Israel Folau might be one of the controversial public figures in Australia. But, at least, the lucky dude has the support and love of his beloved wife at everything he does.
Know Israel Folau's Wife & His Crucial Religious Belief
After a few failed attempts at relationships, Israel Folau finally found the true love of his life and settled down with his girlfriend turned wife, Maria Folau, former Netballer from New Zealand. Speaking of which, the Aussie Rugby celebrity was previously romantically linked with actress Frankie Adams in 2014. Although there might have been a vast doubt over their flings, none of them ever addressed over the matter.
But, the dating sparks all dimmed when in February 2016 Israel publicly announced on Twitter that he was seeing Maria Folau. Rumors were already swirling in the air when flirty texts exchanged between them surfaced over the internet.
Then in early February, Folau shared a picture of Maria and proudly gushed about his beau as he wrote in the caption section, "WCW". Although it was a long distanced relationship, things instantly turned serious between the former Wallabies and Maria whose real name is Solonaima Maria Tuta'ia as Israel would often make a flight to New Zealand. Impressively, he would jet off to New Zealand in the morning and come back home in Sydney by night.
Not to mention, Israel who stands at the height of six feet 4 inches also once spoke about the high amount of money he spent on the phone bills generated by just talking to Maria. Then, not less than nine months later in October, Israel asked Maria to marry him. The couple shared the happy news with their fans on social media with an engagement picture.
By the next year on 15th November 2017, Israel and his fiancee took part in their holy matrimony in an extremely private outdoor wedding ceremony. Their special day took place in Kangaroo Point, Australia at a private venue. Both husband and wife officiated their wedding news a week later on 22nd November with beautiful pictures of their wedding.
Needless to say, their wedding was no less than a fairytale. Israel's bride made a really pretty bride in a white full sleeve gown made by Fashion Designer, Adrienne Winkelmann. "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord," said Israel in the photo caption.
In March 2020, News Hub New Zealand reported that Israel and his wife were expecting their first child. The news section also claimed that Maria who is three years older than Israel is in her second trimester. As of 30th March, the couple hasn't disclosed any information on Maria's pregnancy.
Folau's Controversial Stance On Same-sex Marriage
Labeled as a homophobic, Israel Folau is a devoted Christian by religion and, truly and strongly holds his beliefs of Christianity such as considering the LGBTQ people and same-sex marriage as sins. He was raised as a Mormon. Coincidentally, Folau got married on the same historic day when 69% of Australia voted in the favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.
On 13th September 2017, Israel made a controversial tweet when he wrote, "I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. but personally, I will not support gay marriage." Folau received a lot of criticisms from the public, but he still stubbornly held onto his traditional beliefs.
Israel was, once again, scrutinized in April 2018 when he answered a fan on Instagram on his stance for homosexuality. Shockingly, Folau replied that hell awaits for the LGBTQ people unless they repent from their sins. The saga doesn't end here, when in Easter 2019, Israel shared the same message, "WARNING: HELL AWAITS YOU. REPENT. ONLY JESUS SAVES" with a picture indicated for adulterers, homosexuals, liars, thieves, and fornicators.
Termination From Rugby Australia
Then involved with Rugby Australia, the organizations' CEO released a public statement commenting that they don't share the same values as Israel Folau and made it official that he was no more allowed to play for the team. Israel's four years of contract; a deal of $4 million with the Wallabies, ended right after that. He also lost his sponsorship deal with ASICS.
Israel then filed a legal lawsuit against the Rugby Australia with Fair Work Commission in claims that his termination was not lawful. As a matter of fact, he sought an apology and $10 million from the organization citing that he might have been the captain of the team if he wasn't terminated.
Not to mention, Israel also set up a GoFundMe page to raise $3 million to assist in supporting his legal fees, but the amount of $760000 raised was canceled and sent back to its donors. GoFundMe claims the donation violated the rules of inclusion and promoted discrimination.
Israel shared a long statement over the issue on Instagram and urged his fans to support him for being unlawfully terminated for practicing his religion. Showing her solidarity, Maria reposted the message on her Instagram.
The process which started in June took long months before it finally settled down in December when both parties stated that Rugby Australia and Israel have reached an agreement of mutual agreement.
Additionally, Folau also went against Tasmania's LGBTQ bill amendment of changing one's gender on birth certificates and the equal rights of the LGBTQ community as the rest of its citizens. On the matter, Folau said ''the devil has blinded so many people." Not to let it go, Israel also said the deadly Australian bushfire was a plan of God and his punishment for allowing gay marriage and abortion.
Salary & Net Worth; Now Representing Catalans Dragons
Since early 2020, Israel Folau has been playing for Catalans Dragons, a France, Perpignan, and Pyrénées-Orientales based Rugby club after he signed a one year deal. And, like his wife, Israel has been a great Rugby player since he was in schools.
But, before his official Rugby career kicked off in 2007, Israel was already a star. At the age of only sixteen, Israel succeeded to win the Queensland Cup team with the Norths Devils, under 19 teams. Touring France, England, and Wales, and winning the title of the best back of the tournament Australian Secondary School Rugby Leagues (ASSRL) Award, Israel then debuted at NRL season in 2007.
Throughout the years, Folau played for Melbourne Storm, Brisbane Broncos, Waratahs, Sydney Stars, NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes and Greater Western Sydney. But, Israel's whose net worth is estimated to be $7 million with earning an attractive salary of thousands also made a few earning through brand endorsements as he was sponsored by famous companies such as Adidas, Powerade and Goodman Fielder.
It's also been reported that Israel made $1.5 million only in 2012. As for his wife, Maria is also worth no less than $1 million.
Quick Facts Of Israel Folau
- Grew up with four brothers including fellow Rugby pro, John Folau, and one sister.
- Queensland named a street in Goodna Ipswich in honor of Folau.
- Belongs to the Tongan ethnicity.
- Studied at Lurnea Public School, Westfields Sports High School, and Marsden State High School.
- RLIF Awards prized him the International Newcomer of the Year in 2007.