James Packer's marriage ends

I was saddened to read a report tonight in the Sydney Morning Herald about the demise of James Packer's six-year marriage to Erica Baxter.

The couple, who have three children, Indigo, 5, Jackson, 3, and Emmanuelle, who turns 1 on September 22, have apparently agreed to an "amicable" separation.

I witnessed genuine affection between the couple during a visit to Kerry Packer's Scone estate, Ellerston, when I was the editor of Woman's Day. And I was heartened that James had found someone to love.

It sounds faintly ridiculous, even as I type the words, but when you are as rich as James it must be so difficult to ever trust someone's motives for wanting to be close to you.

Erica's affection for the billionaire casino mogul seemed real and heartfelt.

And when his father passed away, the fact he had Erica by his side must have been a huge comfort.

Yet it appears she has decided to leave the family’s new, $40 million-plus home in Vaucluse, Sydney, completed just two months ago, and is living in Los Angeles with the couple’s children.

According to a source who spoke to SMH journalist Andrew Hornery: ‘‘There are no third parties involved on either side. Erica and the kids are in LA and James is planning to spend a lot of his time there over the next few months. They’re friends and they want to make sure they will stay friends. The kids are their priority. It’s that simple. Any separation is traumatic but because this will attract so much publicity, they’re determined to do their best to shield the kids and look after them, first and foremost.’’

We will never know what went on behind those expensive closed doors, but no-one ever makes the decision to separate lightly. Good on them for putting their kids first at such a difficult time.