Af­ter all the out­ra­geous lies I feel vin­di­cated – Nickie Vella de Fre­meaux

NICKIE VELLA DE FRE­MEAUX speaks to Rachel At­tard in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view about the tri­als and tribu­la­tions of her hus­band’s Na­tion­al­ist Party lead­er­ship cam­paign as well as those that may well lie in store. She ex­plains how her fam­ily’s life has al­ready

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - Rachel At­tard

Nickie Vella de Fre­meaux, the wife of the new Na­tion­al­ist Party leader, tells The Malta In­de­pen­dent on Sun­day in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view in to­day’s is­sue that “af­ter all the out­ra­geous lies told about my hus­band and my fam­ily, I feel vin­di­cated”.

Vella de Fre­meaux, who, like her hus­band Adrian Delia is a lawyer by pro­fes- sion, re­veals how her en­tire fam­ily suf­fered be­cause of the lies that peo­ple – from both within the party and out­side it – were spread­ing.

How­ever, she added, af­ter the 16 Septem­ber elec­tion re­sult that saw her hus­band elected to the helm of the PN, “I feel vin­di­cated be­cause jus­tice pre­vailed.”

Vis­i­bly happy but still try­ing to grasp the new re­al­ity of her and her hus­band’s new stand­ing in public life, Vella de Fre­meaux ex­plains how events of the last four months have af­fected her fam­ily’s life. She em­pha­sises that their chil­dren will stay away from the po­lit­i­cal scene be­cause nei­ther she nor her hus­band be­lieve that their chil­dren should be in­volved in the po­lit­i­cal arena.

In the in­ter­view she also speaks why she closed her Face­book ac­count and the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Re­becca Dimech and the Delia fam­ily.

This news­room also asked Delia’s wife how she voted in the ref­er­en­dum against spring hunt­ing and on di­vorce. She was also asked how she plans to make ends meet now that her hus­band has taken leave of ab­sence from his le­gal ca­reer.

Did you agree with your hus­band’s de­ci­sion to con­test the PN lead­er­ship?

Af­ter the PN’s last elec­toral de­feat, I was so dev­as­tated. For me democ­racy was be­ing eaten up, the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers was gone and the party was fall­ing apart. Con­fronted with this sit­u­a­tion, I en­cour­aged Adrian to run for the post and he did it. Truth be told, as soon as he went for it I got cold feet. I al­ways be­lieved that Adrian would be a good party leader but I had not sug­gested it to him ear­lier be­cause it was not the right time for our fam­ily.

This de­ci­sion has al­ready brought with it many sac­ri­fices. But to­day I am glad he took it. I firmly be­lieve that he will be a good leader and will make the party stronger and electable.

What role will you take within the party?

If my con­tri­bu­tion is needed, I would fo­cus more on the things I love do­ing – help­ing vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple, so­cial cases, help­ing abused chil­dren and bat­tered women, and fight­ing for an­i­mal rights. But I will al­ways re­main Adrian’s wife and mother of our five chil­dren.

Were you in­volved in his lead­er­ship cam­paign?

No, not at all. In fact, I kept the chil­dren and my­self out of it be­cause pol­i­tics is def­i­nitely not the place for chil­dren.

In fact, dur­ing the lead­er­ship cam­paign your chil­dren barely fea­tured...

It was a de­ci­sion Adrian and I took. Look at other ma­ture democ­ra­cies around you. Do you see politi­cians parad­ing around with their chil­dren at every turn? Also, my chil­dren are not in­ter­ested in or en­thused by pol­i­tics. They were present at their fa­ther’s swear­ing in be­cause it was an of­fi­cial oc­ca­sion. They are our chil­dren and they are pri­vate cit­i­zens, not po­lit­i­cal tools. What I am say­ing now will hold for the future as well.

What did the older ones say when their fa­ther en­tered the po­lit­i­cal sphere?

“He ru­ined our life” ( she said with a smile). The old­est ones picked up the hor­ri­ble po­lit­i­cal un­der­cur­rents and suf­fered a lot. We have al­ways brought up our chil­dren in a pos­i­tive and lov­ing en­vi­ron­ment and they were never ex­posed to neg­a­tiv­ity. So they took the lies and back­stab­bing against their fa­ther to heart.

Did you ever think that he was go­ing to win?

I was cer­tain that he was go­ing to lose in the first round of elec­tions, and we would go back to our pri­vate life. How wrong I was! Obvi- ously, as one can imag­ine now that he is the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion our life has changed dras­ti­cally. For me it was a bap­tism of fire be­cause I now look at pol­i­tics in a dif­fer­ent way. In the past, I was just an arm­chair critic. Now we are in the thick of it.

Dur­ing the lead­er­ship con­test, your hus­band said that the PN’s old guard, or the so-called es­tab­lish­ment, was against him. Were there mo­ments when you ad­vised him to throw in the towel?

No, there were not. But I did find the spread­ing of false ru­mours and lies about my hus­band by Na­tion­al­ists MPs hor­ri­ble. At the be­gin­ning, swamped by these out­ra­geous lies, I felt I was be­ing judged and that feel­ing was hor­ri­ble.

Let me just give you one small ex­am­ple. It was writ­ten that we have two live-in nan­nies. The truth is that I do not have any nan- nies – I am the cook, the carer and the per­son who takes care of the fam­ily’s needs. Thank God that some­times my par­ents help me.

