Twiggy Forrest reveals the real reason he and his wife Nicola split
Mining magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest has broken his silence about his shock marriage split with wife Nicola, insisting it was best for everyone involved and that the pair remain friends.
Australia’s richest couple rocked the corporate world in July when they announced that their 31-year marriage had ended and that the pair were living separate lives.
The Fortescue Metals Group executive chairman opened up about the split for the first time at a trade forum in Perth on Wednesday.
It comes days after he threw a star-studded bash for 700 guests in Western Australia’s Pilbara desert to celebrate his mining company’s 20th anniversary.
His estranged wife didn’t attend the lavish event but sent a video message in her first public statement since the split.
Mr Forrest has finally publicly addressed the marriage breakdown.
Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest says he’s still ‘good mates’ with estranged wife Nicola (pictured in happier times in New York)
‘Nic and I are good mates, we speak all the time she’s a fantastic lady,’ Mr Forrest told Nine News.
‘We made the call that it was better for everyone if we didn’t live right on top of each other but we still absolutely support each other.’
The couple insist it won’t affect the direction of their mining empire or philanthropic interests.
Mr Forrest was asked what assurances he could give to shareholders that the former couple’s new arrangement wouldn’t impact the business.
His estranged wife is now Fortescue’s largest shareholder.
‘I give them complete reassurance- Nic and I are lockstep on that,’ Mr Forrest added.
‘We are completely committed to Fortescue, to Tattarang, all the objectives of Mindaroo, we are completely united.’
Mr Forrest also opened up about the shock departure of Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Fiona Hick just six months into the job.
Ms Hick announced the ‘joint decision’ with the company’s board to leave the business on Monday.
‘Fiona was given a choice to make and she chose, so I’d say she wasn’t pushed, Mr Forrest said.
Andrew Forrest (second right) and his wife Nicola (right) were married for 31 years
The mining magnate insists he and his estranged wife still support each other
The mining magnate and his wife confirmed their separation in July after they were approached by a transaction that moved more than $1.1 billion worth of Fortescue shares into a new company Coaxial Ventures wholly owned by Mrs Forrest.
The former couple have three adult daughters.
‘After 31 years of marriage, we have made the decision to live apart. Our friendship and commitment to our family remains strong,’ the couple said in a joint statement.
The couple’s wealth has largely been amassed through their 36 per cent stake in iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group, which they founded in 2003.
They jointly oversee their private investment arm, Tattarang and they also co-founded, and continue to co-chair, their philanthropic venture Minderoo Foundation, which works to tackle a range of issues from modern slavery to plastic pollution.
‘We will continue our shared mission to create and gift our wealth to tackle community and global challenges, as recently shown by last month’s donation of one-fifth of our Fortescue shareholding to Minderoo Foundation.’
It was revealed days later that Mr Forrest’s company investigated allegations he had a secret relationship with an employee.
The investigation concluded that the allegations were unsubstantiated.
Andrew Forrests says he and Nicola remain completely united on business interests