Just a few weeks after Woman's Day revealed Michelle Bridges and Steve "Commando" Willis quietly split at New Year, with the former army sergeant moving into a friend's home, fitness guru Michelle has been arrested for allegedly mid-range drink driving.
The former Biggest Loser star's four-year-old son Axel was in the car when she was pulled over for a random roadside breath test at 11.25am on Australia Day in Sydney's affluent suburb of Bellevue Hill.
Michelle, 49, was arrested and taken to Waverley Police Station where she allegedly blew a blood-alcohol reading of 0.086 and was issued with a notice to appear at Waverley Local Court on February 18.
Clearly distressed, Michelle released a public statement, "I would like to express my deep regret for breaking the law, this was a terrible mistake and an error of judgement… this behaviour is inexcusable, and I'm absolutely devastated and embarrassed… It's been a very difficult time for me the last few weeks dealing with the break-up of my long-term relationship."
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"This is by no means an excuse for my behaviour but I feel the emotional turmoil I have been going through has impacted my decision-making. I am extremely sorry for my actions," Michelle finished.
But according to a family friend, it's a case of too little too late for Michelle's estranged partner Steve, 43, who is said to be furious she put their son Axel in danger. He's been blocking her calls, having feared something like this might happen.
To the outside world, self-made millionaire Michelle had it all – a thriving business, a great partner and a beautiful son. But a source close to the celebrity fitness couple, who met and fell in love on The Biggest Loser, says their relationship has been imploding for years and Michelle's drinking has been in part to blame.
"Michelle likes a drink – it was that way even before they were in a relationship," says the family friend. "Ironically it's how they got together – they got drunk and hooked up – but he doesn't really touch the stuff now."
Initially, the source says, Steve got swept up in "the whole fame thing" and to begin with he enjoyed going out with her for a social drink.
"The success of the show The Biggest Loser was just so new to him and Michelle took him under her wing, showed him the ropes."
It soon became apparent to Steve though, that Michelle's drinking wasn't limited to the odd night out and that she drank to relax and when she was stressed.
"When The Biggest Loser got canned, she had less of a focus and her drinking became more frequent," the source reveals. "Before that, everything had been 'the Michelle show' and she struggled with not being in the spotlight any more.
"Things got so difficult between them that they split for a while but she promised to change, and for a while she did. They got back together and had Axel and everything was good."
Around two years ago, problems between the couple surfaced once more.
"She started drinking more than Steve liked. It was particularly bad when he got asked to do Survivor. Michelle was jealous and told him he couldn't do it. He actually quit but then she changed her mind because she thought if Steve was back in the spotlight, she would be too," says the source.
But their issues really came to a head over the Christmas holidays, and after a year of Steve begging Michelle to get help, he made the decision to walk away.
"The reason he stuck it out for so long was for Axel. Steve wants to be a good dad and be there for him, but he and Michelle just aren't happy. She's been begging him to come back to her for weeks, even promising to get help if he did, but he's said no," the source reveals.
"He just can't do it any more. And this latest incident has been the biggest wake-up call of all."
- PuzzlesThe Australian Women's Weekly July Issue Online Entry
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