'I'm no saint': Barnaby Joyce confirms split from wife

Barnaby Joyce
Barnaby Joyce address Parliament in Canberra. Image: Getty

No matter your circumstances in life, marriage isn’t easy.

And no one knows that better than Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who confirmed on Thursday that he has separated from his wife of 24 years.

Joyce made the announcement in Parliament where he and other MPs were debating the same-sex marriage bill, which is expected to be made legal before the day’s end.

“I acknowledge that I’m currently separated, so that’s on the record,” the Nationals leader told Parliament.

“I didn’t come to this debate pretending to be a saint,” he said.

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Joyce backed the traditional definition of marriage during the debate, but acknowledged that “half of them fail”.

There had been speculation Joyce and his wife, Natalie, were no longer together given her absence during his recent re-election campaign in the seat of New England, Queensland.

While media had mostly refrained from covering the politician’s personal life, Joyce was reportedly accosted by an individual who raised his marital situation in a family pub during his election campaign.

The confrontation turned physical, with the Northern Daily Leader reporting that Joyce knocked the individuals hat off their head during the heated conversation.

Joyce met his wife at university and the pair married in 1993. They have four daughters together.

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His deeply personal admission was a far cry from his usual display in Parliament, which often involves plenty of shouting and bluster. 

Joyce returned to his role on the front bench on Wednesday after being sworn back in as Deputy Prime Minister five weeks after standing aside due to his dual New Zealand-Australian citizenship. 

Can you relate to what he’s going through here? Have you been through a marriage breakup?