Keating ended our marriage, wife says

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The Independent Online

Paul and Annita Keating were the political glamour couple with the perfect marriage, and Australians were aghast when the former Labour prime minister and his wife split up in 1998.

Paul and Annita Keating were the political glamour couple with the perfect marriage, and Australians were aghast when the former Labour prime minister and his wife split up in 1998.

Mr Keating appeared heartbroken, and everyone assumed it was his wife, a Dutch former Alitalia air stewardess, who instigated the separation. Not so, says Mrs Keating, breaking six years' of silence by the couple about their personal life.

She revealed in an interview that her husband had ended their 23-year marriage, informing her in front of friends at a dinner party in Canberra that it was over. "It was like being stabbed," she told the Bulletin news magazine.

Mrs Keating, whose clothes and hairstyles were the subject of endless public scrutiny during her husband's five-year tenure at the Lodge, the prime minister's official residence, said: "It wasn't my doing ... when he said it to me, I said it would be the biggest mistake he ever made in his life."

She said she was "devastated" when Mr Keating made a speech at a Labour conference in 1999 in which he said he would always love her, words interpreted as a plea for her return. "That hurt," she said.

Mr Keating dismissed the interview as "only one version of events", saying: "No onlooker can ever know what goes on inside a marriage." He said he was "saddened that she thought it was appropriate to share her views with the public".

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