James Packer has been seeking treatment in rehab after sensationally quitting his business recently – citing mental health reasons at the time.
And now his ex fiancee Tziporah Malkah, formerly known as Kate Fischer, has spoken out in a rare interview to give an insight into the immense pressure his work had on him, and their relationship.
Speaking on Channel 9’s A Current Affair, the 44-year-old admitted it took her almost a decade to get over the break-up, and often fantasised about reuniting with the billionaire.
“I was heartbroken,” she said on the show. “I was very smitten with him, I was in love with him.”
Malkah claimed it ended up being Packer’s huge work commitments that proved too much for her, before she eventually called off their engagement.
“He was under so much pressure from work and I just refused to marry a credit card,” she added.
The Aussie billionaire stepped down as director of Crown Resorts, which owns casinos around Australia, in March – citing personal reasons.
“We have appreciated James’ contribution to the board and respect his decision to step down from his role as director at this time,” Crown’s executive chairman John Alexander said at the time.
But a spokesman for Packer’s private investment company Consolidated Press Holdings told news outlets that Packer was taking a step back from all commitments to focus on his mental health. “Mr Packer is suffering from mental health issues,” the spokesman said.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Packer recently left rehab and looked in good spirits as he enjoyed a break in Mexico with friends and his new partner, Kylie Lim, in recent weeks.
He got engaged to Malkah in 1996, however they called it off two years later after five years together. She had previously revealed her shock at his resignation, and praised him for speaking out.
Appearing on Channel 7’s Sunrise previously, she told the show’s hosts: “It’s a good thing that James has given the reason that he’s stepping back because of the stigma that’s still around about mental health issues.”
She added: “I was so shocked. For James, to step away from his business, the man I knew then… that’s the love of his life he was never going to give it up. For a man who’s so passionate, he must be really, really suffering.”
She said: “There were times he’d come home from work and be very withdrawn, very uncommunicative. For me, being so young and not understanding the business world and the pressures – particularly such a big business – I didn’t understand. But he would really go into his shell… sometimes for days at a time.”