Israel and Maria Folau’s big baby news
Israel Folau, the controversial former Australian rugby and AFL star who drew the world's ire for damning homosexuals and other "sinners" to hell, is having a baby.
Page 13 understands Maria Folau is well into her second trimester.
The hard line husband and wife of the Pentecostal Christian faith are currently based in Perpignan, in the South of France.
The Folaus moved to Perpignan, close to the Spain border, earlier this year after he signed on with French-based rugby league club Catalans Dragons in the Super League competition in Europe.
The move came after Rugby Australia ripped up Folau's four-year $4 million contract last May after an independent panel hearing found his homophobic social media posts breached the terms of his employment and ultimately put an end to his rugby union career.
But word from Folau's inner circle is the couple will return to Australia to have the baby later this year, as NRL clubs wait to pounce for his impending resurrection.
It's understood several NRL teams are behind the scenes watching Folau's every move, on and off the field. They are closely monitoring how he plays within a team environment and if he, well, keeps his trap shut.
Folau and his New Zealand-born netballer wife Maria both have stated online that they believe gay people are going to hell. Their controversial homophobic stance rightly met with waves of criticism worldwide.
It all started in 2018 when Folau replied to an Instagram comment asking about "God's plan for homosexuals," posting "Hell … unless they repent for their sins and turn to God."
In Easter last year, Folau doubled down, sharing a meme bearing the words "homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves" and captioned the post, "WARNING: HELL AWAITS YOU. REPENT. ONLY JESUS SAVES."
Then came the legal action. And when we mean legal action we mean Folau hired the big guns.
Folau employed hot shot industrial relations silk Stuart Wood and Melbourne's legal attack dog George Haros to take action against Rugby Australia, demanding $14 million in compensation and an apology for what he claimed was unlawful dismissal.
In December, the long-running legal dispute ended and a settlement was reached for an undisclosed confidential amount. Cha-ching.
A joint statement was also released by Rugby Australia, Rugby NSW and the Folaus. It stated the damning social post reflected Folau's "genuinely held religious beliefs" and that he "did not intend to harm or offend and person when he uploaded the post."
Rugby Australia said it did not agree with the content of Folau's post, before each party wished the other well in the future, happy clappy days!
"Inclusiveness is one of rugby's core values and it welcomes all people to the game, including all members of the LGBTI community."
When Page 13 called about the pregnancy news, legal eagle Haros said he was not in a position to comment on Folau's personal life.
Just before marrying in 2017, Maria Folau, nee Tutaia, said any of her future children would be barred from wearing the green and gold, adding they would only represent New Zealand.
While Page 13 does not know if the Folau baby will be male or female, it is safe to say the kid will not be raised as gender fluid.
Couldn't resist. Watch this space.