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Twelve months before Grant Hackett’s life unravelled at Melbourne’s Crown casino complex on the evening of February 21, the Olympic champion knew he was coming unstuck.
Hackett’s now infamous night at the Crown, during which he was photographed by casino patrons wandering in the foyer after midnight searching for his young son while wearing only his underpants and clutching a singlet, would become the catalyst for a five-week stint in a rehabilitation clinic for sleeping pill dependency; a problem that has reared its head before, during his Olympic career.
After battling through — “white knuckling” as he calls it now — for more than a year, the retired athlete finally informed his parents Neville and Margaret in early February that he simply wasn’t coping with his bitter and drawn-out divorce from singer Candice Alley. It had taken its toll on him mentally and emotionally.
Last week, the dual Olympic gold medallist was discharged from The Meadows in Arizona — an exclusive rehab facility that specialises in 30 types of addiction, including drugs.