'Hurt' Barnaby Joyce calls marriage breakdown his 'greatest failure'

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Following the front page news and the intense reaction from the public, Joyce's estranged wife Natalie Joyce issued a statement revealing she and his family were deeply hurt and devastated by the news of the Deputy Prime Minister's affair.

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne slammed the expose as "tabloid journalism" and told 5AA radio: "I think it's a great pity that this has happened to Barnaby Joyce and his family, and it must be very traumatising for everyone, made much worse by being publicised on the front page". "People can not possibly know what people's personal circumstances are and certainly I, and I would hope no one on my side of politics is going to participate in a public debate..."

"I'll say up front that one of the greatest failures in my life was the end of my marriage", he said.

However, while he was open about his former marriage, he refused to confirm if he's now expecting a baby, and despite Sales asking several times, he simply responded: "I want to make sure private matters remain private". The deputy prime minister's threat to put down Johnny Depp's dogs pales in comparison to the public controversy he is now facing over an affair with his pregnant press secretary.

"(They are not thinking) 'I wish the Daily Telegraph had suppressed the information that the Deputy Prime Minister had left his wife and four daughters for his former staff member almost 20 years his junior'". On that instance I failed, OK.

She has reportedly moved in with Mr Joyce and is due to give birth in April, The Telegraph reports.

Addressing these claims, an angry-looking Joyce replied: "Just because my marriage didn't work out doesn't mean I disregard what marriages are all about. I'll be upfront I failed on that one, but I am not going to say therefore just because I failed I'm going to completely change my views and definition".

She said there is an unwritten rule around publishing affairs, but that the nature of Joyce's with the expected child made things different.

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After winning the by-election Mr Joyce told federal parliament his 24-year marriage was over.

Mr Joyce then took her to Canberra.

Journalist Sharri Markson, who wrote the story, defended it as being in the public interest.

A friend of the Deputy Prime Minister said the pregnancy was shrouded in secrecy because he was concerned about the well-being of his daughters.

The existence and depth of the Joyce-Campion relationship soon became known through the agriculture sector, where the media adviser often accompanied the Agriculture Minister on official rounds.

"My heart goes out to the wife and daughters", he told Sky News.

But when they step out of line, there's an outcry: they're supposed to be better than us, to lead by example and uphold the finest standards.