Koby Dean Hamilton, the 11-year-old son of late Aussie cricket star Dean Jones, had a nine-word response when his mum told him his dad had died.
“It’s OK, mum,” Koby told Kerri-Anne Hamilton, a flight attendant who Jones met in the late 1990s before carrying on a secret decade-long affair. “I know my dad loved me.”
As Jones’ wife of more than 30 years, Jane, and their daughters, Isabella and Phoebe, publicly mourned the Victorian hero in the 48 hours following his death in India after suffering a cardiac arrest, the Hamiltons remained silent out of respect.
But Kerri-Anne has spoken out today, saying it was important Koby was heard because his dad was his hero.
“It’s an awful time for his wife and his other kids. I’m not trying to step out of line. I want to speak to you for Koby,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I don’t want Koby to go to school and for kids to say, ‘We didn’t see you, how do we know you were his son?’ He deserves acknowledgment.”
Australia was stunned when Jones confirmed his relationship with Kerri-Anne in July, 2010.
The 2007 Victorian Father of the Year had met the blonde Sydneysider at a celebrity golf event where she was working as a promotions model.
They carried on an affair for nine years, with sources telling the Herald Sun at the time Jones would fly Kerri-Anne “all over the world” before the relationship soured when she fell pregnant and began asking for child support payments.
Kerri-Anne responded by selling her story to A Current Affair, declaring she didn’t know he was married when they met and wasn’t the one who pursued the relationship.
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“We were having lunch and he said, ‘I don’t know if you know this, but I’m married’,” Kerri-Anne told ACA. “Sometimes it would go nearly a year that I would ignore him and not a day would go past without me receiving a message from him.
“I never gave him an ultimatum. I never said, ‘Leave your wife’. The turning point was when I asked him for child support.”
But after not meeting his son for almost two years, Jones turned a corner and did his best to be a father to Koby.
“Dean was always trying to look after everyone; his family and also me and Koby. He made everyone feel special and loved,” Kerri-Anne told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“It was never easy for him. Deano didn’t meet Koby until he was almost two. He just said to me one day, ‘This is silly, I need to meet him’. Anyway, I didn’t need to introduce them. I told Koby that there was someone here to see him and told him it was his daddy. He just raced to him, tripped down the stairs and jumped into his arms.
“He always made sure Koby and I were OK. I am very respectful to his family and he loved his wife and his girls. It’s not my intention to cause problems. He had a son and he loves his son. I’ve always taken what Dean could give us and that’s always been enough.”
Jones was a gamechanger on the field.Source:Getty Images
A standout young baseballer and cricketer, Koby had Face-Timed with Jones as recently as two days before his death, where his father showed him around the Indian commentary booth he was working in and had colleague Brett Lee — who valiantly attempted to resuscitate Jones — say hello.
“Koby would always wait with such anticipation for Dean to call,” Kerri-Anne said. “He looked up to him and he would have questions written down to ask him because he was so knowledgeable. They’d talk stats for ages and he’d mentor him in his sport; how to swing (the bat), how to think.
“He always said he would give anything to have a relationship with Koby, but he never wanted to hurt anyone. He put everything on the line for us and I’ll never forget that. I know it’s so complicated, but his dedication to Koby and all his kids it says everything … He gave Koby a voice and he had a voice in his life. Right now (Koby) is shocked. He was so proud of his dad. His dad was, is and will always be his hero.”
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