The Juras­sic Park star split from his wife of 27 years – on the eve of his 70th birth­day

Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Celebrity News -

There was no hid­ing Sam Neill’s very com­pli­cated love-life when both his se­cret new girl­friend and his wife Noriko at­tended a star-stud­ded party at Syd­ney’s Pier One ear­lier this month to cel­e­brate his birth­day.

There were tense ne­go­ti­a­tions lead­ing up to the glam­orous party – which was a joint 70th birth­day cel­e­bra­tion for both Sam and his close friend, ac­tor Bryan Brown – as it was the first time the two women had come face to face.

“Noriko in­sisted on go­ing, even though they’ve sep­a­rated,” re­veals one guest, who adds the very pub­lic in­tro­duc­tion of Sam’s new part­ner, fash­ion rep Re­bec­cah Mahne, was the talk of the party.

Aus­tralian Crawl singer James Reyne in­tro­duced Sam to Re­bec­cah in Fe­bru­ary 2016 – at the same party where the ac­tor met By­ron Bay store owner Mi­randa Cum­mings, who he was seen kiss­ing on the Gold Coast in Oc­to­ber last year.

His mar­riage has been ru­moured to be in trou­ble ever since the pas­sion­ate clinch with Mi­randa was re­vealed – but it is Re­bec­cah who he has been se­cretly ro­manc­ing since his re­la­tion­ship with Noriko ended, even tak­ing her to Two Pad­docks, his New Zealand vine­yard, re­cently.


“Any­one who knows Sam knows that’s pretty se­ri­ous – the vine­yard is his haven, his sanc­tu­ary, so to share it with Re­bec­cah says a lot,” ex­plains a friend, who says Sam seems ut­terly be­sot­ted by the dark­haired Syd­ney busi­ness­woman.

Noriko, 52, is said to be “heart­bro­ken” over the split with Sam, who she met in 1989 when he starred in Dead Calm, with the pair fall­ing in love as the Ja­pane­se­born make-up artist spent hours on set with Sam.

“She’s known about Re­bec­cah for a while but she thought Sam would even­tu­ally come back to her, so she’s ab­so­lutely shat­tered now that they’ve sep­a­rated,” re­veals the friend.

“There was more than a bit of ten­sion at the party that night.”

Noriko and Re­bec­cah did not speak on the night, and Sam seemed happy to spend time with his celebrity friends. His girl­friend spent much of the evening smok­ing in an out­door area well away from Sam’s wife.

With Sam and Bryan co-host­ing the party, the guest list read like an Aus­tralian Who’s Who and in­cluded Jack Thomp­son, Jimmy and Jane Barnes, David and Lisa Camp­bell, An­drew Den­ton and Jen­nifer Byrne, Si­mon Baker and Re­becca Rigg, David Wen­ham, Pat and Lara Rafter, Wendy Harmer, Jus­tine Clarke, Ge­orge Gre­gan and Tex Perkins.

The Cupid in Sam’s life, James Reyne, ar­rived with his new bride Leanne Wool­rich, car­ry­ing walk­ing sticks as pre­sents for the two ac­tors turn­ing 70 – but one guest joked that Sam may pre­fer a “flak jacket” if he got caught be­tween Noriko and Re­bec­cah.


Sam and Noriko have one daugh­ter to­gether, Elena, 26, while Sam also has a son, Tim, 34, from a pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ship with NZ ac­tress Lisa Har­row. He also shares step­daugh­ter Maiko, 35, with Noriko.

“Noriko was de­ter­mined to share the night with Sam, as she is still ex­tremely close to many of their friends,” says one guest. “She and Sam have spent 27 years to­gether, and you can’t just rub that out all of a sud­den.

“I know they’ve had their ups and downs, but on the sur­face it re­ally did seem like a great mar­riage, even if Sam tested her some­times with his well­known ap­pre­ci­a­tion of smart, strong and in­de­pen­dent women.

“Noriko never thought it would come to this.”

But the ac­tor has been in­creas­ingly dis­tanc­ing him­self from his mar­riage for months. In May this year, he and Re­bec­cah were spot­ted to­gether on the Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula in Vic­to­ria, where they at­tended James and Leanne’s wed­ding.

“We all feel for Noriko, be­cause she’s al­ways held onto the hope that the mar­riage would get back on track, and she’s the sweet­est, gen­tlest woman,” says the guest. “I think she’s still a bit dazed by it all.”

Of course, now that Sam has made the first step to­wards fi­nal­is­ing his re­la­tion­ship with Noriko, the cou­ple have to di­vide up the $25 mil­lion for­tune they have built up on the back of Sam’s in­cred­i­ble 46-year movie ca­reer star­ring in ev­ery­thing from My Bril­liant Ca­reer and Evil An­gels to The Pi­ano and the Juras­sic Park fran­chise.

Sam’s Aus­tralian rep at Shana­han Man­age­ment did not re­spond when asked to com­ment on the mar­riage split.

Cupid strikes! James Reyne in­tro­duced Sam and new girl­friend Re­bec­cah in late 2016.

With daugh­ters Elena and Maiko, and wife Noriko.

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