Channel Seven’s SAS Australia is a military training program built to push recruits to their limits with intense physical and mental challenges.
And after 18 celebrities were announced to be taking part on Monday, it begs the question as to what dark aspects of their lives will be brought up during the infamous interrogations with Directing Staff (DS).
From Sam Burgess’ incredibly public divorce and court cases to Koby Abberton’s notorious Bra Boys gang, here are the recruits’ tumultuous pasts which are sure to be touched upon in the new season:
Dark pasts: Professional surfer Koby Abberton is a founding member of the notorious Bra Boys beach gang from Maroubra in Sydney’s eastern suburbs – but the gang’s name has been sullied over the years following a number of scandals. Pictured: Koby in 2013
Professional surfer Koby is one of the founding members of the notorious Bra Boys beach gang from Maroubra in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
But what originated as a beachside band of brothers who came together to surf big waves soon had a reputation beyond fierce tribalism, including street violence and other anti-social behaviour.
While the Abberton brothers – Koby, Sunny, Jai and Dakota – are synonymous with the Bra Boys, it has sometimes been others who have sullied the gang’s name.
Among their number have been members charged with murder, armed robbery and smuggling cocaine.
It was Jai who first brought the Abbertons widespread unwanted attention when he shot dead standover man Tony Hines, whose naked body was found at the base of cliffs at Maroubra in 2003.
Two years later he was found not guilty of murder on the grounds of self-defence, successfully claiming Hines was going to rape a woman and kill him.
International fame: Along the way the Bra Boys have been the subject of a movie, formed a clothing label and inspired the fictional River Boys in the TV drama series Home And Away. Pictured: Koby (left) and Sunny Abberton (right) with Russell Crowe – who narrated the Bra Boys movie – at the film’s premiere in 2007
Koby was found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to the same matter, and given a nine month suspended sentence.
The boys were born to a heroin-addicted mother and cared for by their grandmother Mavis, known as Ma. Sunny, Jai and Koby all grew up to surf professionally.
In 2016, Koby described the Bra Boys ethos to news.com.au, saying: ‘Our creed stands for unconditional love, respect and support of those close to you regardless of race, gender and age.’
He is now happily married to Olya Nechiporenko, a Ukrainian model, psychologist and accountant. The couple have a son, Makua, born in July 2015.
In the same interview, Koby added that the Bra Boys were a brotherhood, and confirmed that marriage and fatherhood had changed his life.
‘If you look at any group the Bra Boys included, you are always gong to find bad people among them,’ he said.
Along the way the Bra Boys have been the subject of a movie, formed a clothing label and inspired the fictional River Boys in the TV drama series Home And Away.
Making headlines: Arguably one of the most well-known faces on the show, former NRL star Sam Burgess has made the front page on numerous occasions over the last few years
Arguably one of the most well-known faces on the show, former NRL star Sam Burgess has hit headlines numerous times on recent years.
The South Sydney captain, 32, retired from the NRL with immediate effect due to a shoulder injury back in 2019.
A year later he finalised his divorce with ex-wife Phoebe just before Christmas following five tumultuous years of marriage – leaving them to co-parent their two children, Poppy, three, and Billy, two, together.
Sam hit headlines again in February 2021, after he was found guilty of intimidating Phoebe’s father Mitchell Hooke during a heated clash in the aftermath of their messy split 18 months prior.
However, the following month in March, Judge Mark Williams overturned that decision in the New South Wales District Court.
‘He is relieved,’ Sam’s lawyer Bryan Wrench said outside court. ‘This is the judgment he deserves. He never wanted this fight, but he had to fight to clear his name. He is innocent and finally he has been vindicated.’
Over: A year later, Sam finalised his divorce with ex-wife Phoebe (right) just before Christmas following five tumultuous years of marriage, leaving them to co-parent their two children, Poppy, three, and Billy, two, together
On Monday, February 22, Sam was arrested after allegedly failing a roadside drug test after being pulled over by highway patrol officers in the Southern Highlands about 1.30pm.
He had been on his way to collect his two children from Bowral, about 8km away, when police stopped his BMW X5 on the Hume Highway at Braemar.
A preliminary test detected signs of cocaine in his saliva and Sam was taken to Southern Highlands police station where a secondary oral fluid test was undertaken.
That test, by the New South Wales Forensic and Analytical Science Service, has since detected a low level of the drug in the retired star’s system.
