How cricket legend Michael Clarke's clash is just his latest scandal

How cricket legend Michael Clarke’s clash with TV star Karl Stefanovic is just his latest scandal: From ‘broken arm’ threat to England rival to locker-room bust-up, a look at one of Australia’s most controversial sportsmen

  • Clarke dated model Lara Bingle until he broke up their engagement in 2010 
  • The Aussie star was involved in an ugly altercation with Simon Katich in 2009
  • Mitchell Johnson described Clarke’s captaincy of Australia as ‘very toxic’ 
  • Clarke warned England great Jimmy Anderson he’d get a ‘f*****g broken arm’ 

After being embroiled in an outrageous topless brawl in a public park, the spotlight has again turned on ex-Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke and his volatile past.

Early on Wednesday, extraordinary footage emerged showing Clarke and top TV host Karl Stefanovic in a heated late night exchange in front their respective partners, sisters Jasmine and Jade Yarbrough, and other shocked onlookers.

It’s understood the melee was over Clarke’s ex-girlfriend, high profile fashion designer Pip Edwards, and alleged recent messages between the pair. 

The dramatic footage shows a shirtless Clarke being screamed at and slapped by his girlfriend Jade as the others try to defuse the fighting.

While widely regarded as one of the best batsmen of his generation, Clarke has been involved in several controversial incidents. 

Early on Wednesday, extraordinary footage emerged (pictured) showing Clarke and top TV host Karl Stefanovic in a heated late night exchange in front their respective partners, sisters Jasmine and Jade Yarbrough, and other shocked onlookers

It’s understood the melee was over Clarke’s ex-girlfriend, high profile fashion designer Pip Edwards, and recent messages between the pair 

Michael Clarke has found himself in the headlines after a heated confrontation with TV host Karl Stefanovic in a Sunshine Coast park last week 

The World Cup-winning captain once ditched his teammates to rescue his doomed romance, had a dressing room fight with a teammate, issued a threat on the field, and denies flushing a $200,000 engagement ring down the toilet.

And the heated clash in the Sunshine Coast park is the latest entry in a list of bizarre incidents on and off the field that have polarised public opinion.

Here, MailOnline looks at some of Clarke’s most controversial moments.   

Australia’s ‘Posh and Becks’ 

Clarke went from newspaper sport pages to the front pages when he began a relationship with Australian model Lara Bingle in 2007. 

The combination of the clean-cut face of Australian cricket and the covergirl propelled the couple to the status of Australian’s version of Posh and Becks.

Clarke was reportedly so enamoured with Bingle, he got her initials tattooed on his shoulder, and the couple were soon engaged in early 2008,

Later that year he was criticised for pulling out of Australia’s tour of the West Indies to attend her father’s funeral, who died from liver and pancreatic cancer.

Ungenerous as the criticism of his decision was, it spoke volumes for how Clarke had come to be regarded by some in Australia. 

The country’s cricketers were meant to be hard-nosed characters like Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer or flamboyant, devil-may-care players like the late Shane Warne.

Clarke and Lara Bingle dated from 2007 to 2010, when he broke off their engagement 

But with a penchant for wearing the latest fashion and spending $300,000 on an Aston Martin for his girlfriend, Clarke never quite won the hearts of the nation like some of his cricket colleagues did.

His relationship with Bingle eventually ended in March 2010, when a picture of her in the shower taken by then-AFL star Brendan Fevola was leaked and went viral.

Clarke left Australia’s tour of New Zealand to return home and break the engagement, before rejoining his teammates and making a brilliant ton.

Predictably, however, he was criticised for leaving the tour in some quarters – and blasted for then returning to New Zealand in others.

Bingle later said splitting with Clarke was the ‘best thing’ she ever did. 

Diamonds are not forever 

After breaking up with Bingle, Clarke had to confront rumours that he flushed her $200,000 engagement ring down the toilet of his Bondi Beach home.

Absurd as the suggestion may have been, plumbers, perhaps spotting the opportunity for a canny marketing stunt, even appeared at the $6million complex in the hope of finding the ring and making a potential fortune.

Clarke, however, has always maintained the rumours were complete ‘bulls**t’.

‘I’d like to say I’m a very silly man. But I’m not that silly. I’m not throwing any diamond ring down a toilet,’ he said during an interview with 60 Minutes in 2016.

Clarke and Bingle at the Allan Border Medal ceremony in February 2010. The couple broke off their engagement just a month later

Decade of relationships culminate in late-night fight

After splitting with Bingle, Clarke went on to marry Kyly Boldy in 2012. The pair had attended the same school, but did not start their relationship until years later.

