The alleged victim told PS he was shocked by the threat and told Russell to leave them alone, but says he was then struck on the left-hand side of his face, the heavy blow leaving him “seeing stars”.
Witnesses have told PS that Russell was escorted from the party, while the alleged victim, visibly shaken and upset, left soon after.
Following last month’s PS story, Russell, who initially claimed the nude images also featured his pet sausage dog Copper and were meant in jest, took to social media alleging he was the victim of media “bullying”, resulting in several of his supporters, some claiming to be former SAS veterans, making veiled threats to PS on social media.
The ABC went into further detail the next day, an investigation revealing Russell, who has been critical of the ABC’s coverage of alleged SAS war crimes in Afghanistan, told his then-employer, the veterans mental health charity Swiss 8, he would raise money on OnlyFans by sharing “risque” content but no “nudity of any kind”. However, Russell sold explicit images via OnlyFans just weeks later, charging $US60 ($94 at the time) on Anzac Day 2020 for a picture of himself holding his erect penis.
Russell has continued to promote his fledgling Australian Values political party, telling potential voters he would “bring back accountability, excellence, and responsible leadership, to the way Australia is governed.”
He has also made regular media appearances, including on Ben Fordham’s 2GB program, which along with this masthead is owned by Nine, and Sky News shows hosted by Chris Smith and Paul Murray.
The Djokes on Seven
Perhaps it’s a case of the “boss doth protest too much” around the corridors of power at the Seven Network? Indeed, the level of outrage among Seven bosses over the alleged “leaking” of footage showing fledgling co-anchors Mike Amor and Rebecca Maddern slagging off tennis player Novak Djokovic would seem a little disproportionate.
At least one senior executive at Seven agreed the publicity was “wonderful”, especially for Maddern who jumped ship from Nine to land at Seven in the Melbourne news hosting gig, though she has certainly copped a hiding on Twitter from Djokovic’s more ardent supporters.
As for the supposedly “private” conversation between the pair, anyone who has stepped into a television studio filled with cameras and microphones knows that everything is being recorded, watched and listened to.
Turnbull’s COVID comeback
And on the fifth day, he rose. Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull registered a negative rapid antigen test on Wednesday after declaring he had tested positive for COVID-19, experiencing mostly mild symptoms.
By the end of the week, Turnbull was back doing his neighbourhood “constitutional” with wife Lucy, who told PS she had not contracted the virus, nor had any of the lunch guests the couple had hosted in their garden in the days before he tested positive.
“We had a dozen people at consecutive lunches and everyone who came had undertaken RATs. We purposely sat outside to decrease the risk, but we have always been very COVID conscious,” Lucy told PS, adding household staff also wore masks.
Blencke on bail in Byron
From Sydney’s glittering fast lane to the decidedly slower lane of the Byron Bay hinterland, high-profile fund manager Fredrik Blencke was granted bail on Wednesday, having spent Christmas and New Year in a cell at Parklea prison after being accused of “brazenly” assaulting his glamorous wife.
A close friend of fellow Sydney business identity Charlie Aitken, Blencke faced Waverley Local Court on Wednesday. He is accused of assaulting his wife Annabelle Price inside a ward of the Sydney Children’s Hospital on November 14 last year, prompting several nurses to rush to her aid and order him to leave. On December 15, Blencke allegedly “struck his fists” on the island bench in his former Vaucluse kitchen.
He was charged with one count of common assault and two counts of contravening an apprehended violence order.
In applying for bail, barrister John Korn said Blencke would reside near Byron Bay if he were released. Bail was granted with strict conditions, which include Blencke not travelling within the Greater Sydney region without prior approval from the court. The 48-year-old also volunteered to seek counselling specifically to deal with the breakdown of his marriage.
The matter is due to return to court on May 27.
Love and post-marriage
Their marital breakdown became an unlikely subject in the pages of the financial press last year, but it appears Rich Lister Hamish Douglass and his former wife Alex are remaining true to his claims they are still “incredibly close”.
Last Saturday the former couple, along with their daughter Amelia, posed in happy snaps at the Magic Millions races on the Gold Coast, in front of a poster declaring “all you need is love” (and presumably a very tactful divorce lawyer).
Just before Christmas, Douglass, co-founder of the multibillion-dollar Magellan investment fund, revealed in an interview: “People have tried to create an image that my wife and I [are going through] some nasty divorce – nothing could be further from the truth.”
“My wife and I remain incredibly close. Actually, we spend a lot of time sharing a house together. We’re spending the whole Christmas holidays together.”
“There’s a time when people should really stay out of people’s personal lives,” he said, slamming “some of the stuff in the newspapers”. Indeed.
Moving on in style
Bondi Icebergs owner Maurice Terzini only confirmed a month ago that he had split with his partner in life and fashion, Lucy Hinkfuss. Now the foodie fashionisto has confirmed he is engaged to Melbourne-based celebrity jeweller Emma Addams, the creative vision behind the kooky Heart of Bone pieces favoured by the likes of Billie Eilish and Madonna.
Addams, who was previously married to Melbourne boutique owner Justin Abrahams, told PS she had known Terzini for 25 years and admired his “fearless tenacity”.
“Both of us have in recent times thought about the idea of collaborating together creatively in some way and our mutual respect for one another, shared approach’s to living life, love, parenting and family has brought us together in an unexpected and very natural, easy organic way,” she enthused, adding: “Surprising us both in a wonderful way.”
The couple, who have four young children between them plus Terzini’s adult son, are planning a wedding in April, which promises to be a show-stopper given the pair’s avant-garde fashion penchant. PS is particularly interested in what sort of wedding ring will materialise, given Addams specialises in bejewelled skulls, bat wings and various other adornments.
In what must rank as one of her most revealing interviews ever, Nicole Kidman divulged some incredibly intimate details to American radio journalist Terry Gross this week.
Kidman, who explains she is in Sydney to look after her 81-year-old mother following ill health, shared that as a child in Australia she was so fair-skinned she wasn’t allowed to go to the beach in the middle of the day with other children. Instead, she stayed home, curled up with a book and pretended she was one of the characters she was reading about. “I’ve played every role in Chekhov – in my bedroom, at all different hours, day or night,” she says. “Little did I know that that was going to lead me to my vocation.”
She also admits to taking up smoking “herbal” cigarettes for her new film, Being the Ricardos, to accurately portray Lucille Ball.
And she opens up about the emotional toll of playing a woman in an abusive marriage in Big Little Lies, saying she spent time between takes crying under a towel on a bathroom floor, too emotionally wrought to get up.
“You feel at times you’re teetering on the edge of something that’s quite dangerous,” Kidman says. “What I’ve found is by having the most stable, nourishing, loving family is my balance … and it gives me the chance to go into these places and then be still and not become untethered.”
She also ruminates on the sudden losses she has experienced, including her father Antony, director Stanley Kubrick and Big Little Lies director Jean-Marc Vallee. She received news of their deaths via devastating phone calls.
“I loved Stanley, and for him to leave the world so suddenly, it was awful. At the same time, I loved my father and for him to leave the world so suddenly, [and for] Jean-Marc to leave the world so suddenly … But suddenly is probably, for the person that leaves, you go, ‘Oh, OK, well, at least there wasn’t pain.’ There’s pain for us, but there wasn’t pain for you, and I’m very glad that wasn’t pain for you.”