You have al­ways been out­spo­ken. Why did you close your Face­book page?

I did not do it be­cause Adrian was run­ning for the PN lead­er­ship, but be­cause the minute his can­di­da­ture was an­nounced I started re­ceiv­ing of­fen­sive and cruel mes­sages, even about my chil­dren. At that point, I de­cided to close my Face­book page be­cause I was see­ing it as an ar­ti­fi­cial re­al­ity.

Now that you are the wife of the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion, will you re­ac­ti­vate it?

So far, no. At this stage, I am still try­ing to find my bear­ings in the po­lit­i­cal world be­cause it has been quite a whirl­wind. How­ever, no one is go­ing to stop me from voic­ing my opin­ion. Adrian and I have al­ways said that nei­ther of us will pre­tend to agree when we do not and we are not about to start now. I will not be able to be at peace with my­self if I do not voice my views.

But will you show your dis­agree­ment pri­vately or pub­licly?

I will not go public be­cause it is not cor­rect. I would first tell him why I dis­agree, and then if he de­cides oth­er­wise I would voice my opin­ion in the party struc­tures.

Your hus­band used to earn much more than the

€ 50,000 a year he will now be earn­ing as Op­po­si­tion Leader. How are you go­ing to make ends meet, es­pe­cially with five chil­dren at­tend­ing pri­vate school?

He has a fi­nan­cial plan that was set up by our ac­coun­tants and we will fol­low that. I want to make one thing clear; we do not lead an

“It was a de­ci­sion that Adrian and I took. Look at other ma­ture democ­ra­cies around you. Do you see politi­cians parad­ing with their chil­dren around at every turn? Also, my chil­dren are not in­ter­ested in or en­thused by pol­i­tics. They were present at their fa­ther’s swear­ing in be­cause it was an of­fi­cial oc­ca­sion. They are our chil­dren and they are pri­vate cit­i­zens, not po­lit­i­cal tools. ”

ex­trav­a­gant life­style as some peo­ple have tried to say. We go abroad once a year, maybe twice, and my car is seven years old. So we def­i­nitely do not live be­yond our means.

Most peo­ple do not know who Adrian Delia is: de­scribe him to us...

He is a very de­ter­mined man who is pas­sion­ate about ev­ery­thing he does. He is an achiever and never gives up. When he be­lieves in some­thing, he gives it his all. For in­stance, dur­ing his cam­paign, he would rarely even stop to eat, and he lost 12 ki­los. He might not al­ways suc­ceed but he al­ways gives his one mil­lion per cent.

A few hours af­ter your hus­band won the elec­tion you had your first po­lit­i­cal event where you were seated next to a num­ber of politi­cians and party of­fi­cials who did not want him to con­test the elec­tion, let alone win it. How did you feel?

I can­not say I felt com­fort­able but I am not the sort to bear grudges. Ad­mit­tedly, when you come face to face with peo­ple who went out of their way to harm not just your hus­band but also your en­tire fam­ily, it hurts deeply. How­ever, for us this is a closed chap­ter and we are now on a fresh page. The fact that my hus­band won gave him cred­i­bil­ity be­cause the truth, and not the lies, pre­vailed. I feel vin­di­cated.

Re­becca Dimech and the Delia fam­ily, can you ex­plain?

Re­becca has been one of my clos- est and most trusted friends for the past six years. She is al­ways there for me. Un­for­tu­nately, be­cause of the way she dresses and looks she is con­stantly be­ing judged on a sex­ist ba­sis. But the truth is that she is a tremen­dously good, kind­hearted per­son. Con­trary to the way in which some are try­ing to por­tray her, she is a beau­ti­ful per­son, both in­side and out. When sto­ries about in­fi­delity were floated in public, we laughed our heads off.

I know that in the past you were ap­proached by the PN to con­test as an MEP. Why did you refuse?

I do not feel I am a po­lit­i­cal per­son. Be­sides that, I have five young chil­dren and they are my pri­or­ity. When I was told that I would see my chil­dren only on the week­end, I im­me­di­ately turned down the of­fer. It was not an op­tion for me.

Do you in­tend to stop work­ing as a lawyer?

No, noth­ing is go­ing to stop me from help­ing my clients. I have a ca­reer and I do not in­tend to stop be­cause Adrian is now Leader of the Op­po­si­tion.

Were you in favour or against di­vorce?

I voted against di­vorce be­cause at the time I be­lieved that if you are mar­ried in Church you should not seek a civil an­nul­ment. I was not against it in prin­ci­ple, but ob­jected to the word­ing. With hind­sight, I re­alise that I made a mis­take.

How did you vote in the spring hunt­ing ref­er­en­dum?

I voted against spring hunt­ing. How­ever, I am not against hunt­ing in prin­ci­ple. I just be­lieve that it should hap­pen within set pa­ram­e­ters. We should also pro­tect en­dan­gered species. EU statis­tics, for in­stance, showed that the quail was on the verge of be­com­ing ex­tinct.

Are you in favour or against civil lib­er­ties?

Com­pletely in favour.

What was one of the most beau­ti­ful mo­ments you have shared with your hus­band?

Hav­ing our first child. See­ing him speech­less for once in his life and cry­ing with joy was in­de­scrib­able. He was in dream­land, ut­ter bliss. But trust me, by the fifth child he was talk­ing and talk­ing.

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