The Schapelle story: 14 years on1:28
From convicted drug smuggler to Instagram pro, here's a look at the life of Schapelle Corby.
LAST year Schapelle Corby’s Instagram was peppered with photos of her lavish birthday celebrations. Sure, it was a milestone birthday (she turned the big four-oh in 2017) but this year’s celebrations have been decidedly low-key in comparison.
Corby was photographed with a close group of family members having lunch and drinks at the Ivory Hotel in Tweed Heads (near her home on the Gold Coast) to mark her 41st birthday this week.
It’s her second birthday back home on Australian soil since she was jailed after being caught with more than 4kg of marijuana in her boogie board bag in Indonesia.
Her sisters Mercedes, Mele and Raquel, her mother Rosleigh and a couple of nephews were at the pub to help Schapelle celebrate her 41st.
According to the photographers, they enjoyed lunch including seafood, oysters, burgers and a birthday cake. Schapelle was also spotted feeding the seagulls with the kids.
Beers on the balcony were a far cry from the Instagram-friendly celebrations of 2017. At that time Schapelle released six photographs of the celebration, showing her drinking from a champagne glass, silver 40 balloons in the background, smiling with her sister Mercedes and stepsister Meleane Kisina, and the three sisters with mum Rosleigh.
Schapelle — who has been a prolific user of social media since her release from prison in Bali — has been rather quiet on social media lately. Her last post was almost a month ago, when she posted a video of herself on the Sling Shot thrill ride with her stepsister:
Prior to that, she shared some proud photos of her getting her driver’s licence back in February:
And more recently, there was a mysterious photo of Schapelle holding a man’s foot, with the caption “#imstillwearingthesmileyougaveme”
The foot in question probably belongs to her Balinese boyfriend Ben Panangian, who is also a convicted drug offender and now runs a paddle boarding business in Bali.
The couple met in Indonesia’s notorious Kerobokan prison in 2006.
Panangian has previously spoken about how he found it really tough to be apart from Schapelle when she was deported from Bali last year.
“It is lonely with her not here,’ Panangian told New Idea. “I really hope we can see each other again in the future, but we don’t know. It’s all uncertain and so it’s difficult to make any plans.”
He said it was difficult to plan for the future but they aimed to be reunited.
“We dream of getting back together,” he said. “But we don’t speak of marriage or children. Once we know if we can see each other again, we can talk about it.”
It’s unlikely Corby will be permitted to return to Indonesia given her drug conviction.
And Panangian’s own record could make it difficult for him to enter Australia.