Damien Hardwick’s ex-wife Danielle breaks silence over marriage breakup with Richmond coach

Damien Hardwick’s ex-wife has claimed she’s moved on after the couple’s shock, though she plans to keep her former husband’s surname.

Danielle broke her silence on the breakdown of marriage to Richmond’s coach after spending 25 years together and raising three children.

“I’m Mrs Hardwick now, I’m not Mrs Hardwick anymore,” she told Melbourne ABC Radio on Saturday.

“I’m doing my best to stay dignified, so how I’m feeling is definitely still a lot of mixed feelings. There has been a serious grieving process for myself and my beautiful adult children and the grief is real.”

In December, it was announced that Danielle had separated from Hardwick. A month later, their deteriorating relationship made headlines when it was revealed that Hardwick had dated young staffer Alexandra Crow.

Damien Hardwick's ex-wife has claimed she's moved on after the couple's shock — even though she plans to keep her former husband's surname (pictured, Damien and Danielle Hardwick in 2017)

Damien Hardwick’s ex-wife has claimed she’s moved on after the couple’s shock — even though she plans to keep her former husband’s surname (pictured, Damien and Danielle Hardwick in 2017)

Danielle broke her silence on the breakdown of marriage with Richmond's coach after spending 25 years together and raising three children

Danielle broke her silence on the breakdown of marriage with Richmond's coach after spending 25 years together and raising three children

Danielle broke her silence on the breakdown of marriage with Richmond’s coach after spending 25 years together and raising three children

Danielle admitted she was still coming to terms with the divorce months after the incident.

“I think if you plan a life with your best friend, your partner you’ve spent your entire adult life with…there’s a definite loss when there’s no more. So I’m on my way to be sure, well, okay,” she said.

“There is certainly every raw emotion that comes with this situation, but we all have a choice of how we will respond to this and I wanted to respond with dignity and respect for my children.”

While the couple were still married, Hardwick affectionately referred to Danielle as “Mrs Hardwick” during his press conferences.

Danielle said the pair were the ultimate team and she would keep the last name because it had become part of her.

“It (the last name) felt a bit of a negative connotation to me in the last part, but in the end it’s my identity and it’s been my whole adult life, so I tried to turn what felt like negative into something positive.

“I’m Mrs Hardwick now, I’m not Mrs Hardwick anymore and it’s a family name, so we’ll continue to embrace it.”

Danielle said she believed Hardwick worked in a “selfish” football environment.

“It’s an old-fashioned environment, there really isn’t a way around it,” she said.

“Everyone is trying to develop and that is wonderful, but it is male dominated and the life of a footballer and the life of a coach can become a very selfish existence for lack of a better word, because it is a demanding role and you look after the welfare of many, many young men, so it feels very important.’

In January, Danielle made an explicit social media post that read, “F**k any person who took advantage of your kindness and mistook it for weakness.”

The message came as details about her husband’s new relationship became public.

Hardwick’s new lover was revealed as his club’s own sales representative, Alexandra Crow.

Mrs Crow had been seen with Hardwick in the run-up to Christmas, drinking openly with him in a busy Melbourne rooftop pub.

A witness told Daily Mail Australia that the couple didn’t seem to be having fun.

Danielle admitted she was still processing the divorce months after the incident (pictured, Hardwick and Danielle are pictured at a birthday party)

Danielle admitted she was still processing the divorce months after the incident (pictured, Hardwick and Danielle are pictured at a birthday party)

Danielle admitted she was still processing the divorce months after the incident (pictured, Hardwick and Danielle are pictured at a birthday party)

Damien Hardwick and wife Danielle have three children together.  He is now dating another woman

Damien Hardwick and wife Danielle have three children together.  He is now dating another woman

Damien Hardwick and wife Danielle have three children together. He is now dating another woman

“They seemed tense. Unhappy. But we noticed right away that it was Hardwick with someone who wasn’t his wife,” the source said.

Hardwick’s relationship with the young Richmond staffer reportedly developed while the pair were locked up in the Queensland hub.

Introduced to allow competition to continue during the pandemic, the hub has been blamed for putting pressure on families.

Daily Mail Australia has been told that Richmond’s coach started the taboo relationship with Ms Crow – commonly known as Alex – during the Tigers’ time at the hub, while she was still married to wife Danielle.

Hardwick – a three-time premiership coach with the Tigers – is said to have split with his wife in December.

The couple has three children together.

By this time, there had been rumors of the split on BigFooty.com for weeks, which has become a massive breakthrough footy scandal.

In December, it was revealed that Hardwick and Danielle had split up.  Hardwick dated younger staffer Alexandra Crow

In December, it was revealed that Hardwick and Danielle had split up.  Hardwick dated younger staffer Alexandra Crow

In December, it was revealed that Hardwick and Danielle had split up. Hardwick dated younger staffer Alexandra Crow

Hardwick (pictured, left) with Dustin Martin (right) in September after the AFL Grand Final

Hardwick (pictured, left) with Dustin Martin (right) in September after the AFL Grand Final

Hardwick (pictured, left) with Dustin Martin (right) in September after the AFL Grand Final

Ms Hardwick’s first post in January was supported by several friends and fans who expressed their condolences that her private life was played out so publicly.

Mrs. Hardwick was affectionately referred to as ‘Mrs. Hardwick’ among the players during her long relationship with the decorated coach.

She spent Christmas with Tigers captain Trent Cotchin’s family and is ‘loved’ within the club.

Cotchin’s wife Brooke has publicly supported Mrs Hardwick by sharing a photo of her holding her son Parker with the words ‘strength, courage and dignity’ in the frame.

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