Grant Hackett’s baby joy with new partner
SWIMMING great Grant Hackett is set to become a father for the third time with news that he and his partner Sharlene Fletcher are expecting a baby in January.
The couple confirmed they are 14 weeks pregnant during a fleeting visit to Sydney on Friday.
While it is Fletcher's first child, it will be Hackett's third.
He has nine-year-old twins Charlize and Jagger from his first marriage.
Hackett said he couldn't be happier about the pregnancy, a much-wanted event that comes four months after the couple's first attempt at a family ended with a miscarriage in March.
The couple met in 2015 while Hackett was living on the Gold Coast training for a swimming comeback. Fletcher was running a cafe there.
Three years later, in August last year, they started their relationship.
"When we reconnected I was really clear that I wanted to have kids," said Fletcher, 34, who is originally from Adelaide and worked as a hair stylist before reinventing herself as a vegan desserts entrepreneur. She released a book, Create Eat Vibe, last year and has a popular blog.
Hackett, 39, was entirely up for becoming a dad again.
He said: "I felt I was going to hit 40 and I wanted another opportunity as a dad.
"The trouble with being divorced is you're a father part-time. I hate that.
"I knew I wanted more children but only with a committed person who was going to be a life partner."
After years of public scandals and private setbacks, Hackett feels he has found a "deep sense of happiness" with his new love.
"The relationship we have is incredible - she's so supportive and has a calming influence on me and it just works," he said.
Following a stint in a US rehabilitation facility in 2017, Hackett has rebuilt his life.
His job as CEO of Generation Life, a life insurance and financial advice company, has seen him reunited with his former Westpac boss and mentor Rob Coombe.
Hackett is fit and relaxed and admits it is due to regular workouts - "five or six days a week" - in the gym.
Swimming is now just for fun and only with his children, who live in Melbourne, the reason Hackett relocated to the city two years ago.
He and Fletcher share an apartment close to the kids' Toorak home but say they are in no hurry to marry.
"It is something that we definitely want to do," said Hackett. "Being a bit older, we wanted to do this (have a baby) first and not rush into an engagement because we actually want to enjoy every aspect of what we're doing. We actually think this is more binding."
Fletcher agrees. She said: "I always imagined getting married first, but as you get a bit older you do change your mind on things."