Barnaby Joyce's scorned wife "tore strips off" his new girlfriend and "called her a 'homewrecker'" in a public confrontation in front of witnesses.
In a piece for Rendezview, columnist Miranda Devine has revealed fresh details about the breakdown of Mr Joyce's marriage - and his wife Natalie's reaction to the affair with his former staffer, Vikki Campion.
The Deputy Prime Minister is under fire after it emerged this week that his former media adviser turned girlfriend, Ms Campion, was carrying his child. The baby, due in April, will be Mr Joyce's first son, reports News.com.au.
The revelation has sparked questions about Ms Campion appointment to jobs created especially for her in two different National Party offices.
The pair's relationship was confirmed when the New England member returned to parliament late last year. It also signalled a marital breakdown between Mr Joyce and wife Natalie, after 24 years as husband and wife.
But according to Ms Devine, Mrs Joyce first "had wind of the affair" around April last year, and the women came face-to-face.
"Friends say the office stopped telling her what was in his diary and a wife's intuition kicked in," she writes.
"She stormed up to Vikki in Tamworth and tore strips off her, a furious little pocket rocket facing up to a frightened gazelle.
"She called Vikki a 'homewrecker' in front of witnesses."
In a statement released earlier this week, Mrs Joyce said she was "deeply saddened by the news that my husband has been having an affair and is now having a child with a former staff member".
"This situation is devastating on many fronts," she said.
"For my girls who are affected by the family breakdown and for me as a wife of 24 years, who placed my own career on hold to support Barnaby through his political life.
"Naturally we also feel deceived and hurt."
The alleged confrontation between the two women reportedly took place around the same time Ms Campion went from Mr Joyce's media adviser to a more senior position with a pay rise, working for cabinet minister Matt Canavan.
Ms Campion, a former journalist, took on the new job in April last year, The Australian reports. The salary band for a senior adviser is up to $191,000 a year, according to pay scales published by the Finance Department.
She later shifted to the office of then-Nationals whip Damien Drumhen when Senator Canavan stepped down from the front bench awaiting a High Court ruling on his citizenship status.
Media reports this week suggested Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was involved in approving those two appointments, which had to be signed off on by the PM's office, and Labor is pressuring him to explain what happened.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, whose department oversees the hiring of political staff, said because Ms Campion was a staffer for National Party ministers, decisions relating to her employment were made by the coalition's junior partner and that everything was appropriate.
"She's clearly somebody who is qualified to do the job and she was hired in certain positions based on merit and there's nothing really further to add," he told Sky News on Sunday.
"All of my advice is that everything was absolutely aboveboard."
Asked if any special jobs had been created for a politician's girlfriend, he said: "That is self-evidently not what happened."
Mr Turnbull has said he was not aware of any inappropriate spending of public funds relating to the affair.
The Prime Minister yesterday said he was "very conscious of the distress" suffered by Mrs Joyce and her four daughters.
"This is a deeply personal matter relating to Barnaby Joyce and his family and I do not wish to add to the public discussion about it," he said.
"I'm very conscious of the hurt this has occasioned his wife Natalie and their daughters and I have nothing further to add."