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Fiona's heart no longer in marriage

Date: 28/11/1999
Words: 399
          Publication: Sun Herald
Section: News
Page: 3
HEART transplant survivor Fiona Coote has split from her business executive husband after three years of marriage.

In a surprise move, the two-time donor-heart recipient revealed yesterday she had separated from advertising boss Ian Elliot after they had grown apart.

The pair, who met through their mutual charity interests in the late 1980s, wed in 1996.

``After nearly 10 years together our lives have grown in separate directions," Ms Coote said in a joint statement issued by the couple.

``Pretty much all we have in common now is our passion for supporting charities which are close to our hearts and we intend to continue doing that together."

Ms Coote's father Terry confirmed the separation but declined further comment.

The announcement follows Ms Coote's revelation to The Sun-Herald in August of the on-going burden of her medical condition and the toll it took on her ability to live a normal life.

Now 29, she won Australia's affection in the mid-1980s when at the age of 14 she became the youngest Australian to undergo a heart transplant.

She needed a second transplant two years later.

In yesterday's statement Ms Coote indicated she and Mr Elliot, who is chief executive for advertising firm George Patterson Bates, had mutually arrived at the decision to break up.

``We hope that the news doesn't sadden people," she wrote.

``Our goal is to be happy and we believe that out mutual decision to separate is right for both of us."

Mr Elliot said in the statement that the pair remained on friendly terms.

``While business and travel commitments may have added some pressure to our marriage, at the end of the day, we have just grown apart," he wrote.

``We've always agreed that if our relationship wasn't great, then we'd move on and be happy while we still have a great deal of love and respect for each other."

They married in Bowral in 1996 in a ceremony attended by 100 guests including Ann Chang, whose late husband, Victor, saved Ms Coote's life.

Ms Coote told The Sun-Herald earlier this year she took up to ten medications a day, was banned from drinking coffee and could not eat meat, sugar or any saturated fats.

She is required to exercise regularly to keep her heart as fit as possible.

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