Damien Hardwick’s ex-wife Danielle breaks silence on marriage breakdown with AFL coach

Danielle Hardwick has finally spoken publicly about the traumatising breakdown of her marriage with Richmond coach Damien.

Danielle Hardwick has spoken publicly for the first time since her marriage with Richmond coach Damien ended, defiantly saying she is no longer “Mrs Hardwick”.

In December last year it was revealed Damien and Danielle, who have three children together, had separated. The development in the three-time premiership winning mentor’s personal life created plenty of headlines and the media frenzy continued when it emerged he had started a new relationship with Alexandra Crow, a member of the Tigers’ commercial sales team.

Danielle, often referred to lovingly by Damien as “Mrs Hardwick” during press conferences when they were together, is trying to move on with a different phase of her life after the very public breakdown of her 25-year marriage.

She is still grieving about the unexpected exit of her “best friend” from her life.

“I am Ms Hardwick now, I am not Mrs Hardwick anymore,” she told Melbourne ABC radio on Saturday.

“I am doing my best to remain dignified, so how I am feeling is still a lot of mixed emotions for sure.

“There has been a serious grief process for myself and my gorgeous adult children and the grief is real.

“I guess when you plan a life with your best friend, your partner who you’ve spent your whole adult life with … there’s a definite loss when that’s not there anymore. So I’m on my way to being, well, OK, for sure.

“There’s certainly been every raw emotion that comes with this situation, but we all have a choice about how we will respond to these and I wanted to respond with dignity and respect my children.”

It’s been a difficult process coming to terms with the significant change to her life over the past year — something Danielle says has also affected her and Damien’s kids.

She added she was “100 per cent still grieving the loss of what we had as a family and as a companion”.

“In your darkest times when you’re incurring trauma, you really find out what you’re about,” she said.

Danielle also reflected on the way her ex-husband used to speak about her at press conferences, saying: “I think the reference to ‘Mrs Hardwick’ throughout that successful period was a reflection of Damien and I being the ultimate team.

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

“I am Ms Hardwick now, I am not Mrs Hardwick anymore and it is a family name so we are going to continue to embrace it.”

Danielle also revealed she is open to finding another partner.

“I am searching (for love) and I am from Sydney originally so you never know I might be swayed back that way,” she said.

“Yes, I am, it is official, I am a free agent, sure, let’s run with that.”

Damien coached Richmond to premierships in 2017, 2019 and 2020.

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