Just a few months ago, depressed billionaire James Packer spent the "best Christmas I've ever had" after reuniting with his second wife, Erica Baxter, and spending a "magical" time with her and their three young children in the US ski resort of Aspen.
"It was almost like they'd never broken up," reveals one close friend.
"There was lots of laughter and love there. James was really present, and that hasn't always been the case."
"He quite simply loved being part of a tight family unit again. I don't know that Erica will ever take him back, but she's never going to stop loving him."
James, 50, last week remained in the McLean Hospital, an exclusive $35,000-a-week US psychiatric hospital near Boston, after bravely announcing he'd resigned as a director of Crown Resorts for mental health reasons.
The decision to seek help and quit the business that has consumed him for years shocked everybody, including LA-based Erica, 40, who had planned to spend Easter in Sydney with their children, Indigo, nine, Jackson, eight, and five-year-old Emmanuelle.
Even his mum and Packer family matriarch, Ros, 80, appeared rattled after she flew from Sydney to Boston to support James as he checked himself into hospital.
His first wife Jodhi Meares, 47, has also reached out to provide support.
"Ros, Erica and Jodhi are the three women who mean the most to James, and I know they will all be there to help him through this crisis," explains the close friend.
"He has them all on speed dial, and I know each of them just want him to get well. It's been a pretty scary two weeks."
As his health and fortune deteriorated in recent years under the enormous pressure of what he described as a "terrifying" $5.3 billion worth of debt attached to his two major companies – Consolidated Press Holdings and Crown Resorts – James has led an increasingly reclusive lifestyle, avoiding Sydney and staying at his homes in Argentina, Aspen, Los Angeles and Mexico.
But, always, it is Ros, Erica and Jodhi, who he has looked to for support and love while everything else spiralled out of control. Friends confirm he has repeatedly begged Erica – who divorced him in 2013 amid claims he wanted a "bachelor" lifestyle – to take him back.
"He phones Jodhi all the time, and trusts her implicitly because she never puts demands on him, but he would love nothing more than to regain what he lost with Erica," reveals the friend, who says Erica would have to see a huge change to even contemplate a reunion.
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"She loves him – he's the father of her three kids, but she was terribly hurt by the divorce, and she's watched him unravel over the past few years."
"Erica would need to see a new and healed James to even consider a reunion. What she does want is a happy and healthy dad for the kids, and she'll do anything to help James become that man."