By Savanna Young For Daily Mail Australia
02:37 13 Sep 2023, updated 03:39 13 Sep 2023
Dani Laidley has revealed how her family discovered her true gender identity after accidentally sending them never-before-seen photos on Snapchat.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal in the Stan Original documentary Revealed – Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes, the former AFL star admits her daughters found out after she sent the photos to them in 2019.
In the images Dani is dressed in a white T-shirt dress and black thigh-high boots – showing off her large dream catcher tattoo on her thigh.
Other photos see her sporting elaborate makeup with false lashes and dark brown lipstick. She’s also wearing a long, blonde wig.
The ex-North Melbourne coach, 56, explains in the tell-all documentary that she’d been keeping her identity a secret from her family when the photos were accidentally sent.
The Stan Original documentary Revealed – Danielle Laidley: Two Tribes premieres September 19 only on Stan.
‘I sort of started to live my life as me with a small group of friends, but not in front of my children,’ she says.
‘I would try my darndest to keep the two very separate.’
Recounting the moment her daughters received the images, Dani says she was living alone and often used the app to keep in contact with them.
‘I was learning how to use Snapchat. Because that’s how I communicated particularly with the girls every day,’ she reveals.
‘And one Sunday morning, I was learning how to do it. I didn’t have my glasses on…
‘Instead of pressing save, I pressed send. They got pictures of me.’
Dani admits she takes ‘full responsibility’ for sending the images, adding that it was during her battle with drug addiction.
The former West Coast Eagles star also confirms her daughters cut off all contact with her following the incident.
However, Dani and her son Kane continue to maintain a close relationship.
‘The girls had no idea… There were reasons how it happened – mental health, the drug use…’ Dani says.
‘From that time on I have had no communication with the girls.’
The following year, Dani spiralled into depression.
‘I was in a very toxic situation with everything that was going on. I was not in a good headspace,’ she says.
‘I started thinking about people will be better off without me being around.’
Dani later reveals she attempted suicide.
The documentary shows the harrowing moment being recounted by Dani and her childhood sweetheart Donna Leckie’s former housemate Jada, who was present in their home at the time.
In 2020, Dani’s life spiralled when she was arrested under accusations of stalking amid a battle with drug addiction.
A Victorian police officer leaked photos to the media of Dani in custody, which publicly outed her before she came out to family and friends.
In the anticipated documentary, she candidly speaks about her life as a closeted transgender woman in the AFL, her arrest, and how she has found her true self over the past three years.
‘It’s with nervous anticipation that I share my story with Australia – it hasn’t been the easiest path, but I’ve made some treasured memories along the way, and met some incredible people,’ Dani says.
‘This story won’t pull any punches; you’ll see me at my lowest points and at my highest, surrounded by those whom I care about most who stood by me through it all.
‘My truth is becoming an increasingly common one in today’s society, and highlights the need for greater inclusivity, understanding and acceptance.’
The AFL great said she is ready to tell her story with her partner Donna by her side.
Donna was a life-long friend of Danielle, and when she was at her lowest the two reconnected and began a romantic relationship.
The Stan documentary, which will premiere on September 19, navigates their paths forward in a critical twelve months under public scrutiny.
It will also detail Danielle’s childhood in a working-class suburb of Perth, using personal archival material including photos, journals and videos.
Viewers will also get to see her rise in footy.
She is best known for a highly successful men’s footy career, playing 151 games for the West Coast Eagles and North Melbourne football clubs, including an AFL premiership with the Kangaroos in 1996.
She went on to become one of the youngest ever head coaches in the league at the age of 36, taking charge of North Melbourne for 149 games across seven seasons from 2003 to 2009, before holding other coaching roles with the Port Adelaide, St Kilda and Carlton football clubs.
Cailah Scobie, chief content officer at Stan, said she is delighted that Danielle trusted Stan to help tell her ‘powerful story’.
‘It is an extremely important one that demands to be heard,’ she said.
‘And we believe audiences will be inspired by Danielle’s fascinating journey.’
If you or anyone you know needs immediate support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or via lifeline.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.