He has not been accused of driving under the influence of cocaine, only with the less serious offence of having the drug present in his blood.
He will now set out to show the concentration of cocaine was so low it would not have hampered his ability to drive, or risked the safety of the children he shares with Phoebe.
He is due to face Moss Vale Local Court on the driving charges next month.
First marriage: Brynne has had quite the chequered romantic history over the past decade. She first made headlines as the glamorous second wife of Geoffrey Edelsten. After five years of marriage, the pair separated in 2014 and finalised their divorce in April 2015
Brynne Edelsten became a household name in 2009 when she married millionaire businessman Geoffrey Edelsten, who is 40 years her senior.
They tied the knot in a lavish ceremony in November 2009 at Melbourne’s Crown Casino, with the ceremony reportedly costing $3.3million. But after five years of marriage, the pair separated in 2014 and finalised their divorce in April 2015.
In 2016, cricket star Shane Warne infamously accused Brynne of tipping off the paparazzi as he arrived at her home for a 1am ‘nightcap’.
At the time, Shane took to his social media and accused Brynne of alerting photographers and setting him up – which she strenuously denied.
‘I actually used to have a big crush on Shane,’ she said on The Kyle and Jackie O Show. ‘And that went down the drain really quick after all this. I definitely have nothing close to crush on him now!’
Brynne then went on the find love with comedian Brett Hunter, and the couple became engaged in June 2017.
Heartache: The Melbourne-based American socialite told the Herald Sun in February 2021 that she felt ‘completely broken’ and had to ‘rebuild myself’ after being left heartbroken
However, the pair split in shortly after photos circulated of her kissing blonde beauty Coby Boatman.
That short lived romance seemed to have fizzled out when she found love with Leno Cachia after meeting in late 2017.
They went public with their relationship in March 2018, but in October 2019 she revealed they had split up in a lengthy rant on Instagram.
The Melbourne-based American socialite told the Herald Sun in February 2021 that she felt ‘completely broken’ and had to ‘rebuild myself’ after being left heartbroken.
‘Twenty twenty was a very difficult year and probably the worst year of my entire life,’ the 38-year-old said.
Party central: He rose to fame as one of Australia’s best tennis talents, but there was a period of time where Mark Philippoussis was very well-known for his antics off court
He rose to fame as one of Australia’s best tennis talents, but there was a period of time where Mark Philippoussis was well-known for his antics off court.
The 44-year-old only recently opened up about his luxurious spending habits and extravagant lifestyle through his career that saw him driving flash cars and dating celebrities as he climbed the tennis ranks.
The two-time Grand Slam runner up, who retired in 2015, told ‘The Howie Games’ the story of how he once bought a $100,000 car only to sell it the next day after driving home from the dealership.
‘I’m not exaggerating when I say I would easily go through one car a month and just change it,’ he said. ‘I never kept it because it never made me happy, I was just bored.’
Mark was also linked to several notable names during his playing career including Australian singer Delta Goodrem who he dated for nine months in 2004.
Fame: Mark was also linked to several notable names during his playing career including Australian singer Delta Goodrem who he dated in 2004 for nine months
He was also engaged to model Alexis Barbara in 2005, as well as actress Jennifer Esposito in 2009, before they split just a year later.
It has also been speculated that the male model has in the past dated Paris Hilton, actresses Shannon Elizabeth and Tara Reid as well as fellow tennis player, Anna Kournikova.
His bachelor persona saw him star in American reality TV show Age Of Love in 2007.
The dating program was based on Mark looking for a partner among a group of women aged between their 20s and 40s.
Mark married his wife Silvana in 2013, and the pair share two children – daughter Maia Maria, two, and son Nicholas, six.
Happiness: Jana Pittman welcomed her fourth baby with her husband Paul Gatward in December. Pictured at her graduation for her medical degree with her son Cornelis, 14, and daughters Emily, five, and Jemima, three
Former Olympian Jana Pittman ditched her sporting career to become an obstetrician in January last year.
The 38-year-old welcomed her fourth child in December, and told New Idea she’s hoping for a fifth in future.
Two of Jana’s children, daughters Emily, five, and Jemima, three, were born via IVF and an anonymous sperm donor. She also has a 14-year-old son, Cornelis, from her marriage to her first husband and former coach, Chris Rawlinson.
