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“It wasn’t a good time." Megan Gale on the aftermath of her split from Andy Lee.

Megan Gale is known for many things.

The 44-year-old became an Italian icon after she starred in a commercial for Omnitel (now Vodafone Italy) in 1999 and from 2002 to 2015 she became a household name as the face of David Jones. Gale also launched her own swimwear label, Isola, in 2010, completed stints hosting Project Runway Australia and Australia’s Next Top Model and recently she’s created Mindful Life – a range of naturally-derived baby products.

But from December 2010 to 2011, she was unfairly criticised for her split with Andy Lee. The pair began dating in August 2006, after Gale appeared on Lee’s FoxFM radio show with Hamish Blake, before amicably parting ways four years later.

Team Mamamia confess: We were dumped because… Post continues below.

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Speaking to Mia Freedman on Mamamia’s No Filter podcast, the mother-of-two shared how the public sentiment drastically changed after their split.

“It was very demeaning. I get how it happens, I don’t like it, I don’t accept it. It was really challenging to navigate for a while,” she said.

“It wasn’t a good time. It almost felt like I had done something wrong and I had been tarnished like I’d done something wrong. When I was with [Andy], everyone loved us together.

“We were going through what we were going through very privately for quite a while, so when people found out we were broken up, I think it came as a bit of a shock and I did appear to have moved on relatively quickly.

“It was new for other people, but it was old for us.”

 

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From an outside perspective, things may have (incorrectly) appeared that way. In January 2011, Gale began a relationship with Carlton and Richmond AFL player, Shaun Hampson, who you might remember for his 2019 appearance on Australian Survivor: Champions vs Contenders. It didn’t help that he was 12 years her junior, something she said inflamed the “toyboy, cougar” trope that was forced on her.

“What really aggravated me was, if he was 12 years older than me, it wouldn’t have been a problem. But because I was the woman and I was older, and it made it a bit salacious,” she said.

While they now share two children together – five-year-old River and one-year-old Rosie – Gale said she knew Hampson was “special” from the beginning, despite the negative attention .

“I knew in my bones how special this was going to be. I just felt it. I was like that’s the father of my children. It was just a knowing and feeling very secure in that, but [then] you’ve got all this toyboy, cougar [depiction],” she added.

“If I think I’ve met the one, should I just say, ‘can you hang on for six months until it’s deemed appropriate by Australia and then we can start dating?’

“I get how things are perceived versus what the reality is but at the same time you’re trying to navigate a new relationship and hopefully that person is not getting scared off because they’re not used to being in the public eye.”

Gale has previously spoken about the hypocrisy of the 12-year age gap between her and Hampson. Appearing on Anh Do’s Brush With Fame in 2017, she shared how it inevitably “affected [her] reputation”.

“I was very aware of the fact that a lot would be made of not just how quickly I happened to move on, but the age difference,” she said.

“I knew, I knew people would eat that up and make that a negative.”

Gale told Do she “hated it”.

“A lot of people thought differently of me, they wrote differently about me,” she said.

“Nobody had ever really commented on [Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s] ages… there was never any ‘But hang on, he’s 13 years older’.”

Listen to Megan Gale’s chat with Mia Freedman on No Filter. Post continues below.

The supermodel has since proven her deterrers wrong. After getting engaged in 2017, this year sees Gale celebrating nine years with Hampson, with a potential wedding in the works.

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“It’ll likely be next year,” Hampson told TV Week in 2019. “There’s just been so much on. Both of us are trying to find the time to focus on a wedding now that our lives are running smoothly. I can guarantee it’ll be very small and intimate.”

Gale’s even on good terms with Lee’s long-term girlfriend, Rebecca Harding. In 2018, she was seen leaving positive comments on Harding’s Instagram posts.

Isn't it lovely when everybody just gets along? Image: Instagram.

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