A newlywed jockey who suffered a traumatic brain injury after being kicked in the head by a horse has revealed that she and her husband have suffered an acrimonious split.
Juana Andreou, 29, fought for life in an induced coma after she was hit by a horse she was grooming at Flemington’s stables, in Melbourne’s inner city, on July 4 last year, prompting her new husband Jesse Hemmens to take a share romantic message.
Mr. Hemmens, whom she married just three months before the accident, publicly promised to “stay by her side” and nurse his wife back to health, just as she had done for him twelve months earlier.
However, in a tragic twist, Ms Andreou revealed last week that their marriage had fallen apart in the wake of the incident.
In a dramatic update on her recovery, Ms Andreou said she suffered a traumatic brain injury and is in a rehabilitation hospital where she receives ongoing treatment.
Juana Andreou, 29, has revealed that she and husband Jesse Hemmens have split
The couple is pictured together on their wedding day in Victoria’s Yarra Valley on April 22, 2022
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday, Ms Andreou said the relationship ended on an acrimonious note following a series of issues – including a dispute over a horse and over funds raised by a GoFundMe page following her injury – that had unfolded over the past few years between the couple had arisen. months.
Daily Mail Australia can also reveal that Ms Andreou and Mr Hemmens were also involved in a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) custody hearing in January.
Others in attendance included Ms. Andreou’s parents, the state trustee, the public attorney, and lawyers.
Custody hearings are held to select a supportive administrator or guardian who will help an adult make their own decisions when they have a disability.
Daily Mail Australia understands that Mr Hemmens has applied to become Ms Andreou’s guardian, which she and her parents will contest.
Mr Hemmens previously told Daily Mail Australia he would ‘remain by his wife’s side’ as she fought for her life in a coma
The couple is photographed on Christmas Day 2020, the day they got engaged
On Wednesday, Mr Hemmens would not comment on when the couple split or the legal proceedings, but warned it was “fraught” to report on the couple’s situation.
“Juana has suffered a devastating acquired brain injury and her rehabilitation is ongoing,” he told Daily Mail Australia.
“I urge you to be very sure of the facts before publishing any reports or comments on our situation.
“I have nothing else to say and do not intend to communicate further on a matter that is very personal to me.”
Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting any wrongdoing on behalf of Mr Hemmens, only that the pair are estranged.
The young couple exchanged vows at an intimate vineyard ceremony in Victoria’s Yarra Valley in front of family and friends on April 22, 2022.
Photos from the event show the couple beaming as they walked hand in hand down the aisle – the new Mrs Hemmens holding a bouquet in her right hand as her husband held their marriage certificate.
Just three months later, disaster struck when Ms Andreou was left in a ‘very critical condition’ while her family was told to prepare for the worst as she was rushed in and out of surgeries to stop the bleeding in her brain. adjusting pin.
Members of the racing industry jumped online to share their well wishes for the jockey following her accident last year
At the time of Ms Andreou’s accident, her husband promised to “stay by her side” and revealed that she had been there for him when he was hospitalized in the same intensive care unit in 2021.
“Juana is everything to me, my best friend and the most generous caring person you could wish for as a wife,” Hemmens told Daily Mail Australia at the time.
“I have had my own health issues for a long time and had surgery 12 months ago that went sideways and I almost died.
“She has never left my side and I will never leave her side.”
On Wednesday, Ms Andreou’s father, Arthur, said he was amazed at how far his daughter has come in the past nine months on her recovery journey.
He said she is fine and is back doing things she loved before the accident, including arguing with her horse during a recent visit to her childhood home.
“I cried almost every day, I thought we almost lost her,” said Mr. Andreou.
Now she’s doing great. I’m blown away. The hospital is talking about firing her. We can’t wait to have her home.
“Every time I look at her I say ‘you’re amazing Juana’.”
The freak accident in July 2022 marked the end of a week of horror in the racing industry in which Ms Andreou – who has 48 career victories – became the third female jockey to be hospitalized within two days.
Ms Andreou’s father Arthur told Daily Mail Australia he is ‘overwhelmed’ by the recovery of his ‘amazing’ daughter
Lovers quickly rallied around Ms. Andreou and her new husband, with a GoFundMe set up to help Mr. Hemmens cover the cost of his wife’s treatment and the couple’s living expenses, raising $52,960 in just a few weeks fetched.
Ms Andreou’s injury came after two consecutive shock falls in NSW which left pupils Leah Kilner, 24, and Elissa Meredith, 27, in critical conditions.
Ms Kilner was put into an induced coma after suffering critical injuries when she fell off Stella’s Turn during the third track race at Grafton, her home track, on 3 July.
The following day, Elissa Meredith, 28, was taken to Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital with brain injuries and put into an induced coma after her horse Starlink fell during the Gunnedah races.
Ms Kilner suffered a brain injury, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, post-traumatic amnesia and a closed left eye with only 25 percent vision.
She miraculously regained consciousness and was released from the hospital in August to continue her rehabilitation from home.
Ms Meredith spent eight weeks in Newcastle before being transferred to a rehabilitation center in Sydney.