The estranged husband of a former Auckland model who recently came clean about her high-profile battle with alcoholism says she has left the country with their two young daughters.

Sophia Nash was scheduled to appear in the Auckland District Court Thursday on charges of theft, driving while disqualified and breaching a community-work order.

It is alleged that on February 24, the 27-year-old stole a $20 pink and yellow Christian Dior handbag from the Salvation Army store in Mt Eden. Police say the defendant was then caught driving on Dominion Rd while disqualified; a charge she has faced at least twice before.

Photo / Jason Dorday
Photo / Jason Dorday

The absence of the St Marys Bay woman meant a warrant was issued for her arrest.

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This morning Thane Kirby wrote a post on Facebook explaining his absence from his morning radio show on George FM.

He said: "Put quite simply this is a really hard time for me and my family right now. My ex wife has left the country and has taken our children with her. I'm devastated but kinda powerless to do anything other than put this matter in the hands of my lawyer, police and cyfs. I want to thank those close to me for their support it really means a lot.

"I'm just wishing for my girls to come home as quickly as possible so we can put this terrible period behind us once and for all."

Hey guys you may have wondered why I haven't been on air for the last few days. Put quite simply this is a really hard...

Posted by Thane Kirby on Friday, March 11, 2016

"I'm just wishing for my girls to come home as quickly as possible so we can put this terrible period behind us once and for all."

He asked anyone with information to contact him via a private message.

A friend of Ms Nash who didn't want to be named said her phone was switched off and they were concerned about her.

Police told the Herald yesterday they had not been able to locate Ms Nash. They said if police had concerns about defendants fleeing the country, they had to manually access the customs database to apply a virtual "red flag".

"This does not automatically happen just because someone has active charges before the court."

Police would not answer questions about the details of their search for Nash or whether they had any suspicions about her being overseas. They would not say whether they had been in touch with Customs or Immigration in relation to her.

Ms Nash was a fixture on the city's party scene since she was discovered by modelling interests as a teenager but just months ago she came forward to tell the story of how her addiction nearly killed her.

She told NZME a month ago that she had been sober for six months and was devoted to her two daughters, aged 4 and 5.

Less than two years ago, the former gossip columnist nearly lost everything, she told Newstalk ZB's The Nutters Club.

"Once I found out I was an alcoholic, I just went full on. It actually for some reason made me flare up even more.

Thane Kirby and Sophia Nash in 2013. Photo / Norrie Montgomery.
Thane Kirby and Sophia Nash in 2013. Photo / Norrie Montgomery.

"I think it was just the pain of understanding this was the end of the life that I knew ... I knew everything was going to change," Nash said.

"I had one Midori and Baileys shot and that sort of kicked me off. I'd had some benzos [benzodiazepines] that I'd been prescribed and I tripped over and hit my head on a rock."

While Nash was in hospital in an induced coma, a friend took a photo of her, put it on Facebook and warned others not to let her near any booze.

She said the shame and guilt of her addiction, which began as a 14-year-old, were too much to take and midway through last year decided to put down the bottle for good.

Nash told NZME it was a long journey to self-acceptance.

"The compassion came from just going: 'I don't have to be everything to everyone. I need to be looking after myself and those two beautiful children'," she said.

"And that means learning boundaries and that means saying no. I can't do everything all of the time."

Nash said finally opening up about her battle - which also saw her story picked up by overseas media - had been "cathartic".

The theft charge could see the mother of two locked up for three months while the driving allegations could attract a prison sentence of up to two years if she is found guilty.