James Packer is ‘suffering from mental health issues’, and is leaving the Crown board

James Packer. Lucas Dawson/Getty Images

James Packer today resigned as a director of Crown Resorts, with his representatives saying the billionaire is suffering from mental health issues.

Executive chairman John Alexander said: “We have appreciated James’ contribution to the Board and respect his decision to step down from his role as a director at this time.”

A spokesman for Packer’s private company, Consolidated Press Holdings, says Packer is “suffering from mental health issues”.

Packer, who has been living as a recluse on his polo ranch outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is stepping back from all commitments.

Earlier this month Packer raised more than $100 million by selling some of his shares in Crown Resorts. He still holds about 47% of the company.

Packer had rejoined the board in August last year to take a more hands-on approach to his holding in the casino business.

Crown was facing a number of issues, including a decline in VIP gamblers from China following a crackdown there which saw Crown staff arrested for allegedly spruiking gambling.

The 50-year-old Packer’s personal life has been the subject of public attention recently when he broke-up last year with American singer Mariah Carey after an 18-month relationship.

“She was kind, exciting and fun,” Packer told the Weekend Australian in an interview. “Mariah is a woman of substance. She is very bright. But it was a mistake for her and a mistake for me.”

During the interview he agreed he was living like a recluse in Argentina.

“This is my place, I feel safe and secure here. It is very pretty,” he said.

Packer had a very public street fight in 2014 at Bondi with his childhood friend David Gyngell, the former Head of Nine Entertainment Group.

Witnesses described the wrestling men falling to the ground. They were broken apart by what appeared to be Packer’s bodyguards.

(NOTE: Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14 – is available for those feeling depression)