They welcomed daughter Kelsey Lee in 2015, and vowed that the couple would never separate. However, this wasn’t to be, when they split at the end of 2019.

In a joint statement, the couple said they had lived apart for ‘some time’ and had ‘made the difficult decision to ­separate as a couple, amicably.’

The news was confirmed at the start of 2020, and it wasn’t long before the former cricketer was seen with long-time friend and fashion designer Pip Edwards.

Clarke and Edwards denied they were in a relationship, but by June 2020 it was clear that they had become an item. The went on to split up in February 2021, but briefly rekindled their relationship a few months later.

Pip Edwards is pictured attending the Moet & Chandon Effervescence Event at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair on December 01, 2022 in Sydney, Australia

The following year, in August 2022, Clarke and Jade Yarbrough, the sister of Karl Stefanovic’s wife Jasmine, appeared in a relationship on Clarke’s Instagram.

Their relationship hit the headlines this week, when the video published on Wednesday night showed Jade slapping Clarke around the face amid accusations he had cheated on her with Edwards.

‘You f**ked her on December 17 … You f**ked her, you’re a f**king dog,’ Jade is heard screaming in the grainy footage.

Clarke responds: ‘Baby you’re wrong, you’re wrong,’ adding: ‘I swear on my life, I swear at my life … That’s not true, it’s not true.’ 

The 2009 SCG team song fracas 

The last Test of the 2009 series against South Africa at the SCG should be remembered as Matthew Hayden’s final appearance for Australia. 

Or for Graeme Smith batting with a broken hand as the Proteas became the first team to win a Test series in Australia for 15 years.

But both were overshadowed by an ugly confrontation between opening batter Simon Katich and Clarke in the dressing room.

Clarke lashed out in frustration at the delays over the performing of Under the Southern Cross I Stand because he had other plans away from the team with then-partner Bingle. Katich grabbed him by the throat as the confrontation escalated.

Clarke (right) and Simon Katich were involved in an ugly confrontation at the SCG in 2009

It highlighted just how different Clarke was from the likes of Katich, who was an old-school, blue-collar cricketer.

A month later, it emerged Clarke was anxious to leave the SCG as he had a booking at a bar to celebrate the end of the Test summer. 

The details of the confrontation were only laid bare in 2016, when Clarke told his version of events in his autobiography. 

In it he claimed Katich and Michael Hussey, who was then in charge of the team song, orchestrated the delay to deliberately annoy him and spoil his plans.

Clarke (right) claimed Katich grabbed (left) him by the throat as the situation became heated and felt his teammate was on the verge of physically attacking him 

‘Huss [Hussey] and ‘Kato’ [Katich] seem to be enjoying the delay more and more, particularly at my expense,’ Clarke wrote. 

‘I think I hear them say something like: ‘F***it, let’s make him wait a bit longer’. And then I lose it.

‘Hang on, you’re doing this out of spite, you f***ing dogs. Have the balls to say it to my face. Kato fires up: ‘What did you say?’

‘I said have the balls to say it to my face, you weak c**s.’

‘Get ready for a broken f***ing arm’

Colourful language wasn’t exclusively reserved for Clarke’s teammates, either. In the opening Test of the 2013-14 Ashes series at The Gabba in Brisbane, Clarke warned England’s Jimmy Anderson to expect a vicious welcome at the crease.

‘Face up, then. Get ready for a broken f*****g arm. Face up,’ came the warning from the then-Australia captain, which was picked up by the stumps mic.

Clarke’s confrontational approach may have got the juices flowing among admirers of hard-nosed Aussie cricket, but he later revealed he regretted the episode.

Clarke (right) had a heated confrontation with James Anderson (left) during the opening Test of the 2013-14 Ashes series at the Gabba

Clarke warned Anderson to ‘get ready for a broken f***ing arm’, but he subsequently admitted he regretted the language he used 

I regret the language I used and I regret that I said it over the stump mic,’ he said in 2014. 

‘I think it’s unacceptable that the Australian cricket captain is setting that example.’

Australia whitewashed England, but Anderson escaped without any physical damage. In fact, he’s taken 345 Test wickets since.

Threatening to hand back the baggy green 

Shortly after making his debut, the Sydney native threatened to hand back his baggy green (the green cricket cap worn by Australian cricketers) after being asked to field at bat-pad in place of Justin Langer.  

‘Justin Langer couldn’t go bat-pad because he had head injuries,’ Matthew Hayden said in 2015.

‘We needed someone and usually it goes to the youngest in the side. He [Clarke] said: ‘If I have to wear that [the helmet at bat-pad], I will hand my baggy green back’.

