It is rather bizarre when a cricketer’s personal life draws attention akin to a footballer’s. Cricket fans believed to be rather conservative and blissfully unconcerned with what happens in their favourite cricket’s personal lives, are now showing changing trends where the pressure of the job and of the public glare of a spouse is getting too uncomfortable for the other.
That a difficult moment in one’s personal life can become such a talking point is something the cricketers and in turn, their families, are trying to come to terms with the celebrity status that these players now enjoying. Brett Lee has largely been the darling of crowds here in India, even though the Australians have had an acrimonious relationship with India that threatened to divide the world after India’s last tour down under.
With his recent promotional activities for a popular watch brand, Brett Lee seemed blissfully content as he always does. News of his pulling out of the Bangladesh tour came as a surprise. But the inevitable leak in the media of his apparent split from his wife has come more as a shock as the speedster has been advised by friends and family to take time off to regroup from this marital discord.
Brett Lee told media persons, “We have been caught by surprise as to how quickly our situation has become public. It is with regret that I confirm today’s media reports are correct and that Liz and I have decided to separate. Given the personal nature of the matter I ask that you please respect our privacy as we attempt to deal with this sensitive situation.”
An unsuspecting happy family blessed with a young son Preston Charles less than six months ago, the news has even taken many in Australian cricketing circles by surprise. But apparently the pressure of being a WAG (Wives and Girlfriends) was taking a toll on the pretty Liz Kemp as also the fact that she was left coping with a young family with Lee serving international duty too often to spend considerable time at home.
Lee met Kemp during the Ashes tour of 2005 and fell head over heels with the podiatrist. Lee attributed Kemp’s presence as a strong influencing force in his life. But perhaps he did it more lavishly before getting married when he is rumoured to have presented his then girlfriend Kemp with diamonds studded ring on the tour to South Africa after playing his fiftieth Test and taking 200 wickets. The elaborate wedding came soon after in New South Wales in 2006. But the signs were apparently evident to both parties for over six months as Liz struggled to a life without a career (she was a podiatrist who gave up her practice shortly after meeting Lee) and domesticity in the absence of Lee.
With his ever beaming smile and charismatic presence, Lee has been a hit with spectators and audience not very familiar with his cricket repertoire. His band with his brother has seen him strumming his guitar and singing to the dreamy eyes of his adoring female fans. An eligible bachelor for long, Lee has devoted his time to cricket and perhaps cricket has now stolen from him a marriage and given him an uncomfortable glare before the cameras, not only in a Bollywood stint (he will be seen in a cameo in the forthcoming movie “Victory”) but as a celebrity with a marital fall out.