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The Block: How Darren Jolly was saved by recent girlfriend and baby after ugly split

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Troubled former AFL player Darren Jolly has completely turned his life around.

The Block contestant, whose personal struggles have been well-documented during the last three years, just announced the birth of his first child with girlfriend Lucy Porter, a daughter named Olive.

It marked a blissful ending for the two-time premiership star, 40, whose life spiralled uncontrolled after he separated from his wife-of-15-years, Deanne Jolly, in 2019.

Following their break-up, the exes were locked in a bitter custody battle and Darren even contemplated suicide – but things finally appear to be looking up for him.

Every day Mail Australia takes a have a look at how the previous Collingwood and Sydney Swans footballer modified his life for the higher with the assistance of his recent girlfriend. 

Darren Jolly’s blissful ending: How the troubled Block star found love and have become a father again after his bitter custody battle with ex-wife Deanne left him suicidal. (Pictured together with his girlfriend Lucy Porter and their daughter Olive last month)

Baby joy

Darren announced the birth of his daughter Olive on Instagram last month, posting a gallery of photos of himself and Lucy cuddling their bundle of joy within the hospital. 

‘Welcome to the world beautiful Olive Rita Porter Jolly. You might be such a special gift and we love you a lot!! ❤️,’ he captioned the post. 

Darren looked every inch the doting dad as he cradled the newborn.

In one other image, Lucy held the kid near her chest moments after giving birth. 

Baby joy: Darren announced the birth of his daughter Olive on Instagram last month, posting a gallery of photos of himself and Lucy cuddling their bundle of joy in the hospital

Baby joy: Darren announced the birth of his daughter Olive on Instagram last month, posting a gallery of photos of himself and Lucy cuddling their bundle of joy within the hospital

Overjoyed: 'Welcome to the world beautiful Olive Rita Porter Jolly. You are such a special gift and we love you so much!! ❤️,' the former AFL star captioned the post

Overjoyed: ‘Welcome to the world beautiful Olive Rita Porter Jolly. You might be such a special gift and we love you a lot!! ❤️,’ the previous AFL star captioned the post 

Precious moment: Lucy cradled her baby just moments after giving birth

Precious moment: Lucy cradled her baby just moments after giving birth 

Support after his suicide attempt

Darren’s life fell apart when he separated from ex-wife Deanne in September 2019, bringing to an end 15 years of marriage. 

He went public with recent girlfriend Lucy in November 2020 when he posted a loved-up selfie on Instagram of the pair on holiday, which coincided together with his birthday.

New love: Darren went public with new girlfriend Lucy in November 2020 when he posted this loved-up selfie on Instagram of the pair on holiday, which coincided with his birthday

Latest love: Darren went public with recent girlfriend Lucy in November 2020 when he posted this loved-up selfie on Instagram of the pair on holiday, which coincided together with his birthday

Praise: Darren’s mother praised Lucy (left and right) for her ‘concerted efforts’ to assist after he shared a worrying Instagram post in October 2020 saying he couldn’t ‘go on for much longer’ 

A month earlier, Darren had sent shockwaves through the AFL community when he shared a worrying Instagram post during which he said he couldn’t ‘go on for much longer’.

Several people called Victoria Police to ask them to perform a welfare check. 

After spending hours attempting to get in contact with him, his manager Paul Connors said the previous Collingwood premiership player had been found protected and well at about 8.30pm that night – almost two hours after the concerning post.

He thanked everyone for his or her assist in sharing calls for help finding him.

As footballers and Darren’s family swarmed to support him, also amongst those helping was Lucy, who Darren’s mother praised for her ‘concerted efforts’ to assist. 

In a better frame of mind: The former Sydney Swans and Collingwood player appeared in a good mood when he and Lucy took a holiday in Victoria's south-west in November 2020

In a greater mind set: The previous Sydney Swans and Collingwood player appeared in an excellent mood when he and Lucy took a vacation in Victoria’s south-west in November 2020

‘To begin with we want to thank the concerted efforts of Lucy,’ Jacinta Jolly wrote in an emotional Facebook post.

