Footy fans got a touching reminder of Damien Hardwick’s love life as he thanked his family – and his new partner – during his resignation announcement on Tuesday morning.
After explaining why he is leaving Richmond, the iconic coach praised his family and ex-wife Danielle and girlfriend Alexandra Crow – who was spotted beaming at him from the front row – for their support after he took over as Tigers boss in 2010 .
“Danielle and the kids, I’m eternally grateful for what you’ve given me, the support you’ve given me,” said Hardwick.
“And Alex, thank you for the new journey, and of course your support has been phenomenal over the past few months.”
Tearful Richmond coach Damien Hardwick thanked his family – and new partner – after confirming on Tuesday that he is leaving the AFL club with immediate effect
Hardwick’s girlfriend Alexandra Crow (pictured right, in green) was spotted beaming at her partner at the announcement
Damien Hardwick and his ex-wife Danielle have three children together – Isabelle, Imogen and Ben – after 25 years of marriage
Hardwick reportedly met Ms. Crow while working for Richmond’s commercial sales team in 2020.
They officially became a couple when Hardwick left Danielle, his wife of 25 years and mother of his children, in December of that year.
Crow and the ex-coach were first spotted together in January 2021.
When Hardwick and Danielle’s divorce became official, she took aim at her ex, calling him and the AFL “selfish.”
“It’s an old-fashioned environment, you can’t really ignore it,” she said.
“Everyone is trying to evolve and that’s great, but it’s dominated by men and the life of a footballer and the life of a coach, for lack of a better word, can become a very selfish existence.”
“Because it’s a demanding role and you’re watching over the well-being of a lot of young men, so it feels very important.”
She also chose to keep her last name before revealing the breakup’s impact on their children.
Danielle opted to keep her former husband’s surname when their relationship fell apart (pictured together in 2017), labeling him and the AFL as ‘selfish’
Hardwick and Crow (pictured in September 2021) reportedly met when she was employed by Richmond in 2020
“I’m Mrs. Hardwick now, I’m not Mrs. Hardwick anymore,” she said, explaining that the surname was her identity and that she wanted to keep to turn a negative into a positive.
“I’m doing my best to stay dignified, so how I feel is 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.
“I think when you’re planning a life with your best friend, your partner with whom you’ve spent your entire adult life… there’s a definite loss when that’s gone. So I’m on my way to being, well, okay, sure.
“There’s certainly every raw emotion that comes with this situation, but we all have a choice of how we’re going to respond to this and I wanted to respond with dignity and respect for my kids.”
The ex-Tigers coach and Crow bought a $2.3 million terraced house in central Melbourne (pictured) in June 2021, a clear sign of how serious their relationship is
The seriousness of the former Essendon and Port Power player’s relationship with Crow was underscored in June 2021 when they paid $2.3 million for a terraced house in the Melbourne suburb of Elwood.
They started renovating the property and even started an Instagram page to update their followers on how the transformation was going.
“The short-term plan is to brighten her up both internally and externally and take advantage of her flexibility. Plan for the long term… turn her back into one, respecting her heritage and original features while shaping her modern,” they wrote.
In February last year, Hardwick opened up about the difficult 12 months he had just been through.
“My personal life is my personal life and that has been a challenge to deal with, not so much for me but for Danielle and the kids,” he said.
“It was challenging at times, but you just try to deal with the punches as best you can.”
Crow was previously in a relationship with Carlton Football Club director Daniel Giese, with whom she owned a $1.2 million home in Ascot Vale.