By Gavin O’Luanaigh
When any couple is going through a divorce with a young family, it is never a happy time and certainly not to be celebrated.
It is the hope of any family that all other family members support the couple and help them as much as possible through this tough time by keeping matters private, especially when children are involved.
It was with great sadness therefore that certain comments about my family were released to the media, on my birthday of all days, about our marriage that both Serina and myself have been at pains to keep private and within the confines of our immediate family and friends.
As most people know, I converted to Islam in 2006, met Serina in 2009 and married in 2010, which was the happiest day in my life, prior to my children being born.
My parents have been happily married for over 47 years and although there are always ups and downs in marriage, I truly thought and hoped it would last forever. Marriage is not a gamble but about love, hard work, commitment and sacrifice.
As Serina has always been in the media line, I didn’t try to persuade her to leave that behind her as I feel that if you truly love someone you have to let them pursue what career makes them happy.
I knew she didn’t want to be a housewife and anyone who knows her, knows she is a fun, energetic person who was born to be a star, and I fully supported her choice and was very proud of her.
Throughout our married life I have diligently paid for everything for the family – providing a six-bedroom penthouse, paid all the family bills, maid, holidays and even made sure that both our children went to an international school so they could have the best education that I could provide, which I feel is the greatest gift that a parent can give their child.
As I was taking care of all the family expenses, Serina was earning a sizeable income, which she kept to do with as she wanted. I was fine with taking on all the expenses as this is my duty to the family and I am fully aware of my responsibilities as a husband and have provided accordingly.
I would have been surprised if Serina had asked for additional pocket money and indeed Serina, to her credit, never did and we had no issues.
Therefore, I was devastated when Serina decided to move out of the house in January 2016 and asked for a divorce.
I didn’t, and still don’t, understand the reasons why she left as she hasn’t told me. However, I hoped that a resolution could be sought and the marriage healed.
Despite not knowing where she went and where she is living, I do not believe any third party was involved and so did not give her a divorce as I believed in her and was willing to wait for her to think about her actions and about the family.
The children, Tristan (aged 6) and Isabella (5), have remained in the family home with me over the last 15 months and I have done everything in my power to remain positive and care for them as best as I can.
Serina and myself are still trying to resolve everything amicably and we both have the children’s best interests at heart.
I am deeply saddened that I have had to write these words in the public domain as my intention as well as Serina’s was always to keep this matter private.
I sincerely hope that any family member who really does have the best interests of their children and grandchildren at heart, can direct their questions to Serina and myself rather than feeling the need to tell the world.
At the end of the day my close family and friends all know the truth and these people are the only people who are important to me. One day we will all be judged by our actions and I know when that day comes, I can hold my head up high.
Once again, I would hope that the media and public could give our family space and time to work everything out and respect the fact that as small children are involved, and who will one day read all this, privacy is paramount.
Gavin O’Luanaigh is a British expat who has been working in Malaysia for the past 16 years.
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