My new life after trauma

By admin
12 November 2010

Falling in love again at 49 is quite something,Janie du Plessis says, especially after the 10-year marriage that left her deeply disillusioned.

In her biography, ’n Keuse vir die Lewe (Choosing Life), the former TV presenter and celebrity Cape Town businesswoman opens her heart for the first time about her “heartbreaking, tragic” marriage.

And she has given one of the first copies to the new love in her life, millionaire businessman Rian du Plessis, whom she met at a mutual friend’s birthday party in Cape Town last October.

Her biography, she says, is not the story of a victim. It’s the story of a woman who has conquered a tragedy.

“For years I told my breast cancer story but I never spoke about the stuff that was going on inside me.”

That was how the idea for a book began. She’d planned to write about her cancer but as time went on she realised there was much more to say. She wanted to tell women who are trapped in destructive relationships, as she once was in her marriage to Italian Massimo Beltrami, that they simply cannot stay for the sake of the children.

By the late ’90s Janie was so isolated in the house she shared with Massimo in Portugal not even her family knew of the demons she was wrestling with.

Like many women she made the decisions she did in her marriage for the sake of her children, Janie says.

Massimo had lapsed into a lifestyle in which he often escaped into drugs and peculiar sex games. Desperate to save her marriage she made an agreement with him: he could indulge his “hobby” every three months and she would join him. She would use cocaine with him and participate in the sex games as long as he didn’t look for sexual partners on the street.

“You don’t make those kinds of choices because you’re weak. You’re so powerless to change the situation you get involved in things you otherwise never would,” she explains.

When she was diagnosed with breast cancer it was the catalyst for a drastic change of life and in 1999 she and the children returned to South Africa without Massimo.

“I survived the cancer and then chose not to be an emotional victim any more. You can do it too . . .”

Read Janie's story in YOU, 18 November 2010.

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