Affair shock: Secret betrayal that tore Lewis family apart
Wally Lewis' marriage breakdown was sparked by a years-long secret affair that continued even after being confronted by his devastated wife Jackie and confessing to the relationship.
The King's relationship with Townsville volunteer worker and writer Lynda Adams has torn the footy legend's family apart with their three high-profile children so angry they can barely talk to their famous father, and their mother selling the family home.
The Courier-Mail can reveal the cracks in what would become a family breakdown appeared when Jackie confronted her husband almost three years ago after growing suspicious about his behaviour.
Those close to the pair say that after being quizzed by a suspicious Jackie, the former Australia, Queensland and Brisbane Broncos rugby league captain finally came clean about the affair.
But despite the confession, the Channel 9 commentator continued the relationship, those close to the family say.
A devastated Jackie finally had enough and sold the shattered family's Birkdale home out from under the football star.
He told friends he was stunned to learn it had been put on the market.
Lewis has prominently portrayed himself as a family man, as little as two months ago saying in a new biography how he was blessed to be married to Jackie and the way they had raised a family.
That family has been wrought asunder by the affair, with Lewis' three children left furious at the treatment of their mother, friends say.
Jackie has been described as the "rock" of the family, raising the family while Lewis, 61, rose to the top of the rugby league tree before moving across to media presenting and commentating.
Enraged at his treatment of their mother, actor son Lincoln refuses to talk to his father, while his brother Mitch and daughter Jamie-Lee are struggling and angry, those close to the family say.
While a public statement issued by the football legend's employer Channel 9 tried to paint the secret affair as 'The King" being in "another relationship", those close to the family say it had been going on for years.
The pair are understood to have met frequently in Townsville as "King Wally" covered Cowboys matches as a commentator.
Nine bosses are understood to have been aware there was turmoil in Lewis' life for the past 18 months.
The Queensland icon yesterday declined to answer questions about the affair that has riven his family.
"I have been at pains to say that our family as much as we are public figures ask that our privacy at this sad time be respected," he said in a text message.
"We cannot control gossip but we know the true facts and much of this is simply not true.
"I will not be making any comments about this very private and sensitive matter."
While the league legend has remained publicly silent on details of the split, he has told friends he is genuinely in love with Lynda and sees a long-term future with her.
Despite his love of Lynda, Lewis approached Jackie about reconciling but his devastated wife of 36 years rejected that request and proceeded with the house sale.
Lewis was absent from Brisbane's Nine News bulletin on Monday following a series of meetings at the Mt Coot-tha newsroom throughout the day.
"Wally and Jackie Lewis separated last year after 36 years of marriage. It has been a difficult time for everyone in the family and they are still working through the details of the separation," the statement from Nine read.
Asked yesterday how long Nine had known about the affair and whether Lewis would continue his on-air duties, a spokeswoman said the network was "respecting the request from the family to not make any further comment".
Lynda did not respond to requests for comment.
Lewis has been inundated with support from the NRL world, fielding a host of phone calls the day after news of the marriage split broke, with Channel 9 colleagues including NRL Immortal Andrew Johns getting in touch.
Meanwhile, the hurt inside the family continues.
A friend close to the Lewis clan has confirmed that all three of the couple's kids, now adults, have well and truly sided with their mother.
It is understood Lincoln in particular has thrown his full support behind his mother, with whom the 33-year-old former Home and Away star is - and always has been - "extremely close".
"Lincoln and his mum have always been very tight … he's very much his mother's boy," a close Lewis friend said.
"She was the one who really encouraged him to pursue acting and always took a much bigger (parenting) role in his life.
"He has always been open about that with people close to him. He has been known to say that he was raised by his mother."
Other family and friends are also believed to be rallying around Jackie, who wed the Queensland league legend back in 1984 after a whirlwind courtship of just 16 days.
Lincoln and Jackie declined to comment when contacted this week.
Two months ago Lewis launched his biography My Life, written with Steve Haddan, and described how he was "blessed" to have Jackie.
In the final chapter of his book Lewis wrote: "When you've raised children like ours, you know you've done something right.
"That's what you want. It's not about your success or what you've done. It's about how you treat people, especially the ones you love.
"Jackie and I are celebrating 36 years of marriage. I am blessed."
Originally published as Affair shock: Secret betrayal that tore Lewis family apart