|(From top) James Packer, Miranda Kerr and David Gyngell
Sydney, May 5: A public brawl at Sydney’s Bondi beach between billionaire James Packer and David Gyngell, his former best friend and best man, has left Australia enthralled and prompted a bidding war for the photographs.
Packer, 46, son of Australian television mogul and one-day cricket pioneer Kerry Packer, was seen yesterday afternoon “fighting like dogs” with his lifelong private school friend on the pavement outside his beachside home.
Gyngell, 47, the current head of the station once owned by Kerry Packer and himself the millionaire son of a television executive, was seen choking Packer, a casino mogul and Australia’s third-richest person.
Though the reasons for the fight are unknown, Gyngell was reportedly furious that Packer recently separated from Erica Baxter, his second wife and the mother of his children.
Packer has since rumoured to have been in a relationship with Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr, who recently separated from actor Orlando Bloom.
Earlier in the day, Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper published an interview with Kerr, who said she was not in a relationship with anyone since splitting with Bloom and that Packer has “been a friend for many years”.
Packer’s close friend, Lachlan Murdoch, the son of Rupert Murdoch, was seen arriving at Packer’s Bondi home today. Murdoch made no comment.
A witness told Network Ten that Gyngell waited on the boot of his car outside Packer’s home at about 2pm and yelled on a phone that he was waiting for Packer, who arrived 20 minutes later after being chauffeured from Sydney airport where he landed in his private jet. Some bystanders said no words were exchanged, others said there were a string of profanities, but all were agreed that the pair soon “went at it hammer and tongs”.
A doctor reportedly attended Packer’s home and there were claims he had a black eye and took a severe blow to the jaw, possibly losing teeth. Packer, the bigger of the two, was reportedly wearing a cap and sunglasses;
Gyngell was reportedly bearded, barefoot and wearing tracksuit pants.
The fight was seen by numerous bystanders.
Chris Walker, a Bondi resident, said on Facebook: “Holy crap, big street fight outside my house ... Not thugs, James Packer ... And some other angry bloke going toe to toe – total brawl ... Wow.”
He later wrote: “Packer packered (sic) a punch but copped a couple of hits straight to the jaw... Then they all fell on the concrete fence and I think the other guy broke his face ...
“They were looking for teeth after he left... I was so thrilled, with a camera in my hand I didn’t take a pic.”
Packer and Gyngell met today and later released a statement via Channel Nine, saying they remained “friends”.
“We have been friends for 35 years and still are,” read the statement.
“In that time we have had our fair share of ups and downs. We respect each other and neither of us will be commenting further.”
A bidding war has since broken out for a set of 50 photographs taken by a bystander. The photos apparently show Packer on top and with Gyngell’s head in a grip and his feet flailing.
Packer is eventually pulled off and is seen walking away with a defiant look.