Love that couldn’t last: The highs & lows of Natalie Imbruglia and Daniel Johns’ marriage

“He was the love of my life"
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Cast your mind back to the late 90s in Australia. Butterfly clips reigned supreme, the Y2K bug was a genuine concern and Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn and Silverchair’s Anthem for the Year 2000 were on high rotation on radio.

So when Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns and Neighbours-actress-turned-popstar Natalie Imbruglia  struck up a romance, it wasn’t long before they became one of the most high-profile couples of the era.

WATCH: Daniel Johns admits he didn’t talk to ex Natalie Imbruglia for ten years

Love at first sight

Describing their first meeting at a Silverchair gig in London back in 1999, Natalie revealed on the podcast Who is Daniel Johns? that the pair were instantly drawn to one another.

 “I remember he was struggling to make eye contact, but we did have an instant connection,” she said. 

“I just knew, he’s not going to come over and say hello, even though he knows who I am, so I’m going to have to make this happen.”

So, the former Neighbours star took matters into her own hands and it didn’t take long before the duo were hitting the headlines for their romance.

Natalie Imbruglia Daniel Johns
Natalie Imbruglia and Daniel Johns first crossed paths in 1999 and were married by 2003. (Credit: Getty)

Despite being based on the opposite sides of the world (Natalie was working in the UK while Daniel lived in NSW’s Newcastle), Natalie and Daniel announced their engagement in 2002.

Full of praise for her soon-to-be-husband, Natalie credited the Silverchair frontman for getting her through tough times in an interview with The Sun that same year.

“Meeting Daniel helped me sort myself out. I was really down for a while – I’m such a perfectionist and I had a massive album to follow up. Now I’m very happy in my relationship,” she said.

After releasing Counting Down the Days in 2005, which was based on their real-life long distance marriage (they tied the knot in 2003), Natalie spoke to the Herald Sun about the dynamics of their relationship.

“Well, it’s worked so far,” she told the publication.

“If it stops working and it gets too difficult I have no qualms in taking time off or quitting my job for a while. No qualms at all. I’d never let the distance or work get in the way of my marriage.”

She added: “We’ve got a one-month rule going where every month we have to see each other for at least a week.”

Natalie Imbruglia Daniel Johns now
“He was the love of my life and I think in time you realise that’s a really special thing,” Natalie said of Daniel in 2021. (Credit: Getty/ Luke Eblen)

Facing the music

However, the marriage did eventually come crashing down. In 2008, Natalie and Daniel released a statement that confirmed they were divorcing.

“While we are very sad that our marriage has ended we want to make it clear that our parting is amicable and we remain friends,” the statement read.

“This mutual decision has not been taken lightly or quickly. However, our career demands and our lives in different parts of the world have brought us to the point where unfortunately this difficult decision was necessary for both of us. We have simply grown apart through not being able to spend enough time together.

“We have issued this statement to set the record straight and to eliminate any need for speculation. We will not be making any further public statements whatsoever in regard to this very private matter and we ask that people please respect our sincere wishes in this regard.”

Daniel Johns Natalie Imbruglia
Daniel and Natalie called it quits in 2008 and “didn’t speak for 10 years”. (Credit: Getty)

Calling it quits and moving on

 Since going their separate ways, Daniel and Natalie are now on good terms, but it took a while for them to get to that point.

“We’re friends now. But to be honest, we didn’t talk for about 10 years,” Daniel told The Project in 2021.

Explaining the breakdown of the relationship, he described himself as being young and irresponsible at the time.

“When we were married, I was in my 20s. I was incapable of learning how to be responsible. I didn’t know how to use a phone. I was touring all the time,” he said.

“And then, I don’t know, I took it of my own volition and said, ‘Why are we not talking?’ I didn’t really understand and she was like, ‘I don’t know why we’re not talking either!’”

WATCH: Waleed Aly and Jimmy Barnes cover Natalie Imbruglia’s hit Torn (Story continues below)

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Natalie echoed the sentiment in an episode of the Who is Daniel Johns? podcast, reiterating just how taxing their split was.

“It was really, really hard; it’s a difficult time to talk about and, to be honest, I just remember trying… just trying to get things back on track,” the singer explained.

“And sometimes there isn’t a way through it and that’s where we found ourselves, I’m afraid.”

Despite things not working out, Natalie has nothing but good things to say about Daniel these days, who was clearly an instrumental person in her past.

“He was the love of my life and I think in time you realise that’s a really special thing and you look back on it fondly, and it doesn’t come around that often that you can both feel that way about each other,” Natalie added.

And it seems Daniel reflects on their relationship with the same level of fondness, adding sweetly of his ex: “She taught me how to be a man, you know? I met her when I was 19, at risk of sounding sentimental.”

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