‘In hindsight we should have said: ‘Mate, that’s exactly what will happen, we will have your baggy green back and that’s the way it will roll.’

Hayden, however, conceded that Clarke ‘learnt from that, he became a much better person and a much better player through those lessons’.

Matthew Hayden (middle back row) revealed Clarke (left) threatened to hand back his Baggy Green after being asked to field at bat-pad early in his career 

Clarke’s ‘very toxic’ captaincy 

Clarke had looked like Australia’s captain-elect since making his Test debut and he eventually took on the mantle in 2011 when Ricky Ponting stepped down.

Clarke won 24 of his 47 Tests as skipper and his captaincy was a roller-coaster. 

If the high point was a whitewash over England in the 2013-14 Ashes, there are plenty to low points to choose from.

Australia lost the Ashes in England in 2013 and 2015, with Clarke criticising the attitude of some players on the former tour as a ‘tumour’.

A 4-0 thrashing in India in 2013 came as Clarke and then-coach Mickey Arthur suspended four players, including Mitchell Johnson, in what became known as the ‘homework saga’.

Mitchell Johnson (left) claimed under Clarke’s captaincy the atmosphere in the Australian team turned ‘very toxic’ with several players not wanting to play

Speaking in 2016, the former Aussie quickly revealed just how badly the atmosphere soured under Clarke.

‘It wasn’t a team. There were different little factions going on and it was very toxic,’ he said in 2016.  

‘It wasn’t a very enjoyable place to be and you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself when you’re playing for your country. 

‘It was a pretty bad experience, bad time, a couple of us didn’t want to play.’

Simon Katich’s central contract controversy

Shortly after Clarke took over the captaincy in 2011, Katich was surprisingly cut from the list of Cricket Australia’s centrally contracted players. 

The opening batter had been a rock for Australia, averaging 50.48 in 33 Tests at the top of the order, and he pinned his demotion to the 2009 fracas at the SCG.

‘You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out that it’s not just the selectors that had a part in sending me on my way,’ he said in a thinly veiled dig at Clarke in 2011.

Katich (left) controversially lost his central contract with Cricket Australia just months after Clarke replaced Ricky Ponting as captain in 2011 

The latter, however, has always maintained he played no role in Katich getting bumped down. 

‘I have no say in who gets a contract,’ he said on the Big Sports Breakfast two years ago. ‘Simon Katich was not dropped from a team when I was captain of Australia or when I was a selector.’ 

‘You know nothing’

Clarke has moved into broadcasting after retiring from cricket, and hosts the Big Sports Breakfast on Sky Sports Radio. 

But he has lost none his fiery attitude despite swapping the whites for the booth, as a spat with veteran NRL journalist Phil Rothfield last year showed.

Clarke criticised referee Ashley Klein’s handling of the brutal elimination final between the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney, only to be told to keep his opinion to himself as ‘you know nothing about rugby league’.

Clarke fired back: ‘You know everything because you played 100 Test matches? Continue,’ he said. 

‘You watch the same TV I watch. I’ve watched it for 41 years, you’ve watched it for 80. You’ve played the exact same amount of Origin games as me.’

Falling out with one-time best mate Andrew Symonds

Clarke’s relationship with one-time best mate Andrew Symonds broke down when the pair were on tour in the West Indies in 2008, when a drunk Symonds tipped a glass of wine over the head of Clarke in front of West Indian legend Brian Lara.

It been reported that Clarke had ordered Symonds to go to bed, but the dread-locked star said it was more insidious than that.

‘I threw a drink on him. He didn’t tell me to go to bed, he said something else but I threw a drink on him and what he said to me put me into a rage,’ Symonds told Fox Sports in 2016. 

‘What he said to me was nowhere near accurate and that immediate point is where he lost me and I lost him. Our friendship was destroyed in that moment.

Clarke and Symonds pose with the ICC World Cup trophy in the changing rooms after the final between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Kensington Oval on April 28, 2007

‘He’d said to me, not in these words, but he’d suggested I was a selfish player and a selfish person. The one thing I don’t consider myself to be is that and that really annoyed me.’

The two middle-order batsmen drove Australia to many victories in their careers.

But their relationship became terminal when Clarke was named stand-in captain and sent Symonds home from a one-day series against Bangladesh in Darwin for skipping a team meeting to go fishing instead.

And in 2015, Clarke publicly criticised Symonds, revealing that he once ‘turned up drunk to play for his country.’

Tragically, Symonds was killed in a car crash in May 2022. Upon hearing the news, Clarke shared a number of tributes and anecdotes about his former friend.

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