Don Brash. Photo NZ Herald
Former Reserve Bank governor Don Brash considered taking
his own life "to end the pain" following the failure of his two
In his autobiography Incredible Luck published today, the man
who led the National Party for three years says the end of
both his marriages had been "hugely painful" - and in both
cases had led him "to the point of contemplating suicide".
In a warts-and-all chapter covering his personal life, Dr
Brash tackles head-on his reputation for being a womaniser.
But beyond arguing that men have an "extremely powerful
biological urge to have sex", he struggles to explain why he
had extra-marital affairs which ultimately took a huge toll
on his personal life and plunged him into a deep trough of
Acknowledging an "occasional" breaking of his marriage vows,
the 73-year-old says he has not had a large number of sexual
partners - and none at all before his first marriage.
"But I have no choice than to admit that the number exceeds
the number of women I was married to."
Dr Brash married his first wife, Erica, in 1964. His marriage
broke up after he and his Singaporean secretary, Je Lan Lee,
began a relationship.
Following his divorce from Erica Brash, the pair married. His
second marriage collapsed following his highly publicised
affair with Diane Foreman, the then deputy chairwoman of the
Business Roundtable - a relationship which resulted in MPs in
the National caucus rounding on their leader over his private
Dr Brash rejects as "totally and utterly untrue" rumours that
his emails were leaked to political opponents by an unnamed
"attractive" member of his parliamentary staff who was angry
with him after he ended a relationship with her.
He says he has never had any kind of relationship with that
person - or anyone else in the parliamentary complex for that
In an interview with the Herald, Dr Brash said that while he
had thought about committing suicide, he had not attempted to
do so. He had been "very depressed" after both his marriages
ended. "I was at a pretty low point."
As a self-confessed workaholic, he dealt with the depression
that followed his first marital break-up by immersing himself
in his role as managing director of the Kiwifruit Authority
and subsequently as chief executive of the merged Trustbank.
By the time he married his second wife, he was back on "a
pretty even keel" mentally.
He said leaving her was the worst decision of his life
"because I was then and still am in love with the woman".
He reveals that when he told his mother, who believed
marriage should be until death do us part, that he planned to
marry for a second time, she swore she never wanted to meet
Dr Brash writes that adultery was certainly not part of his
Christian upbringing, but argues "that the great majority of
human males are programmed to find women sexually
He realised, of course, that some men were gay. "I have never
suspected, even for a single moment, that I might be gay."
Where to get help:
- Youth services: (06)
- Youthline: 0800
- Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm
- Whatsup: 0800 942 8787
helpline: 0800 111
757 (24-hour service)
Youth: (09) 376 4155
- CASPER Suicide
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else
is at risk,
- John Armstrong of the NZ Herald