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Australia Sam and Phoebe's split started with a 'shoosh' at their WEDDING

19:25  07 october  2020
19:25  07 october  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Sam Burgess, Sam Burgess, Tom Burgess, Sam Burgess, Tom Burgess, Luke Burgess posing for a photo: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

The tension was obvious at the wedding of Sam and Phoebe Burgess in the picturesque New South Wales Southern Highlands in December 2015.

While there were smiles on the faces of the bride and groom as they walked up the aisle hand-in-hand, within hours guests would be wondering if things would last.

Corporate high-flyer Mitch Hooke and his wife Sarah had opened the gates of the family farm up to Australia's elite - business leaders, politicians and socialites - their kind of people.

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Also now among them were rugby league players and friends of their new in-laws, the blue collar Burgess clan raised in a rough part of North England.

And by the time the eldest Burgess brother had given his best man speech, crack in the unlikely union has already appeared, with Luke loudly 'shooshed' by Mr Hooke.

Sam Burgess et al. posing for the camera: Sam and Phoebe married in a lavish ceremony at her parents estate in the Southern Highlands in 2015, but within hours the tension between their two families was evident with guests left to wonder if things would last © Provided by Daily Mail Sam and Phoebe married in a lavish ceremony at her parents estate in the Southern Highlands in 2015, but within hours the tension between their two families was evident with guests left to wonder if things would last Laura Hettiger et al. posing for a photo: The Hooke family has closed ranks around Phoebe since she split with her husband. The Hooke women are pictured left to right: mother Sarah, and sisters Harriet, Jemima and Phoebe with father Mitch at the back © Provided by Daily Mail The Hooke family has closed ranks around Phoebe since she split with her husband. The Hooke women are pictured left to right: mother Sarah, and sisters Harriet, Jemima and Phoebe with father Mitch at the back

At the reception Sam's friend and former teammate Luke Keary reportedly got into a confrontation with Gene Fairbanks, a onetime rugby union star and Phoebe's brother-in-law.

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The same farm was the location of an alleged incident in October last year which led to police taking out an interim apprehended violence order on behalf of Mr Hooke against his son-in-law.

After bombshell allegations about Sam Burgess were printed in The Australian last week, the relationship between the two families deteriorated further.

On Wednesday the South Sydney legend's lawyer in court accused Phoebe or Mr Hooke of giving a damning statement about Burgess to the newspaper out of 'malice or retaliation'.

Tom Burgess, Sam Burgess, Julie Burgess, Tom Burgess posing for a photo: While the Hooke's grew up living a life of luxury, the blue collar Burgess clan came from North England where the family matriarch Julie (centre) admits that 'money was tight' © Provided by Daily Mail While the Hooke's grew up living a life of luxury, the blue collar Burgess clan came from North England where the family matriarch Julie (centre) admits that 'money was tight'

Both families have closed ranks and the gulf between them seems wider than ever.

While Sam and his brothers attended a mixed school in West Yorkshire, Phoebe and her two sisters went to Frensham, an all-girls school that costs up to $35,000-a-year.

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Like his daughters, Mr Hooke had gone to a private school, boarding at Geelong College with his brothers while his father - a World War II pilot - worked a sheep farm.

After being lured to Canberra he secured numerous high-paying jobs and set up the family at their Southern Highlands property, Daffodil Downs.

The Hooke family regularly travelled overseas, taking ski holidays alongside the rich and famous in Aspen, Colorado.

About the time of Phoebe's graduation her conservative-leaning father, now a key powerbroker in Canberra, was making major waves in Australian politics.

As the head of the Minerals Council, Mr Hooke played a key role in derailing then-Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd's planned mining tax.

He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2016 in acknowledgement of his 30 years in public life.

In contrast to the Hooke family story, Julie Burgess admits that when she and late husband Mark were raising four boys there was little money to spare and the lads regularly wore hand-me-down clothes.

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WHO ARE THE BURGESS FAMILY?

JULIE: A former high school deputy headmaster, the matriarch of the family is renowned for defending her four boys, always. She followed her sons to Australia in 2012 after they had established careers with South Sydney

MARK: The boys' father died in 2007 at age 45 after a long battle with motor neurone disease. While their towering height comes from Julie, Mark is credited for giving the boys their brawn and toughness.

LUKE: The oldest of the four boys, he is known to his brothers as 'Biffa'. Luke moved to Australia in 2011 to play for South Sydney. He began dating model Yolanda Hodgson and the couple have a daughter Grace, but split in 2019.

