Dastyari reveals new girlfriend after split with wife
Disgraced Labor politician turned I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! contestant Sam Dastyari has split from his wife of eight years and is dating a former media assistant to ex-prime minister Julia Gillard.
The 35-year-old is understood to have parted ways with partner Helen Barron less than 12 months after he quit parliament in January last year over dealings with billionaire Chinese property developer and political donor Huang Xiangmo.
"The scandal took everything from me - my career and my family," Dastyari - whose nickname is Dasher - told The Daily Telegraph.
"Helen stood by me during my dark period … the days I wouldn't leave my room when I was at rock bottom. It takes a toll on a marriage.
"Having cameras parked out the front of your house. Being followed down the streets. Not being able to read the papers because of fear of what is in them. It takes its toll," Dastyari said.
The news comes a day after Dastyari was unveiled as a contestant on the Channel 10 reality show, I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!
The couple, who have two daughters together, are understood to have separated last year.
In a video posted to social media on Sunday, Dastyari said he was doing the show to impress his daughters.
"We do these weird things to try and make our kids like us when in fact they are probably just going to be more embarrassed," he said.
In October and November, Dastyari attended a number of events with new girlfriend, Labor staffer Claire Johnston, who works as a senior adviser to Canberra politician Meegan Fitzharris and was previously a media assistant for former prime minister Julia Gillard.
Ms Johnston did not comment when contacted on Monday.
Dastyari described the marriage split as "very amicable".
He and Barron - the daughter of former Labor adviser Peter Barron - were married in 2010.
"I can't imagine how hard it must be to have a bitter breakup because this was amicable and it still hurts so much," he said.
"She stuck by me when it really mattered. Afterwards, as I got better, it was clear there wasn't the connection anymore and I didn't have the right to hold her back. Helen gave more to the marriage than any person should … She was the most supportive and amazing wife."
Dastyari continued: "I changed. I broke. I know I wasn't able to make her happy and she had a right to move on with her life. She should only ever have had to sacrifice so much. This year we did Christmas apart, sharing the kids. It hurt. It's still raw. But Helen deserves better. She always did."
Dastyari will spend up to a month in South Africa competing on the show.