Savage Garden – Whatever Happened To The Pop Duo?

Savage Garden entertained fans over the course of eight years, two albums, and two world tours. The Australian pop duo was formed in 1994 when multi-instrumentalist Daniel Jones and singer Darren Hayes formed a duo after playing in a cover band together. They released their self-titled debut album in 1997, and that album would go on to sell 12 million copies and establish the duo's worldwide success (via Billboard). The single "Truly Madly Deeply" shot to No. 1 and became the most-played song on the radio in 1997.

After two world tours and more successful singles, including the No. 1 hit "I Knew I Loved You," it seemed like Savage Garden was at the top of their game. But to the shock of their millions of fans, the duo abruptly called it quits just before the release of their second studio album, "Affirmation.”

Since that time, Hayes and Jones have stayed busy in separate lives and have said there is no chance for reconciliation of the duo. "We don't really have a relationship anymore, because of the distance and he's moved on and I've moved on, but we still have a great respect for one another," Jones told "I still hear him speaking highly of me and it's reciprocated." So what have the former bandmates been up to since Savage Garden split?

Jones and Hayes went their separate ways after the duo split

Their breakup was an awkward fumble between the two. Daniel Jones wasn't happy with the touring and music lifestyle and wanted out, and he nearly caused the halt of the release of their second album. Darren Hayes had to do the press tour for the album alone and, a week before it came out, he announced that the duo had broken up. Although everyone knew Jones wasn't happy, they hadn't discussed the announcement of an official breakup, and Jones first heard about it on the news (via New Zealand Herald).

In a 2015 interview, Jones insisted that there are no hard feelings. "The one thing I never wanted Darren to think is that it was personal against him," he explained to "My decision of walking away from the limelight wasn't directed to anyone but myself and my own happiness."

Jones and Hayes haven't worked together since the split, nor have they reunited in any way. "The reality is the band will unfortunately never get back together," said Jones. "What we have to do is remember what we did do." He continued, saying, "You've got to look back fondly rather than wish for more."

Hayes experienced further success with a solo career

Although the public eye didn't sit well with Daniel Jones, Darren Hayes knew that was where he belonged and he immediately continued on with his own solo career after Savage Garden. In 2002, he released his first solo album, "Spin" (via Billboard). After the success of "Spin," Hayes released three more solo albums and continued to tour. He wasn't afraid to step out of his pop music, radio-friendly comfort zone as he continued growing as an artist. His second solo album, "The Tension and the Spark" was produced by Hayes and Robert Conley, and the album pushed the boundaries of what fans were used to. According to The Vogue, almost the entire album was electronic, and although it wasn't as commercially successful, it was his most critically acclaimed effort.

As of this writing, Hayes is still a hard-working musician who hasn't stopped performing and touring since the Savage Garden days. In fact, he released two new singles, "Do You Remember?" and "Let's Try Being In Love," in 2022.

Jones started a label and recording studio in the early 2000s

Shortly after Savage Garden broke up, Daniel Jones stayed involved with music behind the scenes by starting a label, Meridien Musik, and becoming a producer (via The Sydney Morning Herald). He admitted that he felt a little guilty for all the world-class knowledge and experience he got while in Savage Garden and he wanted to give something back. "I came out of the touring world and thought I wanted to pass onto others the experience I was given," he told

Jones set up the studio and label in his hometown of Brisbane, Australia. He had the intention to recruit local, home-grown talent and had the facilities to support his vision. In the end, though, the venture didn't really go that well for Jones. He ended up spending too much of his own money on the projects he believed in and soon realized he'd lose it all if he didn't step away.

Hayes has married his husband three times

During the Savage Garden days, Darren Hayes was married to wife Colby Taylor (via Attitude). He didn't come out as gay until after the pop duo split up in 2000. Since coming out, he has become a vocal advocate for gay rights and same-sex marriage. In a 2022 interview, Hayes told Studio 10, "I came out by telling you all I had married Richard, my husband." He continued, saying, "I have to thank you, the media, and the public for always being so kind about my sexuality."

Hayes married his husband, Richard Cullen, in a private ceremony in 2005 before same-sex partnerships were officially recognized by the United Kingdom, where he and Cullen resided at the time (via News Corp Australia). When the country began to recognize civil unions in 2006, Hayes married Cullen again to make it official. Then, in 2013, when same-sex couples gained the right to marry in the state of California, Hayes married Cullen a third time. On Facebook, Hayes announced, "I'm so I'm so happy to be able to say I just married my best friend – again. Only this time perhaps in the most equal sense under the law."

