Damien Hardwick’s ex-wife has claimed she has moved on after the couple’s shock split – even though she intends to keep her former husband’s surname.
Danielle broke her silence on the marriage breakdown with the Richmond coach after spending 25 years together and raising three children.
‘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.’
In December, it was revealed that Danielle had separated from Hardwick. One month later, their deteriorated relationship made headlines when it was revealed Hardwick had struck up a relationship with young staffer Alexandra Crow.
Damien Hardwick’s ex-wife has claimed she has moved on after the couple’s shock split – even though she intends to keep her former husband’s surname (pictured, Damien and Danielle Hardwick in 2017)
Danielle broke her silence on the marriage breakdown with the Richmond coach after spending 25 years together and raising three children
Danielle admitted she was still coming to terms with the separation months on from the incident.
‘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,’ she said.
‘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.’
While the pair were still married, Hardwick affectionately referred to Danielle as ‘Mrs Hardwick’ during his press conferences.
Danielle said the pair were the ultimate team and that she would keep the last name as it had become a part of her.
‘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 said she believed Hardwick was working in a ‘selfish’ football environment.
‘It is an old school environment, there is not really any way around it,’ she said.
‘Everyone is trying to evolve and that is wonderful, but it is male dominated and the life of a footballer and the life of a coach, for want of a better word, can become a very selfish existence, because it is a demanding role and you are watching over the welfare of many, many young men so it does feel very important.’
In January, Danielle made an explicit social media post that read:’F**k every single person that took advantage of your kindness and mistook it for weakness.’
The message came as details of her husband’s new relationship became public.
Hardwick’s new lover was revealed as his club’s own sales representative, Alexandra Crow.
Ms Crow had been spotted with Hardwick in the lead-up to Christmas, drinking openly with him at a busy Melbourne rooftop pub.
One witness told Daily Mail Australia the pair did not appear to be having a good time.
Danielle admitted she was still coming to terms with the separation months on from the incident (pictured, Hardwick and Danielle are pictured at a birthday celebration)
Damien Hardwick and wife Danielle have three children together. He is now dating another woman
‘They seemed stressed. Unhappy. But we instantly noticed it was Hardwick with someone who wasn’t his wife,’ the source said.
Hardwick’s relationship with the young Richmond staffer allegedly developed while the pair were caged inside the Queensland hub.
The hub, introduced so the competition could continue during the pandemic, was blamed for putting pressure on families.
Daily Mail Australia has been told the Richmond coach began the taboo relationship with Ms Crow – known widely as Alex – during the Tigers’ time in the hub while still married to wife Danielle.
Hardwick – a three-time premiership coach with the Tigers – allegedly split with his wife in December.
The couple have three children together.
By then rumours of the split had already been swirling for weeks on BigFooty.com, which has become a huge breaker of footy scandals.
In December, it was revealed Hardwick and Danielle had separated. Hardwick struck up a relationship with younger staffer Alexandra Crow
Hardwick (pictured, left) with Dustin Martin (right) in September after the AFL Grand Final
Ms Hardwick’s first post in January was supported by several friends and fans who offered their condolences at her private life being played out so publicly.
Ms Hardwick was affectionately referred to as ‘Mrs Hardwick’ among players during her longstanding relationship with the decorated coach.
She spent Christmas with the family of Tigers captain Trent Cotchin, and is ‘well loved’ within the club.
Cotchin’s wife Brooke has publicly supported Ms Hardwick, sharing a photograph of her holding her son Parker with the words ‘strength, courage and dignity’ in the frame.