Splitsville: Kiwi celebrity couples who called it quits

Spy News,
Publish Date
Thursday, 10 May 2018, 11:10PM
Paula Penfold and Mike McRoberts; Viarni Bright and Zac Franich
Paula Penfold and Mike McRoberts; Viarni Bright and Zac Franich

Thanks to Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek’s new film, The Breaker Upperers, breaking up is back in fashion.

So, in honour of this Kiwi film's success at the local box office, we look back at the celebrity couples who were ahead of the curve and decided to break up long before The Breaker Upperers made it hip.

Jay-Jay Feeney and Dominic Harvey

After spending much of 2016 apart before getting back together, broadcasters Jay-Jay Feeney and Dominic Harvey told their radio listeners late last year that the spark in their marriage was well and truly gone

"Dom and I are currently living apart. We've decided to separate," a tearful Feeney said at the time.

Harvey chipped in to say the "magic spark has gone".

"It's one of those things that kind of sucks, but I bet there a lot of people that can relate to it," he said.

"[But] we're really good, and there's no fighting or anything like that. We're absolutely 100 per cent cool and fine."

Everything is so fine, the former couple still talk every day and were both still using their joint bank account and joint insurance policies as of a week ago.

Since the split, Feeney has moved to Christchurch for a new job and told the Sunday Star Times last week she's been busy finding out who she is without her former partner of 18 years by her side.

"In some ways I just wanted to break free from the Jay-Jay and Dom box and just be Jay-Jay again," she said. "And I’d forgotten who she is. It's taken me a little while to find her. It's quite scary."


Dinner with my #BFF

A post shared by Jay-Jay Feeney (@jjfeeneynz) on Aug 11, 2017 at 12:53am PDT


Mike McRoberts and Paula Penfold

Media power couple Mike McRoberts and Paula Penfold also called time on their marriage late last year after more than 20 years together. 

Neither McRoberts nor Penfold, who have two teenage children, have publicly commented on their split.

Meanwhile, McRoberts' colleague over at Newshub 6pm, Samantha Hayes, has also been unlucky in love of late, with the news in March that her relationship with scientist Jacob Anderson was over

But judging by the gruelling schedule Hayes is currently undertaking at Dancing With The Stars, we imagine she's too busy to worry much about her love life these days!



Shavaughn Ruakere and Clarke Gayford

Speaking of Dancing With The Stars, Hayes' fellow dancing contestant Shavaughn Ruakere is also single and ready to mingle after a couple of high profile breakups in the last few years.

Ruakere famously had a three-year relationship with New Zealand's current First Man, Clarke Gayford, which eventually ended in 2014.

The couple were a regular feature in the magazines over the course of their romance, with Ruakere telling Women's Weekly in 2013, "I'm really happy ... I've got this great fella, we've got a dog and are living in a wonderful home and we're very happy together."

But it wasn't to last.

Gayford, of course, is now getting ready to welcome his first child with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, while Ruakere is currently single again following the end of her relationship with Toby Burrows.

Zac Franich and Viarni Bright

Zac Franich's love life has been one heck of a rollercoaster over the past 12 months.

He embarked on a five-month relationship with Viarni Bright last year, after she "won" his season of The Bachelor NZ, before the couple announced their split in early November.

"At the start of this year I first laid eyes on someone pretty incredible," Franich wrote on Instagram about the break-up.

"I knew quickly that this was the girl I had been searching for. I became a very lucky man in being able to call her mine, and count myself fortunate to have held her hand by my side ever since. We've had plenty of laughs and have shared some pretty special memories together in that time.

"However, in life, some things just aren't meant to be. Recently we both decided to continue our relationship just as friends. We'll always share a lot of mutual love and respect, but felt we just weren't quite right for each other."

Franich didn't let the grass grow under his feet though.

By January, he was in a relationship with his current girlfriend, TV presenter Erin Simpson. And, according to the magazine interviews they've already managed to squeeze in since then, it's L-O-V-E this time.


A post shared by Zac Franich (@zacfranich) on Oct 31, 2017 at 10:27pm PDT


Jordan Mauger and Fleur Verhoeven

What this particular Bachelor NZ couple had probably doesn't qualify as a relationship, but Jordan Mauger and Fleur Verhoeven certainly managed to part ways in spectacular fashion.

The "winning" duo from the second season of the reality TV show lasted less than three days together following the final episode of the series, a fact we came to learn when Verhoeven made a tearful appearance on live TV.

At the time of the shock announcement, Mauger said he knew something was amiss when he saw Verhoeven for the first time after a long absence following filming of the show.

"It is a great shame the feelings I had on the show haven't translated into real life,” he said in a statement

He later told Woman's Day magazine: "To have a broken heart, you have to be in love first. And we definitely weren't in love."


Bubbles n troubles #hawaii #workingstylenz

A post shared by Jordan Mauger (@jordmauger) on Apr 5, 2016 at 9:02pm PDT


Some other classic celebrity break-ups

And let us not forget these other star couples who have called it quits over the years: Mikey Havoc and Claire Chitham, Simon Dallow and Ali Mau, Sally Ridge and Matthew Ridge, Sally Ridge and Adam Parore, and (almost) the entire cast of Married at First Sight NZ...

We could go on. But that's plenty of break-up inspiration right there, don't you think?