Phoebe Burgess speaks out after NRL ex-husband Sam was cleared of domestic violence allegations

Phoebe Burgess says she isn’t surprised her ex-husband was cleared of domestic abuse and drug allegations as she called on the NRL to ‘clean up’ the game.

Allegations against retired NRL star Sam Burgess have been dropped by NSW Police after his ex-wife accused him of domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse during their marriage.

The year-long investigation closed days after Phoebe gave an explosive interview in The Australian accusing the NRL of having a culture of misogyny.

She has since spoken out to stand by her claims, insisting she told the police the truth and that nothing about her life or story has changed.

Phoebe Burgess (pictured) says she isn't surprised NSW Police has closed its investigation into allegations about her ex-husband

Phoebe Burgess (pictured) says she isn’t surprised NSW Police has closed its investigation into allegations about her ex-husband

She now looks forward to moving on and focusing to provide a ‘safe, stable and respectful’ home for her two young children.

‘I am not surprised police feel unable to proceed to prosecution, and to be honest I feel some relief that my family’s trauma will now not be the subject of a criminal trial,’ she told The Australian.

She now hopes speaking out will prompt the NRL to address continuous scandals about drugs, sex and violence against women as she implored the code to do more.

I look forward to the day the NRL takes action to clean up this game, which has become the punchline of every terrible joke about sexism, violence and cover-ups,’ Phoebe added.

‘This is not the first episode, nor will it be the last, so I ask the NRL not to take a step back when it comes to reforming codes of conduct that allow situations like these to simply disappear.’

Phoebe Burgess (pictured with her ex-husband Sam in happier times) has called on the NRL to clean up the game and reform codes of conduct

Phoebe Burgess (pictured with her ex-husband Sam in happier times) has called on the NRL to clean up the game and reform codes of conduct

Phoebe added she’s been inundated with messages from thousands of women  sharing their own stories of feeling afraid in their own homes.

As NSW Police announced on Wednesday the matter had been dropped, Phoebe spent the day going on scooter rides and cooking with her children, which she shared to Instagram.

Her former mother-in-law Julie Burgess took to Instagram to share a photo of a statement issued by her son’s lawyer Chris Murphy

Famous faces, including Braith Anasta and John Sutton, soon flocked to give their support to the footy star.

‘NSW Police Operation Legal Advice Unit just ‘recommended no criminal prosecution(s) be preferred against Sam Burgess in relation to these allegations. That now concludes the investigation,’ Mr Murphy wrote on Twitter.

‘Much hurt and harm has been done to Sam Burgess. He has been damaged. He wants the public to be made aware that allegations have been thoroughly examined at length by NSW Police and there is nothing for him to be called to answer.’

Police have cleared Sam Burgess of any wrongdoing after a year-long investigation sparked by allegations of domestic abuse made by his ex-wife Phoebe

Police have cleared Sam Burgess of any wrongdoing after a year-long investigation sparked by allegations of domestic abuse made by his ex-wife Phoebe

Phoebe had accused the retired NRL star of domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse during their marriage. The allegations were published in The Australian newspaper in October last year and denied vehemently by Burgess at the time. Sam and Phoebe are pictured in 2016

Famous footballers including John Sutton and Braith Anasta threw their support behind Sam Burgess after his mother Julie announced on Wednesday (pictured, her social media post) that the police investigation had been dropped

Famous footballers including John Sutton and Braith Anasta threw their support behind Sam Burgess after his mother Julie announced on Wednesday (pictured, her social media post) that the police investigation had been dropped

Famous footballers quickly wrote in the comment’s section of Mrs Burgess’s post to rally behind the former South Sydney player and welcome his good news.

‘It was only a matter of time,’ retired rugby league legend Anasta wrote, alongside a heart emoji.

Minutes later, former Rabbitohs captain Sutton responded to the announcement with several raised hand emojis – which symbolise celebration and joy.

Ex-Cronulla Sharks winger Bryson Goodwin also rushed to offer his support, posting a number of the same hand icons.

Phoebe’s allegations were published in The Australian newspaper in October last year and denied vehemently by Burgess at the time.

Having spent more than 12 months looking at the claims New South Wales Police confirmed the investigation was over in a 12-word statement.

‘Following extensive inquiries, no further police action is expected to be taken,’ a spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.

Famous footballers including Braith Anasta (pictured with his wife Rachael Lee) and John Sutton have rallied behind Burgess after he was cleared of domestic violence allegations

Pictured: John Sutton and his long-time partner Stacey Shumack

Famous footballers including Braith Anasta (pictured left with his wife Rachael Lee) and John Sutton have rallied behind Burgess after he was cleared of domestic violence allegations

The original reports in The Australian followed ‘a four-month investigation’ and included statements from Phoebe and her father Mitchell Hooke.

The newspaper said the reports relied upon ‘pharmaceutical records, sworn statements to NSW Police, statutory declarations and witness accounts’.

They also drew on ‘call logs, emails, text messages, bank records, WhatsApp exchanges and Uber receipts.’

The allegations cost Burgess his coaching job with South Sydney and commentary work with Fox Sports.

Defamation lawyer Mark O’Brien, acting for Burgess, said after the stories were published: ‘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.’

Daily Mail Australia understands Burgess is not contemplating defamation action.

