“I think I’m probably stronger in the public eye than I am behind closed doors,” she admits to Kate Waterhouse in the latest Date With Kate interview.
“There have been a lot of times that I’ve had my full hair and makeup done and I’ve had to go and get it touched up because I’ve been in tears on the way to work.”
The model and former Miss Universe Australia is referring to her fiance’s Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin’s battle with mental illness, which became public knowledge in September when it was announced he was withdrawing from this year’s AFL series.
Campbell says some of the public’s speculation and reportage around the Sydney Swans player’s condition, and their relationship, has been “a little bit nasty”.
“I think the hardest thing with all of it is that it’s being played out really publicly… there have been some people in the media that have just said some really incredibly nasty and hurtful things that are just so left of field and so wrong in this day and age,” she tells Waterhouse. (Post continues after gallery.)
One such article, published by News Corp, urged the couple to “postpone” their wedding. Ultimately, Campbell believes the lack of respect for the couple and their privacy has hindered both Franklin’s recovery and her own wellbeing.
“I think what people fail to realise sometimes is, yes, he is a sports star and yes, I’m doing whatever it is that I’m doing, but we’re human beings and you’re playing with two people’s lives here. It’s really delicate and really fragile and I think people just need to be really wary of that,” she says.
Three months on from the announcement, the 24-year-old says Franklin is in “good” health and they’re both taking things one day at a time.
“It has been really difficult. I’ve continued working throughout the entire process, which has taken its toll on me. I’m quite exhausted from it all,” she says.
"My family has definitely been a great thing for me to be able to lean on. I’ve been talking to lots of people and that’s really important ... not to bottle it up."
This isn't the first time Campbell has spoken about Franklin's health — last month, she told Sunday Style's Holly Byrnes the public doesn't realise he's been struggling "for a long time" and she's been there supporting him all along.
“I’ve had to have this inner strength to draw upon, which people have only seen in the past 12 months ... I’m just glad that I’ve got to a point where people can recognise it and see there’s so many facets to who I am," she explained.
“I’m fiercely protective of him and anyone that’s close to me. Of course, I hold him accountable when he does things wrong, just like anyone else, but I also love, protect and care for him.”
Over the past few months, Campbell has been passionate in advocating for mental illness sufferers to seek help and speaking about their experiences — something that has helped Franklin throughout his recovery. (Mamamia co-founder Mia Freedman opens up about her life with generalised anxiety disorder. Post continues after video.)
“I’ve read a lot of emails of support and it’s been incredible ... People sharing their stories … sometimes that’s all you need to keep you happy, to keep you going," she told Byrnes.
“If he can be that one person at his football club that one of the men can come up to and say, ‘I’m not OK today,’ and he can sit down and have a chat to them … well, job done, you know?”
By the sound of it 2016 is already looking like a better year for the couple, and not just because they're planning their wedding. Franklin will return to the AFL field next year and says he's already "looking really fit and strong".
"We actually have been training a little bit together and I went for a run with him the other day. It was so hard because his one step is about five of mine!" she says.