FOR a man who has cultivated and managed his professional, personal and sporting image so incredibly well, financial adviser and accountant Anthony Bell would be hating his current spate of media attention.

More used to chasing headwinds than headlines, the owner and skipper of Loyal — the boat that took line honours at the Sydney to Hobart — has been thrust into the spotlight.

Bell has been in the limelight this week as his wife of six years, TV personality Kelly Landry, had an AVO served upon him.

When the matter was before Waverley Local Court on Thursday, the AVO was amended and agreed to, without any admission of wrongdoing, and will return to court at a later date.

Mr Bell’s barrister Chris Murphy said the AVO was a “pack of lies” and his client never wanted to speak to Ms Landry again.

To many, Mr Bell is “that celebrity accountant”, a term he once told me (when we were paired up for a TV segment together) he cannot stand.

Bell is a charmer. Always has been. With his company Bell Partners, worth an alleged $50 million — that’s a lot of tax returns — he has always looked to be living the dream.

Bell is a bloke’s bloke. Loves a beer and to hangout and advise his mates. He also loves being surrounded by beauty — whether that’s in his boats, his women or the celebs who circle him.

There has never been a public moment I have seen or experienced where Anthony Bell hasn’t been anything but gracious, fun, courteous and generous.

Bell, a man who has become part of the eclectic tapestry of what now passes for Sydney “society”, has a penchant for fast cars, fast sailing boats, sport and luxury floating palaces and high-profile friends.

At an incredibly chic watch launch in 2015 at Scots College in Bellevue Hill — Bell was actually a Waverley College boy who repeated year 12 — both he and Landry were my dinner table companions. And the pair could not have been more charming.

In fact, each time I see them, they’ve always been the real deal. And I’m pretty used to spotting the fakes.

While Bell and Landry have never been part of the opening-of-a-dunny-door-type partygoer set, the social events they attend are usually those that include mates or are fundraisers for the likes of the Sydney Children’s Hospital or the Loyal Foundation, which raises money for kids’ hospital equipment.

Names like Terry Biviano and Anthony Minichiello, Jodie and Braith Anaista (who have since separated), Michael and Kyly Clarke, Larry and Sylvie Emdur, Kate and Luke Ricketson, Karl Stefanovic and Grant Vandenburg are regular fixtures in their friend circuit. Meanwhile, boat enthusiasts Neville “Croaky” Crichton and Denis O’Neil are Bell’s go-to older, wiser mates when it comes to talking boats.

When 16-year-old solo sailor Jessica Watson headed into the Sydney heads in 2010, I was invited to watch on Bell’s extraordinary $10 million boat, Ghost. That was precisely the day fellow Getaway presenter Natalie Gruzlewski introduced the Geelong-born, relatively naive and simply beautiful Landry to Bell.

Back then I seriously remember thinking, “they would be the perfect couple” — he, a cashed-up and an amiable bloke, and, she, a successful TV presenter in a cutthroat world, gorgeous, long, lithe and exquisitely beautiful.

Sitting across a table on the boat from them at the end of that day’s cruise, there was lighthearted flirting between them that turned into dinner that night. Soon after, the pair started seriously dating while Bell was living in a $12 million apartment in Bondi.

By 2011, Bell, 39, and Kelly, 31, were expecting their first child and married “in secret” before friends such as Phil Waugh, Danny Green, Geoff Huegill and Catriona Rowntree in Queenstown, New Zealand. Landry wore a stunning Collette Dinnigan dress

The couple now have two young girls, Thea and Charlize.

Back then, Kelly told Kate Waterhouse: “I guess as a girl you have an idea in your mind of the sort of person you would like to spend the rest of your life with and I think from the moment that I met Ant, I had a pretty fair idea that he ticked all the boxes. Natalie (Gruzlewski) set us up. We met at 10am and we had lunch, dinner and then danced until five in the morning together.”

After there secret nuptials, the pair hosted a party for 200 pals at Catalina — the Rose Bay restaurant that looks over the harbour (and many, many boats) and is renowned for celebrity sightings. To host something at Catalina is a green light that says you want to be seen.

Landry was resplendent in a Givenchy gown.

To say Bell has a penchant for pretty blondes is no stretch, having once been in a long-term relationship with radio and TV name Sami Lukis; a reported, shorter-term relationship with model, TV face and new mum Laura Csortan; and another with the late TV presenter Charlotte Dawson, who took her life at 47 years of age, in 2014.

On November 10 last year, I attended a dinner event for 80 people at Carrriageworks in Sydney’s Redfern, where I bumped into Bell again. While he wasn’t with his wife at the time, Bell was in a good mood, as we talked about the arrival of his latest big boat, Ghost 2.

We joked about the fact I had attended a work event on his new vessel a month before but he still hadn’t been on it.

The gigantic 40m-long boat was built in Dubai and features an outdoor jacuzzi, cabins that sleep 12, a dining room for 50 and deck space that features a bar and room for a DJ and dance floor. Estimates say it could have cost, gulp, $20 million to construct.

In his inimitable style, he promised we’d all get a great gang together and take a cruise around the harbour.

Somehow now, I reckon Bell will be laying low for awhile, with boating at the back of his mind.

As he said in a letter to his clients two days ago: “I deny the allegations and will defend myself in court. I abhor all violence and I am faithful to my family.

“It is unimaginable to me that I could ever touch a woman in anger. I have never taken a drug, been in any way disrespectful to people. I lead a quiet family life and try to be the best parent and husband that circumstances permit.

“While this is a private matter that Kelly and I are committed to resolving, I feel that I should note my distress over what has happened publicly.

“However, the emotional, physical and mental wellbeing of my wife and daughters are all I care about.”

In the meantime, Bell is in the “pick and stick” crew — a term coined by the likes of Alan Jones and James Packer. Whatever the result, of today’s court hearing, time will only tell who sticks with who.

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