They were once Australia’s sporting golden couple, but Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny have lived complicated lives since they burst into the spotlight in the 1980s.
Lisa, 58, and Grant, 57, have enjoyed fame, raised three children, celebrated financial and athletic success and experienced heartbreak with the collapse of their marriage more than a decade ago.
In recent years, Lisa has found new love with Elvis impersonator Mark Tabone and Grant has had a ‘secret’ baby daughter, Trixie, with radio host Fifi Box.
And now they are all joined in mourning the tragic death of the oldest child, daughter Jaimi, 33.
Jaimi died in hospital on Monday following a long health battle. She was known to have battled an eating disorder.
Condolences rained in from across Australia as Lisa shared a gut-wrenching tribute. ‘Our hearts are completely broken,’ she said.
‘(She was) so loved. So beautiful. So kind to everyone … so painful. I can barely breathe.’
80s sporting royalty: Australian swimmer Lisa Curry-Kenny and ironman and Olympic bronze medal winning athlete Grant Kenny with their son, Jett, during the Sydney 2000 torch relay
Lisa Curry had three children with Grant Kenny: daughters Jaimi and Morgan and son Jett, above, attending an Australian Idol finale at the Sydney Opera House
Lisa Curry’s swimming success led her to become the first of many Australian athletes to become the face of cereal producer Uncle Toby’s (above)
This is the complicated family tree of Curry-Kenny clan – the three children they had together – Jett, Jaimi and Morgan – are on left. Grant Kenny is confirmed to be the father of Fifi Box’s first child, Trixie Belle, although the parentage of her younger daughter, Daisy, has never been publicly confirmed. Lisa’s husband, Elvis impersonator Mark Tabone, is also a father-of-four
Both Lisa and Grant are in very different places than they were a little more than a decade ago, when they split after 23 years of marriage.
After a swimming career where she notched up a swag of medals from national and international meets – but not the elusive Olympic gold – Lisa was then still known as the original face of Uncle Toby’s cereal, for her forays onto the covers of magazines and tabloids, as a fitness coach and an ambassador for gyms and cruise companies.
What’s less well known is how she and Grant, an Olympic kayaking medallist, in particular went on to forge business success in a very different field – aviation.
Curry-Kenny Aviation was the country’s largest private aviation operator, boasting a fleet of up to 60 choppers and fixed-wing aircraft.
At one point, the Sunshine Coast couple’s aviation and property interests were valued at $78million, landing them a place on Queensland’s 2008 rich list.
But tensions bubbled under the surface of the couple’s high-profile marriage and they were beset with health and work crises.
Lisa was in and out of hospital after suffering myocarditis, a heart infection, which led to her having a pacemaker installed.
Meanwhile, tragedy struck Grant’s company. Four people died when one of his company’s helicopters crashed in 2008. He would also become embroiled in a court stoush with a business partner.
Lisa later blamed one particular condition for placing an immense strain on their marriage. What she called ‘Rushing Woman’s Syndrome.’
Lisa told A Current Affair she was always ‘rushing’ and ‘had days where I just felt completely out of control’.
‘I was angry, irritable, moody, cried for no reason, and wanted to kill the world,’ she said.
Lisa and Grant announced their separation in 2009, although they retained some business interests together. Grant sold a substantial stake in his aviation company in 2012.
In 2016, Fifi Box confirmed her three-year-old Trixie is the daughter of Grant Kenny. Above, the mother and daughter hang out with Trixie’s half-sisters Jaimi and Morgan Kenny
Fifi Box confirmed Trixie was Grant Kenny’s daughter in this Instagram post showing ‘daddy’ cuddles four years ago
Jaimi Kenny (right) at the wedding of her sister Morgan (left) in 2016
Lisa occasionally returned to the limelight more recently, appearing on the Celebrity Apprentice.
She counted former Olympic swimmer Joel Wolkenhorst as her partner for several years.
Wolkenhorst was cruelly described by magazines as her ‘toyboy’, given he was 20 years her junior and was said to ‘worship the ground she walked on’.
During that same period, in 2013, radio presenter Fifi Box gave birth to a baby girl, Trixie. But Box was coy about the identity of the father.
Grant was pegged as the little girl’s dad by the tabloids. Jaimi Kenny was even sometimes pictured hanging out with the toddler.
But Grant and Fifi declined to confirm the rumours publicly – choosing to keep one part of their lives private.
When Box finally confirmed Trixie’s parentage, a prominent gossip wag said ‘one of the nation’s worst kept celebrity secrets’ had finally been unveiled.
Lisa Curry had a long romance with Joel Walkenhorst – who was cruelly dubbed her ‘toy boy’ as he was 20 years her junior
After splitting with Walkenhorst, Curry married Elvis impersonator Mark Tabone in 2018
Lisa’s love life then took another turn. The fitness coach split with Wolkenhorst in 2015. ‘We had so many arguments over nothing, I lost count,’ he was quoted saying.
She quickly found a partner elsewhere. In October the following year, Lisa announced she was engaged to entertainer Mark Tabone, a father-of-four.
Tabone is best known as an Elvis impersonator, having travelled the world with a tribute show.
They married in 2018 and this week he issued his own statement to mark Jaimi’s passing.
‘As your mother and father weep your loss, I too feel lost and heavy hearted,’ Tabone said.
‘Nobody should ever lose their child.’
There’s no doubt Jaimi’s death is a tragedy that touches all who have come into the famous family’s orbit.
For free and confidential support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Butterfly Foundation, for eating disorder concerns on 1800 ED HOPE
LISA CURRY’S DAUGHTER LONG BATTLED AN EATING DISORDER
Rest in peace: Jaimi Kenny and her mother Lisa
By Josh Hanrahan
The daughter of Australian sporting greats Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny had long battled an eating disorder, with her family supporting her through years of treatment at a private clinic.
Jaimi Kenny passed away at Sunshine Coast University Hospital on Monday morning surrounded by her family, including both her Olympian mother and Ironman father.
The 33-year-old had been supported by her parents and siblings through many years of treatment at private clinic End ED, on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
Shattered staff at the clinic said they could not discuss Jaimi’s struggle, but told how she became part of the ‘family’ over the years.
Despite her struggles with weight, friends of Jaimi told how she always brought ‘light and laughter’ to the lives of those she around her.
Lisa Curry marked her daughter’s death with a tragic statement.
‘Our hearts are completely broken. Our beautiful daughter Jaimi has lost her battle with a long-term illness and passed away peacefully in hospital yesterday morning with her loving family by her side,’ Lisa wrote.
‘So loved. So beautiful. So kind to everyone… So painful. I can barely breathe.’