulties were at any time, she was the one person who was always there to help me. She didn't need to but she chose to. I will always be grateful for that.


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