Hayes had an essay published in the same book as President Obama

In 2012, Darren Hayes' essay was featured in the book "It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living." The book features a collection of essays written by various authors with the aim of helping LGBTQ teens navigate the difficult path of living healthily and happily with their identities. Hayes' essay "Perfect Just the Way You Are" was published along with others from well-known contributors like Barack Obama, Ellen DeGeneres, Hillary Clinton, and Prime Minister David Cameron. 

Hayes has been a vocal advocate for supporting LGBTQ youth since he came out. He suffered his own terrible experiences when he revealed his sexuality in the music industry. "I was witness to some of the most homophobic conversations," Hayes told Attitude. "I heard some of these men in suits say things about Ricky Martin and other artists at the time that were so offensive. And they said them in front of me without any fear of repercussion."

Back in 2010, he posted a video message, saying, "For anybody who is struggling, anybody who is being made to feel guilty about who they are, I just want to remind you that it gets better. It gets so much better. It gets amazing," Hayes assured.

Jones is married to a former TV star

Despite Daniel Jones wanting to slip out of the spotlight, he ironically married another celebrity. His wife, Kathleen de Leon, was a performer on the Australian children's series "Hi-5." The two were engaged for a couple of years before they married in 2005. After the birth of their first child, de Leon left the award-winning children's show to focus on mothering and growing a family with Jones. In 2009 they relocated to the U.S. from Australia, according to a Woman's Day interview with the star (via Now to Love).

After the pair's successful careers in show business, they decided to go in a new direction for generating income. "We wanted to keep a low profile after our music careers and take a step back so we got into property," Jones told The Courier Mail (via Real Estate).

Jones and de Leon are enjoying each other's company and the life they built together. On the couple's anniversary in 2021, de Leon posted a wedding photo with the caption: "To this day, I still look at him like this." She continued, writing, "To love and be loved is truly everything."

Hayes has been a resident of Los Angeles since 2012

Darren Hayes first relocated to America in 1999 while he was still part of Savage Garden, according to the singer's official site. Until 2004, he lived in San Francisco. Later that same year, he relocated to the United Kingdom. There, he married his partner Richard Cullen in 2005. In 2006, once his civil partnership was officially recognized, he publically came out. "When Britain's civil partnership law was passed, I leapt at the chance to be involved because so many people had fought hard for us to have that basic right," Hayes told Pink News back in 2012. "Today I have British citizenship, I have a British passport, I have healthcare, I have all the things that come from marrying a British person, just like anyone else would."

Hayes continued touring and releasing albums during this time but, by 2012, he temporarily retired. He didn't feel the spark in the music industry any longer, and he wanted to support his screenwriter husband, so the pair moved to Los Angeles (via Attitude). At first, Hayes had trouble settling down into retired life in the states. "I was deeply depressed. I had plans to open up a comic book store, thought that's what I was going to do," he admitted to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Jones flips upscale homes in Las Vegas

In addition to Savage Garden royalties, Daniel Jones' other source of income is flipping houses with his wife. Jones and his wife formed the De Leon Jones Family Trust to purchase homes at a deflated cost and then flip them to earn a profit. Jones employs a small crew but does a lot of the work himself. "I'm pretty good on the tools and quite hands on," Jones told "I've always thoroughly enjoyed doing hard work."

But Jones and his wife don't flip modest family homes — they flip multi-million dollar properties. In 2016, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the couple had renovated a 10,000-square-foot, nine-bedroom, seven-bath home. They purchased the home in 2011 for $2.5 million and sold it for $4.4 million post-flip. Although the flip took five years, that's still an impressively large profit of $1.9 million! Large-scale flips like this are reportedly rare, indicating that Jones has found his real estate niche.

Hayes started an improv comedy career

After relocating to Los Angeles to support his husband, Darren Hayes was in a sort of funk. His husband encouraged him to find a new post-retirement interest to get him out of the house and suggested Hayes try improv. Hayes began quietly studying comedy with The Groundlings, a world-famous comedy theatre and school. No one knew Hayes, and he felt he was starting from scratch in a new world, but he flourished. "I ended up spending three years studying improv and I made all of my best friends that I have now," Hayes told The Sydney Morning Herald in 2022.

From that experience, new ideas were born. Hayes started crafting a musical and then started a podcast, "He Said He Said," with his Groundlings friend, Tim Stanton. The podcast was described as "a podcast about nothing by two diametrically opposed idiots" and covered everything from nerd culture to locker room talk, presented through the lenses of a gay man and a straight man. 

