The Block auctioneer Damien Cooley separates from his wife of 15 years… after facing backlash for celebrating killing a ‘feral’ deer on Instagram

The Block auctioneer Damien Cooley has reportedly split from his wife Peppi.

The Cooleys ‘quietly separated’ recently after 15 years of marriage, reports The Sun-Herald’s Emerald City column.

Damien, who has presided over the winning auction on The Block five times, told the publication the break-up was ‘still pretty raw’.

Going, going, gone: The Block auctioneer Damien Cooley (left) has ‘quietly separated’ from his wife Peppi (right) after 15 years of marriage

The couple, who share three children, tied the knot in 2006.

Damien found himself at the centre of controversy recently when he shot a deer and posted a celebratory photo of the hunt on Instagram.

He told Daily Mail Australia last Thursday anti-hunting activists were entitled to their opinion, but he was nevertheless ‘genuinely proud’ of his kill. 

'Raw': Cooley, who has presided over the winning auction on The Block five times, told The Sun-Herald the separation was 'still pretty raw'

‘Raw’: Cooley, who has presided over the winning auction on The Block five times, told The Sun-Herald the separation was ‘still pretty raw’ 

Animal rights advocates were disgusted by the image of Damien crouching next to the dead animal and revealing he’d ‘ticked off a very big life goal this week’.

Damien, who is a farmer in addition to being an auctioneer, said: ‘Deer are classed as a feral animal in New South Wales and are culled regularly. I hunt for the table and my family enjoy eating venison and many other animals like rabbits, pigs and more.’

However, he said he ‘appreciates social [media] may not have been the best platform to show this’.

‘I was genuinely proud. Some see that as egotistical but I see it differently. They are entitled to their opinion as am I, and I respect theirs.’

Mr Cooley added that his Instagram account is mostly for personal posts, and that his close friends know how much respect he has for all animals.

Divisive: Damien found himself at the centre of controversy recently when he shot a deer and posted a celebratory photo of the hunt on Instagram

Divisive: Damien found himself at the centre of controversy recently when he shot a deer and posted a celebratory photo of the hunt on Instagram

Damien sparked backlash last Tuesday when he posted the confronting photo of his hunt on Instagram and captioned it: ‘Ticked off a very big life goal this week.

‘I understand some may not like it but this is me.

‘I hunt for the table and have so much respect for these animals. I’m with my best mates and this was a special moment we shared. This fallow stag will be respected for the rest of my time.’

The criticism came in thick and fast, with one person commenting: ‘Magnificent animal – better off alive. Gross. Get better “life goals”.’

No regrets: Damien (pictured) told Daily Mail Australia last Thursday that anti-hunting activists are entitled to their opinion, but he is nevertheless 'genuinely proud' of his kill

No regrets: Damien (pictured) told Daily Mail Australia last Thursday that anti-hunting activists are entitled to their opinion, but he is nevertheless ‘genuinely proud’ of his kill 

Post: He captioned the confronting photo on Tuesday, 'Ticked off a big life goal this week. I understand some may not like it but this is me... I have so much respect for these animals'

Post: He captioned the confronting photo on Tuesday, ‘Ticked off a big life goal this week. I understand some may not like it but this is me… I have so much respect for these animals’ 

‘The world needs less death and trauma at the moment. See ya,’ another wrote.

‘Sorry, not a fan of this. How this could be an achievement, I don’t know,’ a third critic wrote, while another said they’d ‘lost all respect’ for Damien.

In addition to his work on The Block, his runs Cooley Auctions and has appeared on other reality shows including Selling Houses Australia and The Renovators.

Familiar face: Damien has overseen the winning auction on The Block five times. He is pictured with The Block 2021 winners Mitch Edwards (left) and Mark McKie (right)

Familiar face: Damien has overseen the winning auction on The Block five times. He is pictured with The Block 2021 winners Mitch Edwards (left) and Mark McKie (right) 

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