His ex Tziporah Malkah – formerly an actress known as Kate Fischer, who he was engaged to in the ’90s – spoke out about his decision.
‘For a man who is so passionate, he must be really suffering,’ she told Sunrise.
The 44-year-old admitted at times he was ‘very withdrawn’.
‘He would go into his shell and be non-communicative for days at a time,’ she said.
She also said on the Kyle And Jackie O Show that he sometimes would ‘take really long showers’.
‘I once had a peek and he was just standing there with his arms across his chest with water beating on his head, just looking so sad,’ she said.
Tziporah told New Idea that James is actually a gentle person.
‘When he’s relaxed, he’s actually a gentle, easy person to talk to. He’s also quite wise, great fun!’ she revealed.
But the former model admitted there were difficulties associating with him.
‘But with a charming alpha male, comes complications... James was surrounded by a lot of hangers-on.’
Even when they broke up, Tziporah still felt his presence.
‘James cast a long shadow, even from a distance,’ she spilled.
But she did later call him ‘terrifying’ while on reality TV. ‘Everyone is terrified of him [James] and everyone compares themselves to him,’ Tziporah revealed on I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!.
James has, in the past, spoken of his depression and hitting his ‘lowest point’ in 2013.
And a statement made by Consolidated Press Holdings last week said: ‘Mr Packer is suffering from mental health issues. At this time, he intends to step back from all commitments.’
Read the full story in this week's issue of New Idea, on sale now.