SAM: The first of the family to make the move to Sydney, he quickly became a key part of the Rabbitohs outfit. After a few years together he married Phoebe Hooke in 2015, before their public split in late 2018. They have two children, Poppy and Billy.

TOM: Tom and his twin brother George are the youngest members of the family. He was the last of the family to move to Australia in 2011. He is engaged to Tahlia Giumelli and the couple are currently expecting a second child.

GEORGE: The 28-year-old has returned to England to play in the Super League having married wife Joanna in 2016. The couple have three children under the age of three.

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a group of football players posing for a photo: Tom, George, Luke and Sam Burgess stand on either side of their mother Julie after their first appearance in first grade together in 2013 © Provided by Daily Mail Tom, George, Luke and Sam Burgess stand on either side of their mother Julie after their first appearance in first grade together in 2013

'As the mum of a young family with four boys aged under 5 growing up in the North of England, money was tight,' Mrs Burgess admitted earlier this year.

'I loved to dress the boys in the same outfits, especially the twins!'

Things then got even harder in the early 2000s, when Mark Burgess was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

In the years between his father's diagnosis and death, Sam nursed him through the worst days.

He would carry his ailing father upstairs to bed every night after the disease made it too difficult to walk, and financially supported the family as best he could.

The experience made him 'colder', Sam admitted back in 2014.

Mark died in 2007 when he was 45 and Sam just 18.

The four brothers rallied for one another and their mother, with Sam leading the family on their move to Australia in 2010.

He was followed by Luke, and twins George and Tom, and by the time mum Julie arrived in town in 2012, the Burgess name was arguably the most famous in rugby league.

In 2014 the four brothers helped secure South Sydney a premiership drought-breaking title.

Now they all drive flashy cars and have homes in some of Sydney's best suburbs.

While Sam remains hunkered down inside the Coogee apartment he shares with his older brother Luke, his lawyer Bryan Wrench took the Hooke family to task in court.

Mr Wrench told Moss Vale Local Court Phoebe Burgess or her father Mitchell Hooke might have committed contempt of court by co-operating with the media.

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Mr Wrench raised his concerns during the mention of an apprehended violence order involving the South Sydney Rabbitohs legend at Moss Vale Local Court on Wednesday.

He said Phoebe Burgess had made a 50-page statement to police about her ex-husband which had never been seen by him but which appeared in The Australian newspaper.

'To be quite blunt, it appears that this is born out of either malice or retaliation,' Mr Wrench told the court.

At the same time Mr Wrench was making the allegations in court, just a 10-minute drive away it was business as usual at the Hooke farm.

Mr Hooke emerged from bushes at the front of the property when approached by Daily Mail Australia then retreated up the gravel driveway steering a ride-on mower.

He was joined at the stables by his wife Sarah and a cattle dog.

Asked via the intercom if Mr Hooke would like to discuss what had happened in court, a woman believed to be Mrs Hooke said: 'No comment, thank you.'

Sam Burgess poses with his mum while enjoying the Rabbitohs game

  Sam Burgess poses with his mum while enjoying the Rabbitohs game Mrs Burgess uploaded a picture of the pair in Twitter on Saturday night as the family continue to rally around the 31-year-old following a raft of explosive allegations of his personal life.Mrs Burgess shared a photo of the pair on Saturday night as the family continues to rally around the 31-year-old following a raft of allegations about his personal life.

Mr Wrench said Phoebe's statement had never been filed in court or provided to Burgess but was quoted at length in The Australian in what Mr Wrench described as 'orchestrated propaganda'.

He said his client 'categorically denied' the allegations of domestic violence in the statement.

He said there was no lawful basis for parts of the statement to appear in the media before it was heard in court.

Magistrate Ian Cheetham asked Mr Wrench who he was suggesting could have committed contempt of court.

Mr Wrench replied that either Phoebe Burgess or Mr Hooke 'have been engaged in long conversations with The Australian'.

Burgess was hit with an apprehended violence order taken out by police on behalf of Mr Hooke after an alleged confrontation between the pair last October.

He has pleaded not guilty to intimidating his 63-year-old father-in-law, who he is banned from approaching or contacting.

Mr Wrench told the same court last year Mr Hooke had made false allegations against his client, and there had been 'no violence, no intimidation, no threats'.

