The reason we're inherently interested in WAG stories like this.


Kids all over Australia grow up idolising athletes and their glamorous partners.

There’s a reason the likes of Rebecca Judd and Nadia Bartel – the wives of now retired AFL legends Chris Judd and Jimmy Bartel respectively – are so utterly fascinating to the public. Introduced to us on the Brownlow red carpet years ago, both women epitomise a certain ideal: wealthy, beautiful, kind, charismatic, adored.

Now we know Judd and Bartel as businesswomen, entrepreneurs. Creators of social media empires and fashion labels, ambassadors of diamond companies and luxury cars. We see them as entirely separate entities from their husbands; while the boys once demanded our attention, the girls are who we look to now – the authorities on what urban success looks like.

Judd and Bartel, their glittering houses and careers and happy families in tow, have erected an immaculate example of what the WAG life entails.

abby gilmore jake stringer 2015
Image via Getty.

Unsurprisingly, it's a life many young women aspire to. For a keen few, it's a life that makes the prospect of dating a footballer titillating.

Because when we discuss WAGs - a term both problematic and iconic in nature - what we rarely see are those who subscribed to that shiny life, but who will not be immortalised as WAG royalty; the women who showered in the glitter before learning of the warts that are sometimes attached to a life hinged on heroism and fame.

The women like Melissa Waring and Abby Gilmore.

Back in September, 24-year-old Gilmore probably expected her interview with the Herald Sun about her former fiancé, AFL Western Bulldogs forward Jake Stringer, would garner keen media attention. She probably didn't expect it would go on to become one of the biggest sport stories of the year.

For those who missed the original interview (I predict very few of you did), Gilmore alleged Stringer had sex with multiple women throughout the duration of their relationship. Most notably, she claimed he had 'an ongoing sexual relationship with a 17-year-old school girl' in 2016 while Gilmore was pregnant with his second daughter. Gilmore claimed he would visit the girl up to three times a week.


"I had just done an article on how beautiful my family was and the very next day I got this message and my life crumpled to pieces," Gilmore told journalist Alice Coster.

"The worst part for me was all these girls knew I existed, they knew I was pregnant with a child and it's just wrong."

“Everyone seems to know what was going on, but no one was saying or doing anything about it."

Once the blogger was alerted to the tryst, she says a bevvy of other women came forward, armed with naked photos of the disgraced 23-year-old footballer as proof of his infidelity.


The ordeal crushed Gilmore, who at the time of learning the affairs, had given birth to daughter Arlo just six weeks prior. Post-natal depression left her unable to even look at her baby without the reminder of her partner's other women.

The interview went viral for a reason - we have never read anything like it before. For the first time in a long time, the perfect WAG narrative was skewed.

Months on, a second story has popped up, with eerie similarities to Gilmore's.

On Friday, Australia learned of the messy and complicated state of Melissa Waring's relationship with her partner of 10 years and father of her two children, Australian cricketer Nathan Lyon.

Can't believe it's this time of the year again! #christmas #family #cricket

A post shared by Life Of Lyons (@mel_waring) on


Days after Waring had published a cosy family photo on Instagram, cuddling her daughters alongside the grinning off-spin bowler, a paparazzi shot of Lyon kissing another woman in a car had emerged.

Speaking to media at the front door of her south-Sydney home, Waring said Cricket Australia had informed her of the photograph's existence.

From here, the details are muddy. Some unnamed and unverified 'sources' told tabloids the pair haven't been together for sometime, and that Lyon is simply in a new relationship - one that's been in existence for a year now - not cheating.

However, when probed as to whether Waring was still with her professional sportsman partner at the time of the photographs being taken, she told the Daily Mail"I think seeing his car sitting in the drive way and his washing sitting here, that probably gives you enough of an idea."


"We have two small children who I have to put first and unfortunately at the end of the day I'm the one who's being f**ked around here," she said.

Waring added she didn't want to say any more "because it could affect me at a later date if I need to go to court. I can't jeopardise anything happening to my kids, this is hard enough."

We rarely ever hear stories like Gilmore and Waring's, stories that dive deeper than glossy Instagram photos and expansive beachside properties. Perhaps that's why, when they do surface, women and men clamber at the opportunity to take a peek.

In speaking publicly about their personal lives, Gilmore and Waring achieved two indelibly difficult things: they lifted a veil what it sometimes means to be a WAG while also carving a space for the women who have been chewed up and spat out by a culture that demanded they shut up.

Listen: Nadia Bartel on the WAG myth, and the biggest misconceptions about it all. Post continues.

For so long, we've believed a WAG myth - one of exclusive perfection. But, really, that is rarely the case. For the Bec Judds, there are hundreds of WAGs who go under the radar, who have normal relationships in a not-so normal environment. Peppered amongst them are the Abby Gilmores and Melissa Warings, the once-silenced women who won't stay silent anymore.

The women who will hopefully move on from their sordid debacles with a little more confidence, and a little bit more of a voice.