A mother’s unbreakable bond: Why Julie Burgess stood by her four boys through the ‘highs and lows’ as a single parent while son Sam supported the shattered family through the tragic death of his dad
- Julie Burgess vowed to stand by her four boys through the ‘highs and lows’
- She relocated to Australia to follow them when they all moved for rugby league
- Sam Burgess is fighting serious allegations published about his personal life
- Allegations related to failed marriage to Phoebe Hooke and wild lifestyle
- Burgess and Phoebe broke up in December 2018, just weeks after she gave birth
- Burgess stood down from Rabbitohs coaching role and commentating gig
- The tight-knit Burgess clan are sticking together amid the shocking allegations
Julie Burgess vowed to stand by her four boys through the ‘highs and lows’ after the death of their father when they were just teenagers.
The poignant promise to her sons resurfaced amid a raft of ugly allegations against her second eldest son, former South Sydney Rabbitohs star Sam.
On Friday, The Australian published bold claims against the 31-year-old relating to his relationship with ex-wife Phoebe Hooke, his career and supposed wild partying.
The next day, Julie, known as ‘Mrs B’ among players and staff in the NRL, emerged from crisis talks with her sons.
She was wrapped in an oversized grey hoodie and tinted glasses, and was shadowed by her eldest son Luke and lawyer Bryan Wrench.
In spite of the accusations, Mrs Burgess has made it clear she will support her four boys through anything, and said they’d been through ‘quite a few lows’ as a family in the past.
Julie Burgess (pictured with her four boys as children) vowed to stand by her four boys through the ‘highs and lows’ after the devastating death of their father when they were just teenagers
When the four Burgess boys united for a drought breaking premiership in 2014, the first photo they took after the match saw their mum standing front and centre
In 2007, the boys’ father Mark died after a two-year battle with motor neurone disease.
In the years between his diagnosis and death, Sam, who was just a teenager at the time, tried to nurse his father back to health, and moved in with him to care for him.
He would carry his ailing dad upstairs to bed every night when his motor neurone disease made it too difficult to walk, and financially supported his family as best he could.
The experience made him ‘colder’, he admitted back in 2014.
But the four brothers rallied for one another and for their mother, and the Burgess clan share a formidable bond 13 years on from the earth-shattering loss.
‘This beautiful band of brothers has been through so much together, including all the highs and quite a few lows. But at every point along the journey, they have always been there for each other, just as they promised each other they would be when their father sadly passed away in 2007,’ she wrote on her clothing label 4BLabel’s blog in May 2020.
‘This is what love and loyalty look like.
‘It makes me so proud and moves me to tears sometimes to see that nothing in life, no adversity, can shake the foundation of their love for each other.’
Sam (second from the left) and his brothers are thick-as-thieves even today, an d have always shared a close bond
The four boys moved to Australia one by one from the end of 2009 to fulfill their dreams of playing rugby league. Sam was first to make the leap at just 21 years old, when he moved to Australia to join the South Sydney Rabbitohs
Mrs Burgess revealed the boys have been close since they were children, with a shared passion for rugby league driving much of their decision making as young men.
But raising four boys under the age of five in the north of England wasn’t easy, and money was often tight.
She made do with what she could, and always made sure the boys were smartly dressed.
‘I loved to dress the boys in the same outfits, especially the twins,’ she revealed, before adding that she would often dress Sam and Luke in matching outfits to hand down to the twins.
‘The twins had to endure lots of ”hand me downs” from their older brothers! I’m not sure if they really liked me dressing them the same way, but they always looked super cute in my eyes.’
Of all the boys, Sam was the most fashion conscious, and would save every cent he earned to go toward buying new outfits, even from a young age.
Sam and Phoebe married in a lavish ceremony at her parents estate in the Southern Highlands in 2015
Sam Burgess’ mum Julie (left) reportedly had to drag the NRL star home by the ears after one night out
‘Sam bought the clothes, and his brothers would always steal them,’ she recalled.
‘I think that the clothes sharing still goes on today… George was probably the guiltiest of ”borrowing” Sam’s clothes and just forgetting to return them.’
When Sam was 15, Mrs Burgess and his father Mark sat he and his brothers down in the conservatory at home and Mark revealed he was sick.
He had never seen his father cry prior to that moment, and struggled to process a diagnosis like motor neurone disease.
‘Me and my older brother went off and did some research on it,’ Sam said in 2014. ‘We realised then that it was really serious but, as a kid of that age, I still didn’t really understand it.
‘I didn’t know how quick it would all happen. I just figured that as time went by, he would be all right; he’d overcome it.’
He said he never truly believed his father was going to die.
When Sam was 15, Mrs Burgess and his father Mark (pictured) sat he and his brothers down in the conservatory at home, and Mark revealed he was seriously ill
Sam and Phoebe split up in 2018 shortly after the birth of their second child, Billy. Allegations of Sam’s behaviour during their marriage and his wild partying ways were published by The Australian last week, but the NRL star denies all allegations
‘I thought it was a myth. I thought that people can survive cancer, so my dad would survive that. My dad was my hero so I thought he would be able to beat it, but it moved fast. It’s a terrible disease. It’s an awful thing.
‘It was happening at about the time my senior career with Bradford was starting and it was literally about 18 months to two years from when they told us the news to when he passed. It went so fast.’
While his other three brothers lived with their mum, Sam lived with his dad and nursed him through the last stage of his life — carrying him upstairs to bed each night.
With his modest wages, he paid the mortgage and the bills.
He said the period of his life made him grow up fast.
