Sam Burgess is ‘devastated’ after bombshell accusations about his marriage and supposed excessive partying painted him in a negative light, casting doubt over the future of his career in the NRL.
Allegations made against the 31-year-old former South Sydney Rabbitohs star are now the subject of a police probe after they were published in The Australian.
Burgess and his legal team have made it clear they vehemently deny all allegations.
He stood down from his coaching role at the club and spent hours on Saturday locked in crisis talks with his brothers and mother, while ex-wife Phoebe did the same with her family.
A close friend told The Daily Telegraph that Burgess was particularly upset about the allegations regarding his marriage to ex-wife Phoebe Burgess.
‘He is angry and feels like he doesn’t have a voice,’ the friend said.
‘[The allegations are] something that is abhorrent to him, which makes it all the more harder to stomach.’
A close friend told The Daily Telegraph that Burgess was particularly upset about the allegations regarding his marriage to ex-wife Phoebe Burgess. The former couple are seen together at a David Jones event in Sydney on February 7, 2018
The Burgess family have gathered for a three-hour crisis talk in Sydney after bombshell allegations about Sam’s marriage and wild lifestyle were published in a newspaper report. Pictured: Julie Burgess
On Friday extensive allegations about Burgess’ personal life and professional career were published in the report.
New South Wales Police announced they had launched Strike Force Irrabella to investigate the allegations published in The Australian.
The NRL also confirmed they would investigate.
On Sunday morning, club coach Wayne Bennett said he had only just become aware of the accusations and refused to discuss the matter.
‘I’ve been here since ’18 and I knew nothing about it until I’d been told in the last 24 hours,’ Bennett said.
‘I have never had a player or any staff member talk to me about it in any shape or form.
‘They are allegations. When we get all the facts together and see this at the end of the day, we will take another position on it and make another statement.’
Ms Burgess remains with her family in Bowral, caring for the two young children she shares with Burgess.
Her manager Sharon Finnigan said: ‘Phoebe is trying to get by and manage and care for her two children… She is doing her best as a single mother.’
Burgess and Phoebe (pictured) together have two children, Poppy and Billy. They separated just weeks after Billy’s birth
Burgess’ mother Julie and brother Luke (pictured) met with the former NRL star in Coogee, the city’s eastern suburbs, on Saturday
The footballer’s mother, who moved relocated to Australia to be with her English-born sons, wore a large grey hoodie over black leggings
Meanwhile in Coogee, in Sydney’s east, Burgess’ mother Julie and brother Luke met with the former NRL star on Saturday. They were joined by lawyer Bryan Wrench.
The footballer’s mother, who relocated to Australia to be with her English-born sons, wore an oversized grey hoodie and black leggings.
She shielded much of her face with round aviator sunglasses and the hood of her jumper.
Luke, 33, was dressed in a light blue T-shirt and white shorts. Mr Wrench, who was carrying a laptop for the meeting, also donned shorts.
The trio were photographed walking out of a car park after a lengthy discussion with Burgess.
In the wake of the initial article on Friday, more bombshell claims about the English-born NRL star have come to light.
Burgess was staying with his older brother Luke at The Establishment, in Sydney’s CBD, on November 5, 2018, following a farewell BBQ for Souths player Jason Clark.
The 31-year-old (pictured) stood down from his coaching role at the NRL club on Friday after serious allegations about his marriage and wild lifestyle were published by The Australian
Julie and Luke were joined by lawyer Bryan Wrench (pictured) to meet with the NRL star in Coogee for talks on Saturday
Julie and Luke walk with lawyer Bryan Wrench walk through a car park in Coogee in Sydney’s eastern suburbs
Burgess’ wife Phoebe was reportedly heavily pregnant and at home while her husband celebrated over the course of the day.
According to the report, the former Rabbitohs captain returned home when his mum Julie – known to NRL fans as ‘Mrs B’ – descended on the swanky hotel during the early hours of the evening.
Julie quizzed hotel staff for the number of her son’s hotel room and after spending close to an hour trying to convince them to leave,, she moved both Sam and Luke into a car, the report claims.
‘Julie virtually had to drag Sam and Luke to her car by their ears, but somehow she got them out of that room and into her car,’ a source claimed.
