Lara Bingle feels betrayed, hurt and humiliated over the nude photo disgraced AFL footballer Brendan Fevola leaked to the astonished world.
But with her “amazing” fiancé, Aussie cricket star Michael Clarke, by her side, Lara, 22, is determined to overcome her pain and embarrassment, and has launched a court battle to defend her dignity.
Equally important to her is to send a clear and unmistakable message that it is not OK to exploit and degrade women. Never.
Lara wants those who consider it a joke to circulate nude photos to think again, and she also hopes to inspire other women in the same situation to stand up for themselves.
Already her fightback against the man who betrayed her has seen him come under intense scrutiny. Dumped from the AFL’s advertising campaign, Brendan, who joined the Brisbane Lions at the end of last season after a decade with Carlton, is now struggling to save his controversial career.
Here, Lara breaks her silence to reveal Brendan’s lies, and fully explains “the meltdown” at the SCG that preceded the photo’s publication and why she has initiated legal action against him. She also talks about the support she has received, her real opinion of cricket and her connection to Sydney’s Underbelly.
This is Lara Bingle stripped bare – but on this occasion there’s a big difference.
She is the one in control.
Did Brendan Fevola take the photograph?
Yes. I think anyone can see how distressed I was that he did that. I tried to cover myself up and I was pretty shocked when he took it.
Do you feel betrayed by him?
Of course, I do. I also feel exploited and compromised by the release of a photograph I never gave permission to him to take – and one he promised he had deleted when he realised how upset I was that he would do that. It should never have been taken in the first place. It was definitely an invasion of my privacy and I had always understood it had been deleted. To see he had sent it around has been really upsetting for my family and me.
Do you blame him for the world seeing it?
I do blame him. It was a complete betrayal at a time of my life when I trusted him. I was vulnerable and it was a total mistake to trust him. I can’t believe how trusting I was but I was 19 at the time.
Women need to be more aware of just how easy it is to take a picture like this
with a mobile phone. It’s also incredibly humiliating to think he passed it around to his friends, who passed it on to their friends. When I found out about it , I just felt like I had been violated.
Should Brendan apologise, or has he already rung you to apologise?
Actually, it’s gone way beyond an apology and I would prefer not to speak to him.
For the full interview with Lara where she reveals why she is suing Brendan Fevola, how her and Michael cope with fame and how she really feels about cricket, in this week's Woman's Day (on sale March 8, 2010).