James Packer – an unlikely leader in love

If only more single men could be like James Packer.

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James Packer and Mariah Carey are clearly in love.

Over the last two decades, 48 year old James Packer has been somewhat unlucky in love – but it looks like the tide has turned for the billionaire Bondi boy, and it’s all of his own making.

James Packer’s personal life has been raked over in the media for years, but his latest move – to become engaged to 45 year old singer extraordinaire Mariah Carey after a whirlwind 8 month courtship is gutsy to say the least, and I applaud him.

How can you criticise any man who has the guts to take a chance on love – not withstanding the number of times it hasn’t worked out for him? And unlike the rest of us mere mortals, his personal life is played out on the public stage for all to see, every step of the way, but he is stepping up- again.

The global singles scene – famous, wealthy or otherwise is littered with men who can’t commit. After five years being single, I know from first-hand experience. From New York to Sydney and London, my single friends and I lament this “problem of our time”. There are books, magazine articles, and columns written about the subject. Women flounder in despair as they try to get their men to put a ring on it.

For the most part, men respond by saying they “just haven’t yet met the one,” or “it isn’t the right time” or they “haven’t yet recovered from the last break -up” and many of these guys are well over 40. And what about all of those single dads who say “I wont take on someone else’s children” but yet expect someone to take on theirs in order to be with them.

Packer is none of the above. He is going his own way, and a cut above the average single Aussie bloke out there. Yes, clearly he can afford to be, but that’s not the whole story. No matter what a man’s (or woman’s) bank balance is, heartache and heart break still hurt, and meeting someone who is the real deal, can be even more difficult for someone successful than for the average guy or gal. One can only imagine the women he has had to sift through to find sincerity.

Here you have a 48 year old man who has been engaged three times, married twice, with three small children to his ex-wife Erica, and has popped the question just three years after his last marriage dissolved.

In 2014 in an interview with Forbes magazine, Packer was quoted as saying he had “made a bunch of mistakes in my life” and that his home life was a “disaster”. He has single handedly turned that around in 2 short years.

His recent move is courageous, it’s ballsy, it’s admirable and it makes him likeable. If he was a politician, I’d vote for him based on his engagement alone. He’s real now, billions or not. In the interview with Forbes, he also said: “The last thing I think I am is perfect. I’m just trying to do the best job I can.”

And it looks like he has the same approach in his love life. He knows he is not perfect, but he’s going forwards. He is an Aussie. He is having another go. Not only has he become engaged after a global, glamorous and high profile courtship, he has chosen out of type this time too. He looks to have chosen an equal. She’s strong, a single parent, and she is no waif.

Carey has her own thing going on – and plenty of it. One of the biggest selling artists in musical history, she has sold over 200 million records worldwide. She is reportedly estimated to be worth $500 million, and unlike many successful artists, she composes her own material. She doesn’t need Packer to pay the bills. Carey has her own career, commitments and network of people. She’s also not petite and brunette like the three women Packer committed to previously. Carey is buxom, voluptuous, blonde (mostly) and glamorous.

She is bringing plenty to the table in terms of a relationship, from her confidence and success, to introducing Packer to a place he probably hasn’t had access to before – the glittering world of one of the world’s most successful performers.

It’s a far cry from where Packer was at 3 years ago when I often jogged past him as he ran solo along the Bondi-Bronte walk 2-3 times a week, his face sallow, his eyes cast down. Around that time he had a very public punch up with his best mate and best-man at his last wedding David Gyngell, reportedly over Gyngell’s anger at Packer’s split at that time from wife Erica.

Meantime the women in Packer’s life have moved on too. Reports claim Erica is in a relationship with singer Seal, and Packer’s first wife Jodhi Meares reportedly married quietly in Hawaii at the end of last year to Nicholas Finn. Love seems to be in the air.

Another plus for Packer is his seeming ability to maintain friendships with his exes. Meares was photographed with Carey and Packer last year, all looking super chummy.

Over the years, Packer has shown that in business his mantra seems to be “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” after his incredible recovery from the One-Tel debacle, and $3 billion loss during the GFC, just to mention the big ones. In his personal life, he seems to apply the same principals, and this time, he might have just found the dream. I really hope so.

Renae Leith-Manos

Renae Leith-Manos is a Sydney journalist who hangs out in Bondi. She has had a colourful media career, and spends her time writing, consulting to new businesses, running, doing yoga, swimming & cycling. She's likes healthy eating, but thinks chocolate cake is just as important as kale chips. She spends weekends hanging out with her gorgeous twins doing something fun in Sydney's East.

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