Ponting’s wife: Lara changed WAGs forever
Rianna Ponting can still remember when the cameras were always pointed at Australia's cricketers - not their partners.
But the wife of former national team captain Ricky Ponting says that all changed when Lara Worthington, nee Bingle, entered the scene on the arm of a young Michael Clarke.
Clarke and Worthington, who later married Australian actor Sam Worthington, split up in 2010 after a two-year engagement. But the pin-up girl of Australia's iconic "Where the bloody hell are ya?" tourism campaign made an everlasting impact on the cricket scene, resulting in wives and partners attracting as much attention as the players.
"I think it changed when the beautiful Lara Bingle (now Worthington) came along and made WAGs interesting," Rianna tells Stellar Magazine, available in today's Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Herald Sun.
"Prior to that, cricket WAGs weren't really a thing. And thank goodness!
"The idea of no one caring (about me) was much easier than having all that scrutiny."
A heightened focus on Australian cricket WAGs was evident throughout Clarke's career. The batsman attracted headlines when he moved on from Worthington with Kyly Boldy and again when their marriage ended and he started dating fashion designer Pip Edwards.
Off-spinner Nathan Lyon's split with long-term partner and the mother of his children, Melissa Waring, also generated plenty of interest as he found love with new flame Emma McCarthy.
Ponting met Rianna in 2001 and the pair married just eight months later after a whirlwind romance. Ponting, Australia's most-capped Test cricketer alongside Steve Waugh, said he never could have enjoyed so much success and such a lengthy career had it not been for his wife.
"She won't admit it, but she's allowed me to live the life I've wanted to live," Ponting tells Stellar. "Even sacrificing her own career. She's a qualified lawyer and solicitor (but) she's never practised a day.
"She knew she couldn't if we were to work.
"Rianna did such a big job looking after the kids when I was playing. Obviously, there are challenges. But I don't remember even having any phone calls when she would tell me how hard it was. She made sure I was right to play."
Read the full interview with Ricky and Rianna Ponting in the current issue of Stellar, available in the Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Herald Sun, on sale Sunday, December 13
Originally published as Ponting's wife: Lara changed WAGs forever