Teen divorces parents for US star

2011-07-03 14:29

Wellington - A rising New Zealand teen swimming star has divorced himself from his parents so he can continue a relationship with an American gold medallist seven years his senior, it was reported on Sunday.

Justin Wright, 17, took legal action against his parents after they tried to block him from representing New Zealand because they disapproved of his relationship with Rhi Jeffrey, 24, the Sunday Star-Times said.

Jeffrey, a member of the gold-medal winning US 4x200m freestyle relay team at the 2004 Athens Olympics, retired in 2007 but has since moved to New Zealand to revive her career in an attempt to qualify for the 2012 Games in London.

When Wright and Jeffrey struck up a relationship, his parents withdrew consent for him to compete in national swimming events and bombarded swimming club members with emails about the relationship.

One e-mail claimed Jeffrey had "stolen (Justin) from the cradle", the report said.

In what is believed to be a legal first in New Zealand, Wright has now won court permission to be a member of Swimming New Zealand against his parents' wishes.

He said he was "annoyed" his parents had tried to prevent him from competing and now the court ruling was in his favour he would target qualifying for World Cup events in Asia.

The 17-year-old schoolboy said he was not sure if he could mend his relationship with his parents, but he was now living with Jeffrey and would not give her up.

  • Nicolai - 2011-07-03 14:53

    WTF...the summary of this article makes no sense... "so he can continue a relationship with an American gold medallist seven years his senior."

  • EDI2000 - 2011-07-03 14:59

    Gutter f-ing reporting by the news24 team Well Done Chops

  • Taurusaurus - 2011-07-03 15:10

    Way to go! Parents have in many recent years failed in raising their children, and when its almost time before the child(ren) leave the home, suddenly the parents decide they need to put their foot/feet down? Rubbish! Raise your kids properly and you won't have them divorcing you when you want them to listen! Fawken prawns! But really though, well done for taking things into your own hands; responsibility for yourself, and your choices. If you make a mistake, its your right to learn from that mistake. If its not a mistake, its your right to benefit from it. GO, JEFF, GO! :)

  • OZNOB - 2011-07-03 16:14


  • Philip - 2011-07-03 16:21

    He should concentrate on his schooling never mind love making. Maybe she will be a mamma to him and when he is 21 chase him out and then????

  • rottie4 - 2011-07-03 16:31

    I was 22 and living with a divorcee of 34 with 3 kids. Taught me a lot and I woudn't have missed it for anything.

      lightning - 2011-07-05 03:18

      Is that why you stutter?

  • rottie4 - 2011-07-03 16:33

    I was 22 and living with a divorcee of 34 with 3 kids, I wouldn't have missed that learning curve for anything.

      Wayne - 2011-07-04 08:32

      Sounds like you got yourself a cougar there mate ;)

  • Christopher - 2011-07-03 19:22

    I'm with the kid, This isn't simply, "You can't go out with this person" this was "You can't go out with this person, if you do we're not gonna let you have a swimming carreer, and destory your dreams", the parent clearly took it to far, and they should of been proud of where he was going not trying to destory it because of the person he was dating!

  • Nico - 2011-07-04 05:03

    Did he also divorced himself from their paying his bills?

  • John - 2011-07-04 07:50

    Interesting - remember a 100 years (even less than that) ago parents married their children off to older men. Just look at the Afrikaner history. Children aged 14 married men older than they were.

  • preshengovender69 - 2011-07-04 08:47

    the things guys will do to get laid

  • Melanie Walsh - 2011-07-04 10:23

    7 years is not that bad. If he was out of school nobody would care. All of the couples in my family are 10 or more years apart.

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