“You better come and get me”: Danielle Laidley admits to dobbing herself in before 2020 arrest

Danielle Laidley

Danielle Laidley: “And get me they did”

Danielle Laidley’s darkest days are now firmly behind her; however, while filming Stan Original Documentary Revealed – Danielle Laidley – Two Tribes, she was faced with reliving the ordeal all over again.

Speaking on Mediaweek and Chattr’s The Entertainment Hotline Podcast, the former AFL player admitted that she had put “the good, the bad and the indifferent” into the 90-minute program.

“At times, it was quite difficult,” she said before adding that it was a particularly painful time for her and partner Donna Leckie through the COVID lockdowns. 

“You’ll see on the film where I have some pretty pretty low days,” she revealed, “But we have to show all of that to the viewer for them to get the full picture of what we’ve gone through over the last three or four years.”

Danielle Laidley Stan

Danielle Laidley called the police on herself 

In 2020, Laidley’s life was turned upside down when she was arrested and charged with stalking and drug possession after an eight day meth bender, while shocking,  she was the one to actually dob herself in.

“At the time, there had been a property dispute,” she said. “There was an intervention order put on me and I actually went to my property. I then rang the police and said, ‘I’m breaking the intervention order. You better come and get me,’ and get me they did. That wasn’t a very good mistake to make”.

Certainly being handcuffed and charged was a significant low point; however, things would only get worse for the high-profile sports star. At the time, the now 56-year-old was known to the public as Dean Laidley, a married father of three who was concealing a life-altering secret. He had been quietly diagnosed with gender dysphoria and was undergoing hormone therapy.

Laidley recalled a “self-sabotaging” period which led to the events of her remand.

“I really withdrew from everyone where my mental health was deteriorating, and then being diagnosed with gender dysphoria, that made me withdraw even more and become a recluse,” she said. “I didn’t want to reach out because of the shame, the fear, the embarrassment of how I was feeling. I didn’t know how family and friends would react. I didn’t know how the AFL world would react.”

Danielle Laidley

An invasion of privacy outs Dani Laidley to the world

Following the arrest, Laidley – who was wearing a wig and women’s clothes –  was the victim of a gross privacy violation. Unbeknownst to her, a senior police officer (who had been visiting from another command) had snapped photographs, sharing them in a police WhatsApp group before they were subsequently leaked to the press, splashed on the front page, not only outing Laidley to the public, but to her unsuspecting family as well.

While battling with her internal voices and those of the public, Laidley’s only regret has been not speaking up sooner.

“My ability to sit down with all and sundry was taken away from me,” she said, revealing “that caused grief for my family, particularly my children.”

“It’s caused us a lot of pain over the years and as a family, we’re still working through that…it all started to turn pretty nasty at times.”

Where Dani Laidley stands with her kids now

Laidley has three children with ex-wife Joanna Laidley, Kane, Molly and Brooke, and while her son features in the documentary, her daughter’s do not.

As for where her relationship with her kids now; Laidley says “it’s a work in progress”.

“There’s still a considerable amount of work to do with two of my children,” she said. “My son, who was there at the coalface when it all happened, organised so much stuff and stood beside me. Even through the media barrage he stood strong, he stood by my side. So I’m very, very grateful.”

She continued: “My other two children are not so much. Take it back four years ago, if you’re 20 or 21, and that gets plastered on papers…and how I was acting at the time before that, it was a hard time for our relationship. But before that, it was gold. I loved it. I spent most days with my kids. Hopefully one day. And it will be in their time, not when I’m ready.

“I just keep working on myself to be the best person that I can. So when they’re ready in their own time, one day we’ll be sitting around the Christmas dinner table with both Donna and I and all our kids, our grandkids, that would be pretty much utopia for us.”

Listen to the full interview with Donna Laidley onThe Entertainment Hotline Podcast.

About Stan Original Documentary Revealed – Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes

The Stan Original Documentary, Revealed Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes documents Laidley’s life so far, from her career as a high-profile football player and coach to her battles with drug addiction and gender dysphoria. She speaks to the courage enabled by Donna, a lifelong friend turned supportive partner. Viewers will see Dani and Donna navigate their paths forward in a critical two years under public scrutiny. Dani will launch her autobiography, approach the AFL to put her voice toward inclusivity, strive to rebuild family relationships and work to find her place in the community as an LGBTQI+ representative. 

Stream Stan Original Documentary Revealed – Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes from September 19, only on Stan.

To Top