Burgess denied any wrongdoing. 'He wishes to fight this matter,' Mr Wrench said.

a couple of people that are standing in the grass: Mitch Hooke ran the Minerals Council of Australia where he led the charge against prime minister Kevin Rudd's failed mining tax. He is pictured with daughters Phoebe (centre) and Harriet. Mr Hooke was made a member of the Order of Australia in 2016 (pictured) © Provided by Daily Mail Mitch Hooke ran the Minerals Council of Australia where he led the charge against prime minister Kevin Rudd's failed mining tax. He is pictured with daughters Phoebe (centre) and Harriet. Mr Hooke was made a member of the Order of Australia in 2016 (pictured) a smiling man and woman posing for a picture: A close friend told The Daily Telegraph that Burgess was particularly upset about the allegations regarding his marriage to ex-wife Phoebe Burgess. The former couple is pictured together at a David Jones event in Sydney on February 7, 2018 © Provided by Daily Mail A close friend told The Daily Telegraph that Burgess was particularly upset about the allegations regarding his marriage to ex-wife Phoebe Burgess. The former couple is pictured together at a David Jones event in Sydney on February 7, 2018

Police were called to the Hooke family home at Glenquarry, just outside Bowral, on October 19 following an 'incident'.

It is alleged Burgess was at the property for an arranged visit with his two children who had been staying there with their 30-year-old mother.

Mr Hooke reportedly asked the dual code international to leave the property, which Burgess did, but police were called about 5pm.

A subsequent interim AVO taken out against Burgess banned him from going within 1km of the property or contacting Mr Hooke.

Mr Wrench told the court in December there had been no further 'incidents' since October 19.

'We do not want to contact the complainant,' he said. 'We have not done so since the day of the incident.'

Mr Wrench told the court Burgess 'understood his obligations' under the order.

'He does not wish to make contact with the complainant, especially when he's made false allegations about what has occurred on this day,' Mr Wrench said.

Claims of Burgess's allegedly excessive partying and accusations about his conduct towards Phoebe were made in The Australian newspaper last week.

Burgess's media lawyer Mark O'Brien has said: 'The allegations are false and constitute an indefensible defamation against my client.'

'It is apparent sources of the false allegations are those currently in dispute with my client over various issues.'

The NRL's integrity unit has commenced an inquiry into the fresh Burgess allegations and the New South Wales Police Force has formed Strike Force Irrabella to investigate.

Staff members at Souths have also been accused of ignoring Burgess's alleged indiscretions.

Among the major allegations were claims about an incident inside the Burgess home at Maroubra, in Sydney's east, in November 2018 when the father-of-two was behaving erratically.

A former teammate of Burgess will be questioned by police over Zoom this week from the UK, where he is playing in the English Super League.

Jason Clark was the person Phoebe Burgess turned to during the 2018 incident with Sam at their home, The Australian reported.

Evidence Clark gives to police could form a key part of the investigation into Burgess and South Sydney, as well as the team's medical staff.

Clark had attended the couple's house along with Burgess' mother Julie, who had brought Sam and older brother Luke home from a city hotel.

Mr Hooke and his wife Sarah were also reportedly at the house.

Detectives have already interviewed Phoebe and visited several relevant locations, including an underground car park where Burgess allegedly received medical treatment.

A pharmacy linked to the club's doctor Andrew McDonald has also reportedly been visited by police.

Souths co-owner, Hollywood star Russell Crowe, could be called to give evidence before the NRL inquiry.

Sam Burgess with a football ball: Since his retirement in October 2019, Burgess has been a coach at former club South Sydney Rabbitohs. He has now stood down from that role © Provided by Daily Mail Since his retirement in October 2019, Burgess has been a coach at former club South Sydney Rabbitohs. He has now stood down from that role

Burgess has been holed-up at his home in Coogee, in Sydney's east, since the allegations were published.

He stood down from his off-field coaching role with the club and commentary role with Fox League has been left 'devastated' by the accusations against him, a close friend told The Daily Telegraph.

'He is angry and feels like he doesn't have a voice,' the friend said.

'[The allegations are] something that is abhorrent to him, which makes it all the more harder to stomach.'

Souths CEO Blake Solly has said he knew nothing of the allegations made by The Australian until being contacted by journalists.

On Sunday morning, club coach Wayne Bennett also said he had only just become aware of the allegations.

a group of people posing for the camera: The Burgess family gathered for crisis talks in Sydney over the weekend after bombshell allegations about Sam's marriage and wild lifestyle were published in a newspaper report. Burgess's mother Julie is pictured leaving the discussions followed by Burgess's lawyer Bryan Wrench © Provided by Daily Mail The Burgess family gathered for crisis talks in Sydney over the weekend after bombshell allegations about Sam's marriage and wild lifestyle were published in a newspaper report. Burgess's mother Julie is pictured leaving the discussions followed by Burgess's lawyer Bryan Wrench Sam Burgess et al. posing for the camera: Sam Burgess' mum Julie (left) reportedly had to drag the NRL star home following one partying incident in Sydney's CBD in 2018 © Provided by Daily Mail Sam Burgess' mum Julie (left) reportedly had to drag the NRL star home following one partying incident in Sydney's CBD in 2018

'I've been here since 2018 and I knew nothing about it until I'd been told in the last 24 hours,' Bennett said.

