Embattled construction union boss John Setka might be "indestructible" at work but has been told to change his ways at home after sending his wife a barrage of abusive messages.
Setka, 54, pleaded guilty in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday to harassment and breaching a court order.
The offences do not relate to his CFMMEU leadership, a position he refuses to relinquish despite repeated calls from across Australia.
Setka's sentence includes an order to be of good behaviour for a year and donate $1000 to an anti-family violence group which supports Aboriginal women.
Outside court, his wife Emma Walters outed herself as the victim.
"I have just identified myself. It is time for the charades to end," she told reporters.
"Persecuting John for our marriage breakdown after years of intense pressure does no one any good. He should just be let to go about his job and represent his members."
A message should be sent to men and women that change is possible with the help of institutions and good people, she added.
Setka called his wife 25 times and sent 45 text messages - of which 20 were images - last October 29.
She had "turned into a drunken moron" and was a "weak f***en piece of shit," one message read.
Another said: "You are a c*** just like the rest of your family".
He also sent a tirade of abusive messages over a series of days in December and early January.
There were images of Ms Walters with Setka with her face blacked out, Prosecutor Senior Constable Paul Brookes said.
Ms Walters made a complaint to police on Boxing Day.
Setka's lawyer Marcus Dempsey said his client lived in a "highly publicised and political world" and "needed to be seen as indestructible".
He also said Setka's professional and personal lives struggled to intersect.
"(He has) attributes that make him good at his role but do not necessarily make him good at being a father," Mr Dempsey added.
Magistrate Belinda Wallington said it was time for Setka to take responsibility for his actions.
He apologised to his wife outside.
"I've sent messages and used language that I am deeply embarrassed by and regret," he said.
"I take responsibility for that. I should have got help sooner. I screwed up and it's up to me fix it."
As for forgiving her husband, Ms Walters said her love ran deep.
"It took a while but when you love someone and respect someone as deeply as I love John you get there," she said.
The court matters come amid ongoing fighting among Labor and unions over Setka's position as state secretary of the powerful union.
There were calls for him to step down and be ejected from the party after reports he told colleagues anti-family violence campaigner Rosie Batty's advocacy had led to fewer rights for men.
Setka denies the comments.
"This is a federal government hell bent on destroying unions and the people who believe in and need them," he said.
"I won't let them destroy me, my family or the union movement."
The ACTU and more than a dozen individual unions, including the three biggest in the country, have called on Mr Setka to step aside.
The CFMMEU and other unions including the ETU stand by him.
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Australian Associated Press