While she’s the picture of happiness now, in 2018 Jana revealed she was secretly battling an eating disorder while she was at the pinnacle of her sporting career.
Jana developed bulimia nervosa in 2004, and spent the next decade battling a dysfunctional relationship with food.
Secret battle: While she’s the picture of happiness now, in 2018 Jana revealed she was secretly battling an eating disorder while she was at the pinnacle of her sporting career. Pictured in 2007
‘One evening, in the early stages of my bulimia nervosa, I recall going out and eating what I wanted. It tasted so good. But when I returned home, I threw it all up,’ she said at the time.
For eight years, she managed to hide her eating disorder from the world. However, she said her calculated approach to eating and purging eventually began to spiral out of control.
‘The disease eventually took hold, and I moved from being in control, to the disease controlling me,’ she said.
‘It took many years for me to recognise that I had a binge eating problem. It wasn’t until 2008, when the disorder began to affect my marriage, that I finally sought professional help.’
She continued: ‘I have moments when I eat something and experience a pang of guilt. But these days, I chose to just get on with it, and to start afresh again the following day.’
Emotional: Former Labor MP Emma Husar broke down in tears in a heartfelt speech to parliament in 2016, when she revealed her devastating struggle with domestic violence for 29 of her 36 years. Pictured on November 26, 2013
Former Labor MP Emma Husar broke down in tears in a heartfelt speech to parliament in 2016, when she revealed her devastating struggle with domestic violence for 29 of her 36 years.
For the first 13 years of her life, the politician said she was forced to watch her always-drunk father physically abuse her mother.
Her dad was the son of a WWII German soldier who was frequently violent towards his own wife and seven children.
‘Whilst the blows that landed on my mother during my childhood didn’t land on me physically, they may as well have,’ the Labor MP told parliament through tears.
‘The trauma inflicted was the same. I recall it vividly and in great detail.’
Ms Husar, in her powerful speech on family violence, said each episode ended the same as her father would apologise and promise to be different – but it would only last a short while.
Powerful: Ms Husar, in a powerful speech on family violence, said each episode ended the same as her father would apologise and promise to be different – but it would only last a short while
Her mother would bundle both her and her sister into the car and fled to refuges in Sydney’s west, but after so many incidences her father found out where they were.
Her mother eventually left, but not before one last terrible incident.
‘There were 13 police cars the last time physical violence affected my childhood, but this was the end of physical violence once and for all,’ she said.
In July 2019, Emma hit headlines once again after reaching an out-of-court settlement with news site Buzzfeed in a defamation case over a story which she said portrayed her as a ‘slut’.
She was suing the site and former political reporter Alice Workman in December 2018 over a story, tweet and Facebook post which detailed allegations of misconduct made against her by staff members.
Emma said the article included a number of false and defamatory accusations, which Ms. Husar claimed portrayed her as ‘a slut’ and ‘sexually perverted’.
Buzzfeed subsequently published an apology, but avoided admitting liability over the article and instead agreed to take it offline.
Soap star: Dan first appeared on Home and Away as Reuben Humphries in 2007, rejoining in 2010 before leaving for good in 2014. But it was Dan’s relationship away from Summer Bay that garnered multiple headlines over the years
Dan first appeared on Home and Away as Reuben Humphries in 2007, rejoining in 2010 before leaving for good in 2014.
But it was Dan’s relationship away from Summer Bay that garnered multiple headlines over the years.
In 2011, Dan was charged with assaulting his then-fiancée, Marni Little, following an alleged altercation at their Northern Beaches home.
Police also imposed an apprehended violence order (AVO) on Dan for protection for Marni, who stood by her fiancé throughout the case. The charges were later dropped in 2012.
The couple married in the same year and welcomed their first child, Archer Grason, in September 2014 before calling it quits two years later.
Over: Dan Ewing and Marni Little married in 2012. They welcomed their first child, Archer Grason, in September 2014 before calling it quits two years later
‘Dan and Marni Ewing amicably decided to end their three year marriage in December, 2015 due to irreconcilable differences,’ read a statement released to New Idea at the time.
‘The couple remain friends, and will continue to co-parent their son, Archer, who will be two in September.’
In November 2018, police dropped an AVO against Dan following another alleged incident involving Marni and her new husband, David Robertshaw.
