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SHE WAS involved in one of the most public breakups of the year.
When singer and Neighbours star Candice Alley endured a very public and bitter split from Olympic swimmer Grant Hackett, their names and intimate details of their relationship dominated Australian headlines.
Just 5 years after tying the knot in a lavish ceremony in Albert Park in 2007, the pair decided to call it quits under “bitter circumstances” in 2012.
“I can confirm media speculation this morning that Candice and I have separated,” Hackett said in a statement at the time.
“I want to be dignified in my approach to everything and ensure the children’s needs are paramount and put first.
After a drunken rage in 2011 following Derby Day, Hackett trashed his Melbourne apartment, overturning a piano and furniture, smashing doors and putting holes in walls.
Seven months after the incident, the couple decided to go their separate ways in May 2012.
At the time of the separation, their twin children Charlize and Jagger were just two-years-old.
Now, four years after calling it quits, Alley has spoken out about being a single mother in an exclusive interview with Kidspot, about why living in an unhappy relationship served as no benefit to her children.
“I think staying in an unhealthy relationship around your children is counter-productive for the children,” Ms Alley, who is now 34, told Kidspot.
“My children are very happy because of some of the decisions I’ve made. Being a mum is the most important job in the world because you’re raising people and trying to shape them. All you can do is the best you can.”
Alley admits to making a very proactive effort in keeping her twins out of the spotlight, and away from the media storm around the breakup.
“Luckily with my children, they didn’t have any idea of what was going on,” she said.
“I didn’t have to do any explaining. It was easier for me.”
This isn’t the first time Alley has spoken about her relationship and separation to Hackett. In 2015, the singer revealed in an interview with New Idea that she “ran out of tears” following their split.
“It was so exhausting,” she said of their five-year marriage.
“It was new for me to read in newspapers that Grant said our marriage was one of those that was probably doomed to fail from the start, and that he wanted to leave,” she said.
“That was quite contrary to the way it was, at least through the first half of the marriage, he never indicated this once to me.”
Since their separation, Alley dedicates most of her time to her young children — who are now six — especially as they attend different schools, which come with different requirements.
“I decided to keep them apart because they’re twins,” she said.
“I don’t mind doing the two school drop offs, there’s just a bit of delegating that needs to be done.
“My mum and sister help me here and there, but I do the drop offs in the mornings unless I have to be on the Neighbours set early.”
Alley says while being a single parent “is hard”, she has no interest in dating at the moment.
“I’m happily single. I love being a mum to my children,” she said.
“I have my blinkers on when it comes to dating. I’m definitely not looking.
“As a single mum it is hard, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Everything is on my terms and we have a really happy household.
“I feel like I had a bad twenties and then when I turned 30, everything just got better and better. I think I look my age, but I feel extremely old. I’ve been through a lot. I had twins at 27 and I feel like I’ve been through possibly what a 45-year-old woman has been through all in one go. “Everything has happened to me over the course of eight years.
Candice, who admitted she changed her name back immediately after the split to Hackett, said she rarely puts her children on Facebook — because she likes to be a private person.
“Because of the position I’m in, I don’t want to expose them in that way,” she said.
“I know a lot of mums post pictures of their kids a little too much, like: “Here I am, I just did a nappy change!”
It’s a little too much and I think it’s a bit dangerous as well. Your publicising your child to the world.”
Candice Alley currently stars on Neighbours as ‘Cecilia Saint’, and joined the cast in 2015. She shot to fame in 2003 with her single Falling. The 34-year-old iscurrently working on a new album, after not writing a single song in eight years.
“I have a lot to say,” she admitted.