In an exclusive – and unpaid – interview with Maxine Frith, Lara Bingle talks openly about splitting with Michael (and Max Markson), the big mistakes she has made and her hopes for the future. One step at a time.

She’s been “through the loneliest two months” of her life. Lara Bingle has spent the past eight weeks in virtual seclusion – she’s endured the Brendan Fevola nude photo scandal, a huge public backlash for selling her story to the highest bidder (after signing with celebrity agent Max Markson), and her split with fiancé Michael Clarke.

To top it all off, there was the loss of several lucrative deals with brands who dumped her in the wake of the scandals.

But she emerged back into the spotlight at fashion week as a guest blogger for Harper’s BAZAAR, running the gauntlet of photographers and journalists to go front row and backstage. And afterwards, she sat down exclusively with Grazia to set the record straight on what’s happened.

First up, she wants to make one thing very clear: “I will never take money for a story again,” she says firmly, referring to her deal with a magazine in the wake of the Fevola photo scandal.

“I made a mistake, I can’t blame anyone else for it. It was my decision and I thought it would settle things but it just got worse.

“I’ll never do that again.”

For that reason, she has decided to sever ties with Markson, who brokered the deal.

“I don’t want the limelight anymore,” she says. “I’m going to live a much quieter life now…

“I lost so many deals [in the wake of the scandals], but I just want to work. I’m passionate about the fashion industry. I want to be involved in all kinds of ways; blogging last week was great and I like working with brands.”

“I know I need to build up people’s respect and I’m going to have to start at the bottom and work up, but that’s what I’ll do.”

For the first time in her adult life, she’s also having to do it alone.

“It’s scary because I’ve always had Michael at my side, supporting me, but now I’m having to stand on my own two feet,” she says, smiling.

“I’m buying a house on my own, choosing my own car, getting work. But it’s also exciting because it means I’m going to be independent.”

So what went wrong with their relationship, which ended very publicly in March?

“We’d always spent a lot of time apart, but it was just getting worse and worse…that’s really it,” she says.

“It was sad for both of us. We are both very passionate about our careers and we’ve always supported each other – we still do. I’m his number-one fan! I’d love to see him become captain [of Australia] one day.”

And contrary to reports that the split was difficult and ugly, Lara insists: “We’re still friends. We talk all the time and he’s been great to me...”

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Source: Grazia Online