Shannon Bennett tells how split from actress Madeleine West left him as sole carer to six children

Shannon Bennett has told how his difficult separation from ex-partner Madeleine West left him as the primary carer of their six children and cost him his dream hotel redevelopment project.

Bennett split with the 41-year-old actress after 13 years together in 2018, with West earlier this year saying the separation process ‘turned love toxic’.

The chef, known for running Melbourne’s renowned Vue de monde restaurant, said he has since relocated from Victoria to the NSW tourist town of Byron Bay, where West also lives, to help look after their children.

‘Since relocating to Byron Bay with his six children after the breakdown of his relationship with their mother, his sole focus is the care and upbringing of his children,’ his management team said.

Celebrity chef Shannon Bennett and his ex-partner Madeleine West split in 2018 after six years together.  Bennett said he has since relocated to the NSW tourist town of Byron Bay, where West also lives, and said he is looking after their six children as a primary carer

Celebrity chef Shannon Bennett and his ex-partner Madeleine West split in 2018 after six years together. Bennett said he has since relocated to the NSW tourist town of Byron Bay, where West also lives, and said he is looking after their six children as a primary carer

Ms West (second from right) has found new love since the split she says 'turned love toxic', moving on with Byron Bay environmentalist Maximo Bottaro (second from left)

Ms West (second from right) has found new love since the split she says ‘turned love toxic’, moving on with Byron Bay environmentalist Maximo Bottaro (second from left)

His team said the chef has also divested his shares in Vue de monde, and ditched plans to turn a historic mansion near Melbourne into a luxury hotel.

Bennett took over the Burnham Beeches estate in the Dandenong Ranges – 40km east of the city – in 2010, but recently sold the property for $ 16.6million to hotel giant Sorrento.

‘Burnham Beeches became superfluous to this focus [of looking after his children]’the statement given to The Herald Sun read.

‘Shannon has no current hospitality projects on the horizon. He wishes the new owners all the success. ‘

Bennett had struggled to complete Heritage Victoria-mandated repair on the state-listed estate and it is believed he never completed all the required works.

In 2020, he said bureaucrats had ordered $ 250,000 in ‘mad’ repairs and he would not ‘stand for it any more’.

Bennett’s plans for the redevelopment included a hotel with a microbrewery, shop and new restaurant.

West, who has pitched in with the flood clean-up in Lismore in northern NSW, is planning to run at the NSW state election next year as an independent.

In February, she described the soul-shaking moment she decided to leave the celebrity chef in 2018.

Pictured: The Burnham Beeches estate in the Dandenong Ranges, 40km east of Melbourne.  Bennett took over the historic mansion in 2010, but recently sold the property for $ 16.6million to hotel giant Sorrento

Pictured: The Burnham Beeches estate in the Dandenong Ranges, 40km east of Melbourne. Bennett took over the historic mansion in 2010, but recently sold the property for $ 16.6million to hotel giant Sorrento

The former couple, who never married despite being together for 13 years, share six children, Phoenix, Hendrix, Xascha, Xanthe, Xahlia and Margaux Pictured: Bennett and Ms West on March 29, 2016, in Melbourne

The former couple, who never married despite being together for 13 years, share six children, Phoenix, Hendrix, Xascha, Xanthe, Xahlia and Margaux Pictured: Bennett and Ms West on March 29, 2016, in Melbourne

‘I woke one morning and no longer recognized myself in the mirror. I loved so much about my life, but somewhere I’d lost myself within it. It no longer fit me, ‘she recalled of her decision to walk away.

Describing the process of separation as ‘painful’, Ms West confessed in an article for Mamamia: ‘It tore apart my world, damaged the things I held dearest and turned love toxic.’

The former Neighbors star also listed the challenges she faced after leaving her relationship – learning how to parent as a single mother and how to cope with being alone when her kids were staying with their father.

Ms West also said she struggled to ‘re-establish’ her identity as a single woman.

'I wish I'd known that divorce is more than a division of assets': The actress described the soul-shaking moment she decided to leave her relationship in 2018

‘I wish I’d known that divorce is more than a division of assets’: The actress described the soul-shaking moment she decided to leave her relationship in 2018

‘I wish I’d known that divorce is more than a division of assets, it’s a division of homes, friends, hopes, dreams,’ she lamented.

Ms West has since moved on from those difficult years and found new love with Byron Bay environmentalist Maximo Bottaro.

The couple were first pictured together in April 2020 when they were spotted kissing at a secluded beach in the coastal NSW town.

The couple met while Ms West was volunteering for Maximo’s environmental organization ReForest Now.

Ms West announced her split from Bennett in September 2018 after 13 years of dating.

The former couple, who never married, share six children, Phoenix, Hendrix, Xascha, Xanthe, Xahlia and Margaux.

New love: The actress has moved on from those difficult years and has found new love with Byron Bay environmentalist Maximo Bottaro (right)

New love: The actress has moved on from those difficult years and has found new love with Byron Bay environmentalist Maximo Bottaro (right)

A year after the split, the actress said she was unlikely to ever get back together with Bennett.

‘I’m a big believer that everything in life has a season. We change. We evolve, ‘she told The Kyle and Jackie O Show.

‘At some point we go, “Well, I have certain needs I want to have met and you’ve got certain needs and if the two do not combine and cross in the middle, why fight it and be miserable?”

'Everything in life has a season': A year after the split, Ms West said she was unlikely to ever get back together with Shannon

‘Everything in life has a season’: A year after the split, Ms West said she was unlikely to ever get back together with Shannon

‘I do not think it’s fair to the children either to see two parents that are constantly across purposes.’

She brushed off questions about a potential ‘love interest’ at the time and joked she was living ‘like a monk’.

Ms West told Stellar magazine in 2018 she and Shannon were ‘striving to reconnect as friends and parents’.

She said having six children and ‘two high-pressure careers’ had put a strain on their relationship over time.

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