From the outside looking in Sam and Phoebe Burgess appeared to be the happiest of couples.
But three years after tying the knot in a beautiful Southern Highlands, NSW, estate ceremony, the NRL player and his former journalist wife have separated.
While neither has yet made a formal announcement, a source close to the pair told The Daily Telegraph that “things have been bad for a while”.
“They tried to keep it together, but it all went to s--t, that’s the honest truth. It is pretty messy,” the source said.
The source also revealed that the break-up was difficult on Phoebe, especially after Sam’s mother, Julie, stood by her son during last year’s sexting scandal.
Sam was later cleared of any wrongdoing.
“It would have been hard for Phoebe because Julie would have completely stuck by Sam ... and there’s talk she didn’t offer Phoebe much support,” the source added.
Several reports suggest the couple were consistently overwhelmed by family tension – which began as early as their 2015 wedding.
Over Christmas, Sam was spotted spending festivities with his famous brothers and Phoebe was noticeably absent.
A family snap posted by Sam’s sister-in-law Joanna Burgess, who is married to his brother George – raised eyebrows online as she described the celebration as the “best one yet.”
Following the speculation that it was aimed at Phoebe amid her marriage breakdown, Joanna took to the social platform to confirm this was not the case.
“No need to drag my family or I into any of this – thank you,” Joanna wrote.
“It is not in my nature to take a ‘dig at someone. Phoebe has never joined the ‘Burgess side for previous Christmas festivities therefore my # couldn’t possibly be aimed at her! This year was no different to last year on her behalf.
“My last year’s Christmas upload I used a similar caption as it was our son’s first Christmas, this year we had our daughter join the three of us hence it being the #bestoneyet!”
Sam and Phoebe have not commented on the matter.
The two are parents to one-month-old son Billy and daughter Poppy, who is almost 2.