Australian starlet Jessica Marais is reeling over news that her former long-term partner, a Perth artist, has been convicted of bashing a woman.
Earlier this month, curator Ben Riding, 34, pleaded guilty to beating up girlfriend Tatiana Rogala in a drunken rage.
Perth’s District Court heard that after having an argument with Tatiana on Valentine’s Day, Ben locked her in his bedroom, pinned her to the bed and began choking her, covering her mouth with his hand.
‘It’s devastating for Jess to be linked to a guy convicted of assault for domestic violence. She hasn’t been with Ben for years. But frustratingly, this past relationship is back in the spotlight,’ a family friend reveals.
Ben and Jessica were in a committed relationship until 2009, with some friends convinced they had a future together. But Jess’ soaring career took its toll. They broke up ‘because we were going in different directions’, the actress later reflected.
In 2009, the same year she broke up with Ben, Jess won her first Logie for Most Popular New Female Talent for the role of Rachel on Packed To The Rafters, which propelled her to national fame.
The following year, she began a relationship with her then co-star James Stewart. The pair split up in May 2015, three years after the birth of their daughter Scout Edie, with James later explaining that their hearts went in ‘different directions’.
‘Jess is such a lovely person and so talented. She struggles with juggling her career and caring for Scout – her number- one priority – and keeping on good terms with James,’ says the friend.
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