‘I didn’t know anything else, so I didn’t feel that looking after my dad was a burden,’ he said. ‘I actually enjoyed it. It sounds strange, but we made the most of that time.
Julie moved to Australia in 2012, following her four sons Sam (left), Luke, George and Tom who had become a crucial part of the South Sydney Rabbitohs side
Sam denies all allegations levelled against him, including an ongoing domestic violence court case involving him and ex-wife Phoebe’s father Mitchell Hooke (Julie Burgess is pictured on the left, her eldest son Luke is at the front and lawyer Bryan Wrench can be seen at back)
‘Going through that helped me become better at a lot of things. I learned not to take things for granted. It has made me stronger but colder, too, in a way.
‘My dad is in my thoughts every day. It was a tough part of life, but also a great part. I’ve got so many great memories of that 18 months with my dad. That’s why I can talk about it and smile. I know my dad would be proud of me.’
The four boys moved to Australia one by one from the end of 2009 to fulfill their dreams of playing rugby league.
Sam was first to make the leap at just 21 years old, when he moved to Australia to join the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The next year he was followed by his younger brother George, eldest brother Luke in 2011 and Tom that same year.
Faced with the prospect of being all alone at home in West Yorkshire, Mrs Burgess decided to join her boys.
A former deputy principal at a West Yorkshire highschool, Mrs Burgess has a knack for keeping her boys in line
Burgess and Phoebe (pictured) together have two children, Poppy and Billy. They separated just weeks after Billy’s birth
When the four Burgess boys united for a drought breaking premiership in 2014, the first photo they took after the match was with their mum standing front and centre.
The NRL club is at the centre of several controversial allegations made in The Australian last Friday.
New South Wales Police established Strike Force Irrabella to investigate the accusations, and the NRL is also investigating.
Staff members at the NRL club have also been accused of covering up Burgess’ alleged indiscretions.
Sam and his legal team have made it clear they vehemently deny all allegations.
Among the major allegations were claims of an incident at the Burgess mansion in Maroubra, in Sydney’s east, in November 2018.
The reported altercation, where the father-of-two allegedly acted erratically, came just weeks before Sam and Phoebe parted ways.
The Australian article included text messages Phoebe allegedly sent to Hollywood actor Russell Crowe, who owns the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Phoebe announced the December 9 birth of her second child William ‘Billy’ Burgess (pictured) on December 11 2018. The couple split shortly later
Other claims relate to a farewell BBQ for a fellow South Sydney Rabbitohs teammate in late 2018.
Sam and Luke were reportedly out in the town at The Establishment when Mrs Burgess was forced to drag them home.
Storming up to the concierge at the swanky hotel she demanded to know what room they were staying in, and as usual, the former high-school deputy headmaster known as ‘Mrs B’ got her way.
After an hour she managed to drag the boys ‘by the ear’ into her Hyundai Veloster and back to Sam’s family mansion in Maroubra, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
In the wake of the newspaper report, the 31-year-old stood down from his roles as Rabbitohs coaching assistant and Fox Sports commentator.
Sam is currently facing charges of domestic violence against Phoebe’s father Mitch Hooke, relating to an incident at the Hooke family home in the Southern Highlands last year.
He has pleaded not guilty to the domestic violence charges and AVO.
The matter is next due to be heard in court on Wednesday, October 7.
Burgess and Phoebe broke up in December 2018, weeks after the birth of their son, Billy. Their divorce after four years of marriage was finalised in April. They also have a daughter, Poppy
Burgess and his wife Phoebe broke up in December 2018, just weeks after the birth of their son, Billy. The former couple are pictured together at a David Jones event in Sydney on February 7, 2018
Phoebe and Sam separated in December 2018, just weeks after the birth of their son Billy.
They’d been together close to five years after meeting at an Avicii concert in January 2014.
The couple managed to keep their relationship secret for months before making their debut as a couple at the Dally M awards in Sydney in September that year.
Their relationship progressed quickly and just a month later, in October 2014, Phoebe relocated to England to support her boyfriend after he signed with a rugby union team in Bath, Somerset.
By June 2015, they were engaged during a romantic holiday in Greece.
The couple returned to Sydney in November 2015, after Burgess re-signed with the Rabbitohs, and they married a month later in December 2015 at Phoebe’s parents’ home in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.
In January 2017, the couple welcomed their first child, a daughter named Poppy Alice.
WHO ARE THE BURGESS FAMILY?
JULIE: A former high school deputy headmaster, the matriarch of the family is renowned for defending her four boys, always. She followed her sons to Australia in 2012 after they had established careers with South Sydney
MARK: The boys’ father died in 2007 at age 45 after a long battle with motor neurone disease. While their towering height comes from Julie, Mark is credited for giving the boys their brawn and toughness.
LUKE: The oldest of the four boys, he is known to his brothers as ‘Biffa’. Luke moved to Australia in 2011 to play for South Sydney. He began dating model Yolanda Hodgson and the couple have a daughter Grace, but split in 2019.
SAM: The first of the family to make the move to Sydney, he quickly became a key part of the Rabbitohs outfit. After a few years together he married Phoebe Hooke in 2015, before their public split in late 2018. They have two children, Poppy and Billy.
TOM: Tom and his twin brother George are the youngest members of the family. He was the last of the family to move to Australia in 2011. He is engaged to Tahlia Giumelli and the couple are currently expecting a second child.
GEORGE: The 28-year-old has returned to England to play in the Super League having married wife Joanna in 2016. The couple have three children under the age of three.
Tom, George, Luke and Sam Burgess stand on either side of their mother Julie after their first appearance in first grade together in 2013