Sydney, Sept.15 : Australian fast bowler Brett Lee's heartbroken wife, Liz Kemp, has claimed that she was thrown out of their family home even as she desperately sought to save her marriage.
Speaking for the first time since the high-profile union ended in August, Kemp told The Sunday Telegraph that she was devastated her 22-month-old son Preston was photographed last week with a forlorn-looking Lee and drawn into a public break-up battle.
Appearing relaxed and cheery as she played with little Preston at Bronte Park on Thursday, Kemp said she did not want to be portrayed as a victim.
"The whole thing with Preston has been heartbreaking. I'm a very private person and it's been a difficult time. I don't want it to turn into a mud-slinging match ... Brett's the one in the limelight and I prefer to stay away from it all,'' she said.
Kemp, who is 28, not 31 as previously reported, is relying on friends, her parents and a PR team to help her after being portrayed as the villain in media reports supporting Lee.
Several of her friends spoke to The Sunday Telegraph and detailed the couple's marriage breakdown.
All say that she endured months of loneliness as Lee took on more and more overseas sponsorship deals, secured by manager Neil Maxwell, on top of his international cricket career.
He has deals in Australia and endorses a string of products in India including DHL couriers, Boost energy drinks, Timex watches and New Balance shoes.
The star cricketer is also heavily involved in the Indian entertainment scene. To increase his lucrative opportunities in India, Lee has now hired a tutor to teach him Hindi.
A long-time friend said Lee spent only "four-to-five months'' of the couple's two-year marriage at home. The close friend said despite the loneliness, Kemp was determined to save her marriage and had been forced by Lee to leave their home.
"She wasn't the one who walked away from the marriage. It's been reported the reason for the break-up was cricket and the (overseas travel). That's not true ... extra sponsorship Brett took on kept him away longer than the cricket season. Anybody would be lonely when their partner is away for a long time,'' said the friend.
The friend also rejected suggestions that Kemp had an affair with a Brisbane rugby player.
Instead, as her marriage deteriorated, she visited Queensland, where she grew up, to spend time with her two bridesmaids and her high-school friends.
Her friend said: "There's no third party involved in the break-up.''
Ms Kemp, who has main custody of Preston, has been living with her parents since leaving the couple's two-storey Lane Cove home.
Friends have attempted to console the young mum, who has kept busy spending time with Preston and working out at the gym.
The couple agreed Preston wouldn't be brought into the public eye during the break-up.
But last Friday week, Lee had Preston and a photographer, who was not a member of the paparazzi, took a picture of a forlorn-looking Lee and his son in time for a sympathetic father's day story in a Sunday newspaper.
The story infuriated Kemp. The couple's relationship is now acrimonious and she has hired media consultant Michael Salmon, a former Carr government staffer, to help.e is up against Maxwell, Lee's long-time manager, who has minimised damage to Lee's image.