Natalie Joyce feels “deceived and hurt”.
The estranged wife of Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has shared her sadness in the wake of news her husband of 24 years, and the father of her four daughters, is expecting a child with his current partner and former media advisor, 33-year-old Vikki Campion.
“This situation is devastating on many fronts,” she said, in a statement published by The Australian. “For my girls who are affected by the family breakdown and for me as a wife… who placed my own career on hold to support Barnaby through his political life.”
Natalie said her family life had been extensively shared during her husband’s career, and campaign and office staff were often invited into their home – a reality that left her feeling “deceived” by the actions of Barnaby and Campion.
She added that she was “deeply saddened” to hear that “this affair has been going on for many months and started when [Ms Campion] was a paid employee”.
How must that feel? To give up so much – to put another person’s ambition before your own – only to be bitterly disappointed by the person you sacrificed it for?
Listen: Jessie Stephens and Mia Freedman discuss all things Barnaby Joyce – including his new partner, his wife’s comments and the hypocrisy of it all. Post continues after audio.
Natalie Joyce met Barnaby while she was studying education at the University of New England, and went on to marry him just a few years after graduating, in 1993. Today, she’s listed as a student support teacher at McCarthy Catholic College in Tamworth, although it was reported in 2009 that at one point, she worked as a part-time administrative officer within her husband’s office.
Over the last 24 years, Natalie Joyce has no doubt tried to make the best decisions she could for herself, her family, and her marriage. Her profound personal sacrifice, I’m sure, may have at times felt less like a decision and more like a duty.
In 2017, Natalie told the Weekend Australian about the toll her husband’s career had taken on their family. She said her youngest daughter Odette, now 15, has never known “anything but politics”.
“Every time he’d come home she actually wouldn’t go near him because he hadn’t been home,” she recalled of Odette’s early years. “It’s taken a long time to get that father-daughter rapport.”
“In the end they give up on you. They just don’t think you’re going to be there,” Joyce added of the strain.
Perhaps Natalie imagined that while her husband’s political career would be at the centre of their family unit for a significant portion of their lives – it wouldn’t be forever. As their daughter’s grew up, and Barnaby’s career ran its course, they’d have time together again, and work wouldn’t always come first.