Candice Warner has opened up on hitting rock bottom after her toilet tryst with Sonny Bill Williams, revealing she needed to hit breaking point before turning her life around.
She also believes her experience helped her counsel her husband, Australian cricket star David Warner, when he was banned for 12 months after the ball tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018.
Warner’s fling with footy star Williams in 2007, when the pair were photographed together by a member of the public in the bathroom of Sydney’s Clovelly Hotel, has been a hot topic of late, regularly brought up during the her time on Channel 7 reality show SAS Australia.
Warner has been forced to revisit that ordeal multiple times during the show, unable to escape the biggest regret of her life.
Speaking to Lawrence Mooney on Triple M Sydney’s Moonman in the Morning, Warner said she had developed the right coping mechanisms during her own trauma to deal with the fallout from the sandpaper controversy.
“I knew that if I could through what I got through at such a young age, I could definitely get through this,” Warner said.
“What he (David) was doing was similar to what I was doing so I knew I needed to snap him out of it.
“His career wasn’t over — he just needed to remember that and know that after that year, he needs to be ready.
“If he got that opportunity to play for Australia, he needs to be ready so I needed to make sure that he wasn’t down in the dumps, he wasn’t depressed.
“He just go himself so physically ready so that when that opportunity came he was going to strike and score runs for his country again and that’s what he did.”
Speaking about the personal impact of the hook-up with Williams, Warner said she was driven to take her own life.
“Most definitely,” she told Mooney when asked if suicide crossed her mind. “I had enough.
“I remember just driving and driving around and not knowing where I was going in life. It got so bad.
“I was at that point and I remember calling my brother and he came and helped me.”
The “wholesale sl*t shaming” also took a heavy toll.
“I saw the pain I had caused my family — I’m very close to my family. It was relentless in so many ways,” Warner said. “I was the worst person, I was disgusting. I was every name.
“I couldn’t cop it anymore. No matter what I did, I was always shamed.”
Warner was a professional Ironwoman when her liaison with Williams made headlines, but hadn’t reached her potential. She said her drunken mistake was the catalyst she needed to “turn my life around”.
She moved from Sydney to Western Australia and took her career to the next level, determined not to let the haters win.
“I needed to get to that point to realise I need to do something different with my life,” Warner said. “That’s when I decided that I wanted to become a serious athlete.
“Even though I was professional, I fell by the wayside for a bit and I just had to move out of Sydney, so I went to Western Australia.
“I needed to give my parents and my family some space. I needed to just get away from everything.
“At the point, I needed to get there … in order to change my whole life around.”
Living in Sydney’s eastern suburbs at the time of the scandal with Williams, Warner admitted she did everything to try and avoid being seen — but it was impossible for her family to escape the saga.
Everyone was constantly asking her parents about her and she knew the constant scrutiny was taking a toll on those she loved most as they struggled to live their normal lives.
“I was living with my parents and there was just no escape,” Warner told Mooney. “I’m so close to my family … and I let them down, I could see their pain.”