'I have never had a player or any staff member talk to me about it in any shape or form.

'They are allegations. When we get all the facts together and see this at the end of the day, we will take another position on it and make another statement.'

Ms Burgess remains with her family in Bowral, caring for the two young children she shares with Burgess.

Her manager Sharon Finnigan said: 'Phoebe is trying to get by and manage and care for her two children… She is doing her best as a single mother.'

Meanwhile in Coogee, Burgess's mother Julie and brother Luke met with the former NRL star on Saturday. They were joined by Mr Wrench.

Sam Burgess, Doretta Papadimitriou posing for the camera: Serious allegations about Sam Burgess' marriage and wild lifestyle were published in a newspaper report. He is pictured with ex-wife Phoebe © Provided by Daily Mail Serious allegations about Sam Burgess' marriage and wild lifestyle were published in a newspaper report. He is pictured with ex-wife Phoebe

In the wake of the initial article in The Australian, more bombshell claims about Burgess have come to light.

They included Julie Burgess  being required to pull Sam and Luke away from a swanky Sydney hotel where they were staying before the incident at Maroubra house.

Sam and Luke had been partying at The Establishment, in Sydney's central business district, on November 5, 2018, after a farewell barbeque for then teammate Clark.

Phoebe was pregnant and at home while her husband reportedly celebrated over the course of the day.

According to a report in the Telegraph, Phoebe called Mrs Burgess and asked her to find her husband.

Bob Uecker et al. posing for the camera: Phoebe's father Mitch and mother Sarah are pictured with her 20-month-old son Billy. The couple lives in the New South Wales Southern Highlands © Provided by Daily Mail Phoebe's father Mitch and mother Sarah are pictured with her 20-month-old son Billy. The couple lives in the New South Wales Southern Highlands

Mrs Burgess asked Establishment staff for the number of her sons' room and was eventually able to convince them to leave, the report claimed.

'Julie virtually had to drag Sam and Luke to her car by their ears, but somehow she got them out of that room and into her car,' a source claimed.

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said the league had launched an investigation into the claims against Burgess but they would not take action based only on allegations.

'The action we have taken is to initiate the investigation,' he said on Friday.

'Because these are allegations, we don't have the facts before us, we're not going to be taking any further action until we have the information needed to do that.

'However, I believe that Sam Burgess has stood himself down from South Sydney Rabbitohs duties this weekend.

'And I also believe that he has stood down from Fox Sports as well.'

Mr Abdo said the claims against Burgess were 'very serious allegations'.

'We will look to work with the club to find out what happened and to get to the bottom of the facts.

'We will also cooperate with the NSW Police, who have also begun an investigation into the matter.

'If these allegations are proven, we will take the strongest possible action that we can.'

The Burgesses married at Phoebe's parents home in December 2015 and separated in December 2018, weeks after the birth of their son Billy.

The couple had rekindled their relationship by April 2019 but split again last October.

Their divorce was finalised in April. They also have an older daughter, Poppy.

Burgess was medically retired last October after a spate of injuries, but stayed at the Rabbitohs where he has been working as a development coach with the squad.

a close up of a man: Souths co-owner, Hollywood star Russell Crowe, could be called to give evidence before the NRL inquiry. Burgess has been holed-up at his home in Coogee, in Sydney's east, since the allegations were published. Crowe is pictured with Burgess after Souths' 2014 grand final win © Provided by Daily Mail Souths co-owner, Hollywood star Russell Crowe, could be called to give evidence before the NRL inquiry. Burgess has been holed-up at his home in Coogee, in Sydney's east, since the allegations were published. Crowe is pictured with Burgess after Souths' 2014 grand final win Read more

Sam Burgess poses with his mum while enjoying the Rabbitohs game .
Mrs Burgess uploaded a picture of the pair in Twitter on Saturday night as the family continue to rally around the 31-year-old following a raft of explosive allegations of his personal life.Mrs Burgess shared a photo of the pair on Saturday night as the family continues to rally around the 31-year-old following a raft of allegations about his personal life.

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