Partner ‘devastated’ by O’Keefe lawyer’s claim
Doctor Orly Lavee, the estranged partner of game show host Andrew O'Keefe, is "devastated" the TV star's lawyer told media the medico "had a lot to answer for" concerning the arrest of O'Keefe on a domestic assault charge last weekend.
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph on the condition of anonymity, a close friend of O'Keefe's partner of two years said they felt compelled to speak out on Dr Lavee's behalf and refute the comments made by lawyer Claudette Chau outside Waverley Court on Thursday
Chau said O'Keefe was "not the aggressor" in the couple's quarrel, something that will be tested by a court following an adjournment to February 18.
O'Keefe, who will fight the common assault charge, didn't appear in court on Thursday.
The game show host is in a mental health facility being treated for the issues that have plagued him for years.
Following his arrest, the Seven Network, O'Keefe's long-time employer, confirmed it had dropped the star after a 17-year association.
It has about three months of pre-recorded episode of The Chase, the program O'Keefe helms, in the can which will buy the network time to appoint a replacement host.
Dr Lavee's friend said the mother-of-two was still shaken by the incident that brought police to the doctor's Randwick apartment around 1am last Sunday.
"The implication that she could be the aggressor is devastating to Orly, who is a doctor. It was a reckless thing for the lawyer to say and is totally baseless," the friend said.
"Orly is the alleged victim here, as the police ordered AVO shows. She hasn't done anything wrong."
Though they keep separate apartments, the 41-year-old, a haematologist at St Vincent's Hospital, and O'Keefe have been effectively living together for the past 18 months after meeting about six months prior.
They had, the source said, "an amazing chemistry and a deep mutual love" and O'Keefe's family and friends had welcomed her into their circle hoping she might have a positive effect on the 49-year-old father-of-three who has said he felt "a bit lost" following the breakdown of his first marriage in 2017.
Despite rumours published elsewhere, the couple is not married.
"She loves Andrew, and she was aware of his challenges and believed he could conquer them, but after last weekend she recognises that the relationship is over."
In 2019 O'Keefe said he checked himself into rehab in April of that year to address long-term emotional "exhaustion" that might lead to "unhelpful behaviours".
He has been in and out of rehab since.
Dr Lavee's friend said the haematologist, who police sources became "terrified after a conversation the couple was having blew up" last Saturday night, had been instrumental in persuading O'Keefe to seek medical help for his problems in the past.
A spokesman for St Vincent's confirmed the hospital was supporting Dr Lavee.
"Dr Orly Lavee is a highly regarded clinical expert in Haematology at St Vincent's. The hospital is providing appropriate support to her at this time," David Faktor said.
Originally published as Partner 'devastated' by O'Keefe lawyer's claim