‘As his parents, this has been essentially the most terrifying 24 hours we have ever needed to endure. ‘He’s protected and receiving the most effective care he needs at once.’ 

Bitter custody stoush 

Darren and Deanne were popular contestants on The Block, appearing twice in 2014 and 2015, and winning the latter season. 

In a press release to the Herald Sun in 2019, Deanne confirmed the pair’s acrimonious split and said Darren was the one who instigated it.

‘It is a very difficult time for me and my girls. We now have been blindsided and left devastated by Darren’s motion. But I’m specializing in my two daughters, who’re my primary priority,’ she said on the time.

Marriage breakdown: Darren separated from his ex-wife Deanne (right) in September 2019, bringing to an end 15 years of marriage

Marriage breakdown: Darren separated from his ex-wife Deanne (right) in September 2019, bringing to an end 15 years of marriage 

Darren claimed on Instagram in October 2020 he hadn’t been in touch together with his two daughters, Scarlett and Lily, since splitting from Deanne. 

‘I’m done, the unbearable pain of not seeing my beautiful girls… is just too much to address,’ he wrote.

‘Looking back through these photos broke what little I even have left of my heart because it showed how much my girls loved me.

‘To my parents, my family, my friends, Lucy, I like you. To my girls, I’m sorry. My love will all the time be in your heart. Love Dad xx.’

Reality bites: Darren and Deanne were popular contestants on Channel Nine renovation series The Block, appearing twice in 2014 and 2015, and winning the latter season

Reality bites: Darren and Deanne were popular contestants on Channel Nine renovation series The Block, appearing twice in 2014 and 2015, and winning the latter season

Things were looking up two weeks later when Darren publicly credited Lucy with helping him get out of his depression.

‘Camping on the sand with not a soul in sight,’ he wrote on Instagram.

‘I’ve wanted to do that for such a protracted time and I could not have picked a greater weekend and higher company to do it with.

‘There was something spectacular about our surroundings because the rugged coastline and the aggressiveness of the surf made where we were and who I used to be sharing it with memorable.’

Family: Darren claimed in October 2020 he hadn't been in contact with his two daughters Scarlett and Lily (pictured in January 2017) since splitting from Deanne in September 2019

Family: Darren claimed in October 2020 he hadn’t been in touch together with his two daughters Scarlett and Lily (pictured in January 2017) since splitting from Deanne in September 2019

Depression struggles

In February 2020, Darren spoke candidly at Collingwood’s annual general meeting about his business troubles and the breakdown of his marriage. 

‘Spending three weeks in a mental facility to take care of depression. Leaving my 15-year marriage because I fell out of affection and wanted a happier life,’ he said. 

He told his former teammates his mental health became so bad around that point he ‘almost did something silly and ended [his] life’.

Footy career: Darren played a total of 237 games for Melbourne, Sydney and Collingwood, including winning a premiership in 2010. (Pictured playing for the Swans on June 4, 2005)

Footy profession: Darren played a complete of 237 games for Melbourne, Sydney and Collingwood, including winning a premiership in 2010. (Pictured playing for the Swans on June 4, 2005)

‘The whole lot was an excessive amount of to handle and I lost control. I lost my drive to maintain going, I lost my purpose in life, I lost my direction and I lost my path. I assumed it was easier simply to go,’ he confessed.

On the depths of his struggle, Darren admitted himself to hospital and described it because the ‘smartest thing [he] could have done’.

For confidential support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636

Mental health battle: In February 2020, Darren spoke at Collingwood's annual general meeting about his business troubles and the breakdown of his marriage. He said his mental health became so bad around that time he 'almost did something stupid and ended [his] life'

Mental health battle: In February 2020, Darren spoke at Collingwood’s annual general meeting about his business troubles and the breakdown of his marriage. He said his mental health became so bad around that point he ‘almost did something silly and ended [his] life’

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