They were once Australia’s sporting golden couple, but Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny have lived complicated lives since coming to the spotlight in the 1980s.
Lisa, 58, and Grant, 57, have enjoyed fame, raised three children, celebrated financial and athletic success, and were heartbroken over a decade ago by the collapse of their marriage.
In recent years, Lisa has found love with Elvis impersonator Mark Tabone and Grant has a ‘secret’ daughter, Trixie, with radio host Fifi Box.
And now they all mourn the tragic death of the oldest child, daughter Jaimi, 33.
Jaimi died in hospital on Monday after a long health battle. She was known to have battled an eating disorder.
Condolences poured in from all over Australia when Lisa shared a heartbreaking tribute. “Our hearts are all broken,” she said.
(She was) so loved. Very nice. So nice to everyone … so painful. I can barely breathe. ‘
1980s sporting royalty: Australian swimmer Lisa Curry-Kenny and Ironman and Olympic bronze medal-winning athlete Grant Kenny with their son, Jett, on the 2000 Sydney torch relay
Lisa Curry had three children with Grant Kenny: daughters Jaimi and Morgan and son Jett, above, attended an Australian Idol final at the Sydney Opera House
Lisa Curry’s swimming success led her to become the first of many Australian athletes to become the face of grain producer Uncle Toby’s (above)
This is the complicated family tree of the Curry-Kenny clan – the three children they had together – Jett, Jaimi and Morgan – are on the left. Grant Kenny has been confirmed as the father of Fifi Box’s first child, Trixie Belle, although the parentage of her youngest daughter, Daisy, has never been publicly confirmed. Lisa’s husband, Elvis impersonator Mark Tabone, is also a father of four
Both Lisa and Grant are in very different places from just over a decade ago, when they split after 23 years of marriage.
After a swimming career in which she won a slew of medals from national and international encounters – but not from the elusive Olympic gold – Lisa was still known at the time as the original face of Uncle Toby’s cereal, for her forays into the covers of magazines and tabloids, as fitness coach and ambassador for gyms and cruise lines.
What’s less known is how she and Grant, an Olympic kayak medalist in particular, forged business success in an entirely different field: aviation.
Curry-Kenny Aviation was the country’s largest private airline, with a fleet of up to 60 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
At one point, the Sunshine Coast couple’s aviation and ownership interests were estimated at $ 78 million, earning them a place on Queensland’s rich list in 2008.
But tensions bubbled beneath the surface of the couple’s high-profile marriage, and they were ravaged by health and work crises.
Lisa was in and out of the hospital after she had myocarditis, a heart infection that led to her having a pacemaker installed.
Meanwhile, a tragedy hit Grant’s company. Four people died when one of his company’s helicopters crashed in 2008. He would also get involved in a lawsuit with a business partner.
Lisa later blamed a particular condition to put a huge strain on their marriage. What she called ‘Rushing Woman’s Syndrome’.
Lisa told A Current Affair that she always ‘rushed’ and ‘had days when I felt completely out of control’.
“I was angry, irritable, moody, cried for no reason and wanted to kill the world,” she said.
Lisa and Grant announced their separation in 2009, although they kept some business interests together. Grant sold a substantial stake in his aviation business in 2012.
In 2016, Fifi Box confirmed that her three-year-old Trixie is the daughter of Grant Kenny. Above, the mother and daughter hang out with Trixie’s half-sisters Jaimi and Morgan Kenny
Fifi Box confirmed that Trixie was Grant Kenny’s daughter in this Instagram post with ‘daddy’ hugs four years ago
Jaimi Kenny (right) at her sister Morgan’s wedding (left) in 2016
Lisa has occasionally more recently returned to the spotlight and appeared on the Celebrity Apprentice.
She counted former Olympic swimmer Joel Wolkenhorst as her partner for several years.
Wolkenhorst was cruelly described by magazines as her ‘toy boy’ as he was 20 years younger than her and was said to ‘adore the ground on which she walked.’
During the same period, in 2013, radio host Fifi Box gave birth to a daughter, Trixie. But Box was reticent about the father’s identity.
Grant was identified by the tabloids as the little girl’s father. Jaimi Kenny was sometimes even pictured with the toddler.
But Grant and Fifi refused to publicly confirm the rumors – they chose to keep some part of their lives private.
When Box finally confirmed Trixie’s parentage, a prominent gossip said that “ one of the nation’s worst-kept celebrity secrets ” had finally been revealed.
Lisa Curry had a long romance with Joel Walkenhorst – who was called her ‘toy boy’ cruel for being 20 years younger
After his divorce from Walkenhorst, Curry married Elvis impersonator Mark Tabone in 2018
Lisa’s love life then took a different turn. The fitness trainer broke up in 2015 with Wolkenhorst. “We argued so much about nothing, I lost count,” he said.
She quickly found a partner elsewhere. In October of the following year, Lisa announced she was engaged to entertainer Mark Tabone, a father of four.
Tabone is best known as an Elvis impersonator, who has traveled the world with a tribute show.
They got married in 2018 and this week he issued his own statement to mark Jaimi’s death.
“While your mom and dad cry your loss, I feel lost and burdened too,” Tabone said.
“No one should ever lose their child.”
There is no doubt that Jaimi’s death is a tragedy that affects everyone who got into the famous family’s orbit.
For free and confidential support, please contact Lifeline at 13 11 14 or the Butterfly Foundation, for eating disorder issues at 1800 ED HOPE
LISA CURRY’S DAUGHTER HAS A LONG EATING BATTLE
Rest in peace: Jaimi Kenny and her mother Lisa
By Josh Hanrahan
The daughter of Australian sports greats Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny had long struggled with an eating disorder, with her family supporting her through years of treatment in a private clinic.
Jaimi Kenny passed away Monday morning at Sunshine Coast University Hospital, surrounded by her family, including her Olympic mother and Ironman father.
The 33-year-old was supported by her parents and siblings during years of treatment at private End ED clinic, on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
The clinic’s shattered staff said they couldn’t discuss Jaimi’s struggles, but shared how she became part of the ‘family’ over the years.
Despite her weight problems, friends of Jaimi told how she always brought “light and laughter” into the lives of those around her.
Lisa Curry tragically marked her daughter’s death.
‘Our hearts are completely broken. Our beautiful daughter Jaimi has lost her battle with a long illness and passed away peacefully in hospital yesterday morning with her loving family by her side, ”Lisa wrote.
‘So loved. Very nice. So nice to everyone … So painful. I can barely breathe. ‘