The Australian article – which first published extensive bombshell claims – included text messages Burgess’ ex-wife Phoebe allegedly sent to Hollywood actor Russell Crowe, who owns the NRL club, discussing a change in her then-husband’s demeanor.
Staff members at South Sydney Rabbitohs have also been accused of ignoring Burgess’ alleged indiscretions.
Sam Burgess’ mum Julie (left) reportedly had to drag the NRL star home by the ears
Serious allegations about Sam Burgess’ marriage and wild lifestyle were published in a newspaper report. He is pictured with ex-wife Phoebe
Explosive claims about the 31-year-old former Rabbitohs player’s wild lifestyle were published on Thursday night by The Australian. The former NRL star is pictured in Mexico in October 2019
The lawyer acting for Burgess, Mark O’Brien, strongly denied all allegations.
‘The allegations are false and constitute an indefensible defamation against my client,’ Mr O’Brien said.
The newspaper claims to have uncovered text messages between Phoebe and Crowe from November 2018.
‘I thought we had the world at our feet together,’ Phoebe allegedly wrote to the actor.
‘He might need a good friend because he is just not our Sam.’
The article also included text messages Burgess allegedly sent to Phoebe, after her initial conversation came to light.
‘Phoebe why did you message RC saying everything,’ Burgess allegedly wrote. ‘What are you trying to solve here?’
The investigation by the newspaper also claims to have uncovered text messages between Phoebe and Russell Crowe – who owns the NRL club
Burgess and Phoebe broke up in December 2018, weeks after the birth of their son, Billy. Their divorce after four years of marriage was finalised in April. They also have a daughter, Poppy
‘I thought we had the world at our feet together,’ Phoebe allegedly wrote to Russell Crowe about Sam Burgess
The article also included text messages Burgess allegedly sent to Phoebe, after her initial conversation with the Hollywood actor came to light
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said the league has launched an investigation into the claims but they will not take action based off allegations.
‘The action we have taken is to initiate the investigation,’ he said on Friday.
‘Because these are allegations, we don’t have the facts before us, we’re not going to be taking any further action until we have the information needed to do that.
‘However, I believe that Sam Burgess has stood himself down from South Sydney Rabbitohs duties this weekend.
‘And I also believe that he has stood down from Fox Sports as well.’
Mr Abdo said the claims against Burgess are ‘very serious allegations’.
‘We will look to work with the club to find out what happened and to get to the bottom of the facts.
‘We will also cooperate with the NSW Police, who have also begun an investigation into the matter.
In the wake of the allegations, the 31-year-old stood down from his roles as Rabbitohs coaching assistant and Fox Sports commentator. Burgess is pictured in August
The former NRL star is seen carrying a woman on his shoulders during a party in Mexico in 2019
‘If these allegations are proven, we will take the strongest possible action that we can.’
NSW Police said they would be conducting their own investigation.
South Sydney released a statement saying the allegations were very concerning and they would be treated with the ‘utmost seriousness’.
Last year, an apprehended violence order against Sam Burgess was taken out by police to protect Phoebe’s father Mitchell Hooke.
The AVO came after an alleged domestic violence incident at Mr Hooke’s property in Glenquarry, in the NSW Southern Highlands, on October 19.
Burgess was charged with domestic violence-related intimidation. He has pleaded not guilty.
Since his retirement in October 2019, Burgess has been a coach at former club South Sydney Rabbitohs
The matter is due in court in November.
Burgess and Phoebe broke up in December 2018, weeks after the birth of their son, Billy.
Their divorce after four years of marriage was finalised in April.
They also have an older daughter, Poppy.
Burgess was 21 years old when he joined the Rabbitohs in 2010.
In two stints between 2008 and 2019 he played rugby league for England, including at the 2017 World Cup, and in 2007 represented Great Britain.
Burgess was lured to rugby union in 2014 and joined Bath in England.
In 2015, he was whisked into Stuart Lancaster’s ill-fated World Cup squad just nine months after his union debut. England failed to get beyond the pool stage of their home tournament.
After they crashed out, Burgess quit union and tore up his contract with Bath, returning to Australia and rugby league.
He was medically retired last October after a spate of injuries, but stayed at the Rabbitohs where he has been working as a development coach with the squad.