Jones makes the occasional musical appearance

You won't find Daniel Jones around the music world very often anymore. "I fell off the face of the Earth from music, it's not just Darren's music I haven't heard it's everyone's music," he told when asked if he kept up with Hayes' solo career. But if you do some deep digging, you'll see Jones does make the occasional contribution to the music scene.

Kevin D, a radio DJ and teacher, landed Jones for a 2021 interview in which Jones taught the process of copyright to artists and students. Jones explained to the audience how he and Hayes allow Savage Garden's music to be utilized for advertising. "We will refuse income possibilities sometimes because we won't want to be associated with a particular brand," said Jones.

Additionally, in 2019, Jones made an unexpected appearance playing a show at the Singapore Ritz-Carlton with Las Vegas-based musician Daniel Park. In an Instagram post, Park thanked Jones for pushing him to become a "better person and musician."

Hayes put on a grand performance at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade

Darren Hayes felt he had been pushed away from expressing his sexuality by homophobic music industry executives, but as attitudes of the world shifted and started to become more open to gay artists, he felt compelled to come back to it (via Attitude). In 2022, Hayes marked his journey back into the pop music world and released his first single "Let's Try Being in Love" in January, marking his first song release since 2011. Hayes also got to make a splash back on stage when he was asked to headline Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade.

"Tonight I'll be performing in front of over 40,000 people at the SCG for Mardi Gras. I am so lucky to have been given a quarter of a century of a career in music because of your love and support," Hays tweeted ahead of the event. Hayes wore a custom-designed bubblegum pink Sass & Bide suit, complete with cape, to boldly mark his return.

Hayes is a doting dog dad

Darren Hayes and his husband Richard Cullen do not have children, but they adore and dote over their fur kids. Australian Labradoodle Huxley is the apple of Hayes' eye and is frequently pictured on social media. In one adorable video, Huxley is protesting while Hayes sings the Four Tops hit "Can't Help My Self" with the caption, "My dog HATES IT when I sing." In the video he promised Huxley, "It's okay. I'll stop it. I'll quit music forever."

Before Hayes and Cullen brought Huxley into their lives, they had beloved fur baby "Wally," a cocker spaniel who passed away in 2018. "Wally punctured a hole in the universe when he left," Hayes posted. In early 2019, a friend gifted Hayes and Cullen a portrait in memory of Wally, featuring Hayes, Cullen, and Wally in an ice cream cone because he loved soft serve. "Our incredibly talented and wildly generous artist friend Torlin Torgersen painted this extraordinary tribute to our beautiful boy, Wally," said Hayes. "We are still trying to find adequate words to express not only how perfectly this immortalizes him, but also how good it feels to be on the receiving end of such a thoughtful and loving gesture."

Jones lives leads a private life with his family

These days, Daniel Jones is living a quieter life with his family. He has two children and a dog, and he is content living a life out of the spotlight. He told that he realized being a musician was not his "ideal dream" in the end. "The dream I'm dreaming now is another one I've dreamt but I'm happy and that is a family," he added. "Two beautiful daughters and a beautiful wife, everything's good."

Jones doesn't regret walking away from it all. He doesn't keep up with social media, and he's content with his path since the Savage Garden days. "Years later I can tell you I don't miss that lifestyle. The decision I made back then today is still the right decision," said Jones.

Although Jones shut down his Instagram, his wife still keeps the family fun well-documented on social media and it's easy to see that the de Leon-Jones clan is enjoying the good life. For now, they have no plans to relocate to Australia, but they have a fond affection for their homeland. "Kathleen and I were talking seriously about when we'd move back," Jones told in 2015. He continued, saying, "Our parents are there, our siblings are there. I miss Australia a lot."

Hayes is set to do a solo tour of Australia

As of this writing, Darren Hayes is gearing up for the 2023 "Do You Remember?" Australian tour which will feature his solo songs and Savage Garden songs. He's been promoting the tour and giving fans a chance to weigh in on special requests through social media. "Aussies! What are you looking forward to hearing live on my 'Do You Remember?' tour? Reply with ONE SONG you're dying to hear live so I can get an idea of what you're craving! Can be ANYTHING from the last 25 years Savage or Solo," Hayes tweeted.

Hayes' excitement for the return to touring is palpable. He's been away from touring since he walked off the stage in 2012. Hayes announced in a press release, "After 25 years in the music industry, I feel like we've grown up together. To sing these songs again, after all we've been through, is going to feel like a family reunion" (via NME).