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Madeleine West compares divorce to 'crossing the Sahara desert' after Shannon Bennett split


Madeleine West has compared divorce to ‘crossing the Sahara desert’ while candidly discussing her separation from ex-partner Shannon Bennett.

On Thursday, the 41-year-old took to Instagram to describe the struggles she endured when she became a single mother-of-six in 2018, after leaving the celebrity chef following a 13-year relationship. 

‘Divorce is a bit like crossing the desert: inhospitable terrain that’s difficult to navigate, it’s easy to get utterly lost and lose hope, and the journey frequently leaves you feeling very very alone,’ she wrote.

Over: Madeleine West has compared divorce to 'crossing the Sahara desert' while candidly discussing her separation from ex-partner Shannon Bennett

Over: Madeleine West has compared divorce to ‘crossing the Sahara desert’ while candidly discussing her separation from ex-partner Shannon Bennett

‘But I realize now that, when you reach the other side… I can’t promise an oasis, but you will know yourself better, your strengths, your capacity, your fragility.

‘While struggling through the hardship, if you can honour the relationship that was, the life you built, the family you created, you show respect for the love that began it all, and respect for yourself.’

Madeleine was never married to Shannon, but confirmed in the post that she’d gone through a difficult ‘separation’ and had also walked across the Sahara desert herself. 

‘Let me tell you at least when it comes to divorce you don’t generally end up with sand in your undies. Makes for quite a nasty rash,’ she quipped.

'Divorce is a bit like crossing the desert: inhospitable terrain that's difficult to navigate, it's easy to get utterly lost and lose hope, and the journey frequently leaves you feeling very very alone,' she wrote

‘Divorce is a bit like crossing the desert: inhospitable terrain that’s difficult to navigate, it’s easy to get utterly lost and lose hope, and the journey frequently leaves you feeling very very alone,’ she wrote

She then urged anyone in ‘the midst of saying “I don’t” to happily ever after’ to check out an online toolkit from former divorce lawyer Nikki Parkinson.

‘She’s been through the trenches, she knows the law inside and out, she’s come to be one of my closest friends and confidantes,’ Madeleine wrote.

‘She’ll have your back when no one else does. Love love love…. It’s there for you all. This too shall pass x.’

Madeleine announced her split from Shannon in September 2018 after 13 years of dating.

The former couple share six children; Phoenix, Hendrix, Xascha, Xanthe, Xahlia and Margaux.

'While struggling through the #hardship, if you can honour the #relationship that was, the life you built, the family you created, you show respect for the love that began it all, and respect for yourself' she added

‘While struggling through the #hardship, if you can honour the #relationship that was, the life you built, the family you created, you show respect for the love that began it all, and respect for yourself’ she added 

A year after the split, Madeleine said she was unlikely to ever get back together with Shannon.

‘I’m a big believer that everything in life has a season. We change. We evolve,’ she told The Kyle and Jackie O Show .

‘At some point we go, ‘Well, I have certain needs I want to have met and you’ve got certain needs and if the two don’t combine and cross in the middle, why fight it and be miserable?’

‘I don’t think that’s fair to the children either to see two parents that are constantly across purposes.’

Madeleine has since moved on and found new love with Byron Bay environmentalist Maximo Bottaro.

The couple were first pictured together in April 2020 when they were spotted kissing at a secluded beach in the coastal NSW town.

The couple met while Madeleine was volunteering for Maximo’s environmental organisation ReForest Now.

New love: Madeleine has moved on from those difficult years and has found new love with Byron Bay environmentalist Maximo Bottaro (right)

New love: Madeleine has moved on from those difficult years and has found new love with Byron Bay environmentalist Maximo Bottaro (right)  

Madeleine previously told Stellar magazine in 2018 she and Shannon were ‘striving to reconnect as friends and parents’.

She said that having six children and ‘two high-pressure careers’ had put a strain on their relationship over time.

Discussing her decision to walk away from the relationship earlier this month, Madeline wrote in an article for Mamamia: ‘I woke one morning and no longer recognised myself in the mirror. 

‘I loved so much about my life, but somewhere I’d lost myself within it. It no longer fit me.

‘It tore apart my world, damaged the things I held dearest and turned love toxic.’ 

Large family: Madeleine and Shannon, who never married despite being together for 13 years, share six children, Phoenix, Hendrix, Xascha, Xanthe, Xahlia and Margaux

Large family: Madeleine and Shannon, who never married despite being together for 13 years, share six children, Phoenix, Hendrix, Xascha, Xanthe, Xahlia and Margaux

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