A devastating loss  - and long-running struggles with eating disorders and alcohol – were among the issues Jaimi Kenny  faced in the years before she died.
A devastating loss - and long-running struggles with eating disorders and alcohol – were among the issues Jaimi Kenny faced in the years before she died.

The tragic loss that haunted Jaimi’s final years

J AIMI Lee Kenny was left heartbroken and traumatised after the sudden death of her "soulmate" boyfriend, with the couple described as a "modern-day Romeo and Juliet".

Family friends have revealed that the tragedy - and long-running struggles with eating disorders and alcohol - were among mental demons the outwardly bubbly daughter of ironman legend Grant Kenny and former swimming golden girl Lisa Curry grappled with in the years leading up to her shock death this week.

Jaimi, who was just 33, died in Sunshine Coast University Hospital on Monday after lengthy and complex health battles. She will be farewelled at a funeral on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.

A nanny who adored children and spoke longingly of having her own, Jaimi was left shattered by the death of her then boyfriend, Lachy Crossley, in July 2017. Lachy died in circumstances his family find too painful to discuss.

Jaimi Kenny pictured with her boyfriend Lachy Crossley. Picture: Facebook
Jaimi Kenny pictured with her boyfriend Lachy Crossley. Picture: Facebook

His mother, Gail, said her son, 31, and Jaimi, who was two years younger, met on the Sunshine Coast and fell madly in love.

"They had plans to be together forever - they were certainly in love," Dr Crossley said. "You could just see the love in their eyes that they had for each other. People described them as a modern-day Romeo and Juliet.

"They were a beautiful couple with beautiful souls. Lachy had an infectious laugh and Jaimi just beamed.

"Jaimi had just moved in and they were living together when Lachy passed."

Dr Crossley said Lachy, who owned a successful water leak detection business and had his own home at Maroochydoore, was "an absolute gentleman" to Jaimi.

 

Jaimi Kenny with her mum Lisa and siblings Jett and Morgan. Picture: Instagram/JettKenny
Jaimi Kenny with her mum Lisa and siblings Jett and Morgan. Picture: Instagram/JettKenny

"He showered her with gifts and took her to beautiful restaurants," she said.

"He would buy her flowers all the time. He taught her to skate and they loved going to the beach together.

"They certainly loved each other and they both loved children."

Romantic photos of the couple cheek-to-cheek that Jaimi posted after Lachy's death remain on her Facebook page as a lasting tribute to the love they shared.

Dr Crossley said Jaimi's death had devastated her family and brought back the pain of Lachy's passing.

The tragedy is believed to have plunged Jaimi into depression, and she spent years in and out of hospital - undergoing blood transfusions to extend her young life - and at an eating disorder clinic on the Sunshine Coast.

 

Jaimi Kenny moved to Melbourne to be closer to her half-sister Trixie. Picture: Instagram
Jaimi Kenny moved to Melbourne to be closer to her half-sister Trixie. Picture: Instagram

 

A growing dependency on alcohol also created issues, which escalated in 2012 when a relationship ended.

That same year Grant Kenny became involved with Melbourne radio personality Fifi Box, with whom he fathered daughter Beatrix "Trixie" Belle, during a brief relationship. Box became a friend to Jaimi and soon invited her daughter's older half-sister to relocate to Melbourne and take care of Trixie while single mother Box returned to work.

It was hoped the stint in Melbourne would be a positive disruption for Jaimi but sadly, it wasn't to be. Jaimi's ongoing struggles prompted her return to Queensland.

In 2014, she was charged with high-range drink driving after police pulled her car over swerving between lanes on the Sunshine Coast Motorway.

Maroochydoore Magistrates Court heard she had drunk up to 16 bottles of Strongbow cider and recorded a blood-alcohol reading of 0.23 per cent. Her lawyer told the court Jaimi was getting help for "troubles", including anxiety that had plagued her since the age of 14, and alcohol had become "a bit of a feature" of her life after a relationship breakdown two years earlier.

As well as her relationship with Lachy, those close to the Kenny-Curry family have revealed that her nephew Flynn and half-sister Trixie - the seven-year-old daughter Kenny had with Box after his 2009 split with Curry - were rare shining lights in a life that for Jaimi had become increasingly bleak.

Box this week posted on social media touching photos of Jaimi and Trixie, who she said "loved her big sister so much, her little heart is broken".

"With every tight squeezy cuddle, your love poured into her," Box wrote. "We were so blessed to have you in our lives."

 

Jaimi also lived in the shadow of her famous parents and siblings, model ironman Jett and glamorous Moulin Rouge dancer Morgan.

"She was incredibly hard on herself and her own harshest critic, but completely non-judgmental of others," a Kenny-Curry family friend said.

"Growing up on the beach on the Sunny Coast, she was - apart from being incredibly gorgeous - a genuinely kind soul, bubbly, loveable and outgoing. No-one knew until many years later about her silent struggles with depression and chronic eating disorders. She managed to keep on smiling despite so many very dark days."

Jaime Kenny pictured with her brother Jett Kenny, sister Morgan Gruell her husband Ryan gruell and their son Flynn Gruell. Picture: Instagram @jettkenny
Jaime Kenny pictured with her brother Jett Kenny, sister Morgan Gruell her husband Ryan gruell and their son Flynn Gruell. Picture: Instagram @jettkenny

The family friend said Trixie's birth in 2013 - and that of Morgan's son Flynn in 2018 - gave Jaimi "a whole new lease on life". "Jaimi absolutely adored children and was especially close to Trixie," the friend said.

"She spent weeks, months, in Melbourne with Trixie and Fifi and she loved that little girl like she was her own.

"That sentiment touched her dad's heart more than anything. Despite all the public scrutiny, Jaimi had the courage to stand up and love and protect that child - and I believe to this day she did it as much for her dad as for herself.

"Fifi and Jaimi had a very special bond. The time she spent in Melbourne was some of her happiest memories - she could just be herself without a worry in the world. It was her happy place."

Jaimi shared photos of her and Trixie together on social media, including a touching image of her kissing the-then baby girl in early 2014.

"I love how we are squishing noses," she gushed to her friends. "I totally love her! You (could) mistake her for my own! (If I had one)."

Beneath another photo of Trixie, a friend posted: "You should have a baby! It suits you way too much … too cute."

Jaimi Kenny and Fifi Box's daughter Trixie. Jaimi had spoken of her desire to have children of her own. Pic: Instagram
Jaimi Kenny and Fifi Box's daughter Trixie. Jaimi had spoken of her desire to have children of her own. Pic: Instagram

Jaimi responded: "Thanks … I would but … tiny problem, having one on my own. I can't wait. I actually can't."

Kristelle Hendy, daughter of ironman legend Trevor Hendy who was one of Grant Kenny's rivals and best friends, also posted touching photos of her and Jaimi together as children atop their famous fathers' shoulders.

"My heart hurts today as one of my dearest childhood friends has gone to be with the angels," Kristelle posted.

"So many memories and photos of us being cheeky & always giggling, but these ones are my favourites. Jaimi you had a smile like sunshine and now it lights up the heavens."

The Kenny-Curry family friend said Jaimi was a "daddy's girl" with a "cheeky disposition" like her father.

"She was mischievous and naughty in the most harmless way," the friend said.

"As much as she was born into the limelight with such high-profile parents and siblings, Jaimi hated being thrust centre stage. She just wanted to have her own family and live happily ever after."

BUTTERFLY NATIONAL HELPLINE 1800 33 4673 (1800 ED HOPE)

 

 

Originally published as The tragic loss that haunted Jaimi's final years


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