Burgess was cleared in March of having intimidated his father-in-law Mitchell Hooke during a confrontation at the Hooke family's Southern Highlands home in October 2019. Phoebe is pictured with her father and Burgess

Burgess was cleared in March of having intimidated his father-in-law Mitchell Hooke during a confrontation at the Hooke family’s Southern Highlands home in October 2019. Phoebe is pictured with her father and Burgess

Burgess's solicitor Bryan Wrench accused Phoebe and her father of setting out to destroy his client's reputation, which they denied. Burgess is pictured with Mr Wrench and mother Julie Burgess while defending a charge of intimidating Phoebe's father Mitchell Hooke

Burgess’s solicitor Bryan Wrench accused Phoebe and her father of setting out to destroy his client’s reputation, which they denied. Burgess is pictured with Mr Wrench and mother Julie Burgess while defending a charge of intimidating Phoebe’s father Mitchell Hooke

Phoebe had made a 50-page statement containing claims about her former husband’s lifestyle and accusations about his conduct towards her during their troubled relationship.

Much of that material was published in The Australian and NSW Police subsequently launched its own investigation, issuing a brief statement at the time.

‘On Wednesday 30 September 2020, officers from The Hume Police District received a report outlining various allegations relating to the conduct of a 31-year-old man,’ it stated.

‘Police have commenced inquiries and as these inquiries are in their infancy, no further comment will be provided at this time.’

The NRL began its own inquiry in October last year and has not yet revealed any findings.

‘Now that the police investigation is complete, the NRL Integrity Unit will be able to finalise its own investigation,’ an NRL spokesman said.

Burgess underwent a stint in rehabilitation earlier this year and appeared on the last season of SAS Australia (pictured) where he admitted infidelity with a woman in Melbourne in 2017

Burgess underwent a stint in rehabilitation earlier this year and appeared on the last season of SAS Australia (pictured) where he admitted infidelity with a woman in Melbourne in 2017

Burgess is pictured with the former couple's children Poppy, four, and Billy, two

Burgess is pictured with the former couple’s children Poppy, four, and Billy, two

Souths did not conduct a separate investigation but the club had said it was treating the allegations ‘with the utmost seriousness’ when they were originally made.

‘We were, and remain, supportive of and cooperative with the investigations undertaken by NSW Police and the NRL Integrity Unit,’ a club spokesman said on Wednesday.

‘We note the statement today from NSW Police and look forward to the NRL Integrity Unit finalising their investigation.’

The original newspaper stories came as Burgess was facing an accusation he had intimidated Mr Hooke in a confrontation at the Hooke family’s Southern Highlands home the previous year.

Burgess’s lawyers suggested Phoebe and her father had leaked information to The Australian ahead of the intimidation charge being heard.

Both agreed they had given information to The Australian but denied they had done so to destroy Burgess’s reputation.

Phoebe Burgess and her father Mitchell Hooke admitted giving information to The Australian newspaper which was investigated by police. Phoebe said she wanted to expose a culture of covering up bad behaviour by players, particularly towards women, in the NRL

Phoebe Burgess and her father Mitchell Hooke admitted giving information to The Australian newspaper which was investigated by police. Phoebe said she wanted to expose a culture of covering up bad behaviour by players, particularly towards women, in the NRL

Burgess was cleared in March of the intimidation charge and an accompanying apprehended violence order to protect Mr Hooke was withdrawn.

Phoebe has said she wanted to expose a toxic culture in the NRL which she claimed included covering up bad behaviour by players, particularly against women.

However, a newly uncovered article the social media influencer wrote in 2018  while her husband was embroiled in a sexting scandal highlights how her attitude towards the sport’s ‘toxic’ culture has swiftly changed.

Burgess, then one of the NRL’s biggest stars, was engulfed in a scandal when his Facebook account was used for a series of video chats between South Sydney players and a 23-year-old woman.

Leaked screenshots featured one unidentified player exposing his genitalia and another showing his naked backside during video calls in May 2018, which were revealed four months later.

The woman claimed to have been ‘violated and disgusted’ by the players’ actions but days after the scandal broke Phoebe wrote that she was a ‘fangirl’ who was equally to blame for the encounter.

Phoebe wrote about the incident at the time and claimed the woman, who she named, had flashed her breasts at the players in ‘a game of mutual group peek-a-boo’.

In a copy of the article, obtained by Daily Mail Australia Phoebe explained how she came to understand NRL players had ‘an overly relaxed attitude that comes with their penises – and a*** cracks.’

She had learned from her time around rugby league that a player answering his phone in public to ‘have a d*** pop up’ on a video chat was ‘pretty normal’.

‘Penis tapping’ and a player spinning his genitals like a helicopter’s blades were both ‘common practice as a sign of friendship and camaraderie’, she wrote.

Phoebe wrote an essay at the time of the 'sexting' incident in which she claimed the woman, who she named, had flashed her breasts at the players in 'a game of mutual group peek-a-boo'
Phoebe Burgess

Phoebe wrote an essay at the time of the ‘sexting’ incident in which she claimed the woman, who she named, had flashed her breasts at the players in ‘a game of mutual group peek-a-boo’

‘And I’ve learnt that flopping one’s d*** out is more about the humour of a reaction than an invitation to engage in phone sex or a rampid (sic) extramarital affair.

‘I’ve seen more flaccid penises being thrown around on consensual, friendship group chats than I have my own body parts.’

Phoebe’s laidback attitude to such sexting appears at odds with her recent championing of women who have been exposed to grubby behaviour by NRL players.

In a series of interviews and social media posts, she has alleged professional rugby league creates a toxic environment for susceptible young men and the NRL encourages a culture of disrespecting women.

Burgess has since undergone a stint in rehabilitation and appeared on the last season of SAS Australia where he admitted infidelity with a woman in Melbourne in 2017.

Sam and Phoebe married in 2015, separated in late 2018 and resumed their relationship in early 2019.

They split permanently on October 2 that year and later divorced. The former couple shares custody of daughter Poppy, four, and Billy, two.

Burgess pleaded guilty to driving with traces of cocaine in his system while picking up the children from Bowral in February and was put on a nine-month conditional release order in May.

This post first appeared on Daily mail

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