The Family Lives of the Barnards

Barnard’s choice of career, ambition, and drive undoubtedly put a strain on his first marriage to Louwtjie, in the early days before the historic heart transplant. Although Louwtjie supported him through all his earlier career choices, the celebrity status he gained after the event pushed the relationship over the edge and the couple ultimately divorced. Their children, Deirdre and André, continued to live with Louwtjie.

Barnard’s second marriage was to Barbara Zoellner with whom he had two sons – Frederick and Christiaan. Sadly this marriage did not last and his third marriage to South African model Karin Setzkorn, Armin, and Lara’s mother, also ended in divorce. Christiaan Barnard’s family life was somewhat unstable compared to his booming surgical career.

Barnard was perhaps particularly close to his firstborn Deirdre, who proved to be a champion water skier from a very young age. Prior to the heart transplant, he invested a lot of time training Deidre as a world-class skier until the moment he realized: “she was just too damn nice” to be a world champion.

He later admitted: “The time had come for me to stop using my daughter to satisfy my own ambitions”.

Chris Barnard Family Life was often talked about and shared in the media- as he had great celebrity status not only within South Africa but the world.

Chris Barnard with wife and child