A spokesperson for Ewing told Daily Mail Australia at the time: ‘On behalf of my client Dan Ewing I can confirm that after court proceedings today, the AVO and all surrounding allegations brought against him by ex-wife Marni Little was withdrawn by Police.
‘Mr Ewing was accused of poking Marni Little’s partner David Robertshaw in the chest, I can confirm that no charges will be laid by police for the alleged assault.’
Hardships: Life has rarely been straightforward for athlete Jessica Peris, the eldest daughter of Olympic legend and Aboriginal icon Nova Peris
Life has rarely been straightforward for athlete Jessica Peris, the eldest daughter of Olympic legend and Aboriginal icon Nova Peris.
The athlete was forced to pull out from the Commonwealth Games selection trials in 2018, after it was revealed she had tested positive to a banned substance.
The sprinter strenuously denied taking any performing enhancing substance, blaming a ‘substantially flawed’ urine sample and hiring a lawyer. The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency later rejected her claims.
The allegation was a crushing blow for the Ms Peris, who has fought to get past a series of personal scandals in recent years.
Her tumultuous romances with Roosters fullback Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Darwin rugby union player Jah Coe both ended with claims of domestic violence, smashed mobile phones and dirty laundry publicly aired in court.
In 2016, Kenny-Dowall was cleared of violence charges after a court found Ms Peris was an ‘unreliable’ witness – and up to 40,000 lurid text messages were tendered to a magistrate.
In the sordid messages the footballer verbally abused her – calling her a ‘dumb c***’ and a ‘f*** head’.
Their bitter arguments were laid bare with Kenny-Dowall becoming infuriated when she went out partying – rather than return home to romp as she had suggested.
Knockbacks: The allegation was a crushing blow for the Ms Peris, who has fought to get past a series of personal scandals in recent years. Pictured in court in 2016
As Daily Mail Australia reported at the time, the Roosters star fumed: ‘Have fun at Hugo’s d***head’ and blasted her as being ‘f***ing off ur head’.
The same night, he texted: ‘Good on ya have a good night f***wit’, ‘selfish f***wit mate wouldn’t expect any less from u’ and then tells her to ‘f**k off’ and ‘get ducked’.
Ms Peris pleaded with him to be courteous but copped a barrage of abuse including ‘F*** off then Jess. Selfish piece of s**t mate. What a sick c**t Jess.
‘Selfish piece of s**t don’t bother coming home. Doors locked’.
Many of the messages exchanged by the pair and shown to the court were extremely explicit, reports said, including references to pulling her hair and ‘making sweet love’.
Kenny-Dowall wept as the charges against him were dismissed.
Ms Peris’s prior relationship with Coe also ended in acrimony.
In 2012, he pleaded guilty to smashing Ms Peris’s mobile phone during a confrontation and to two charges of breaching an apprehended violence order. He was convicted of one of the breaches and fined.
Their court stoush came in the same year as a tragedy – the car crash death of Nova Peris’s second husband, the Australian sprinter Daniel Batman. Both knew the talented sportsman.
Siblings: Jett Kenny’s sister Jaimi (right) tragically died in September 2020, after a battle with alcoholism and an eating disorder
Jett is the son of ironman Grant Kenny and Olympic swimmer Lisa Curry.
The family was plagued with tragedy when Jett’s sister, Jaimi, tragically died in September 2020, after a battle with alcoholism and an eating disorder.
After her death, the 26-year-old male model shared a photo alongside his sister to Instagram and said he’ll ‘cherish the moments we had together greatly’.
‘You were there whenever I needed you, you taught me how to cook gourmet food like roast potatoes, chicken and salad, and tacos – the essentials in our household,’ he wrote.
‘You gave me a slight insight into fashion by dressing me in up in dresses and putting makeup on me when I was young. You’d sit behind me while I ate dinner and would pick at anything pimple looking on my back – even if it was just a mole.
‘You were my second mother, you were my biggest sister, you were my friend, and you were a fighter until the very end,’ he continued.
Jett went on to say: ‘Jaimi, I will love you forever and you will always have a place in my heart. I will miss you dearly, but cherish the moments we had together greatly. I love you so much, and I will see you again at some point.’
For free and confidential support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Butterfly Foundation for eating disorder concerns on 1800 ED HOPE
New recruits: Meet the 18 celebrities set to take part in this season’s SAS Australia