Former Newcastle Knights captain Andrew Johns says he considered taking his own life during an illicit drug scandal in London and Australia.
The champion former half-back, celebrated as one of rugby league's greatest ever players, was arrested for possession of an ecstasy tablet outside a London tube station on August 26 and spent five hours locked up, where he admits he was "on the verge" of suicide.
Drunk and high from a binge session, Johns reveals in his autobiography, The Two of Me, that he considered taking his life while behind bars and at home a few days later as the Australian media descended following the revelation of his UK arrest.
"I was on my own, pacing the house, going up and down the stairs, looking out the curtains, a prisoner in my own home with journalists and TV cameras parked on the footpath outside," he said.
"That's when I became close to being suicidal. I consciously thought of taking my own life."
Johns said the revelation was not designed to get sympathy or make the media feel guilty.
"It's not easy admitting a tough, big-shot footballer was on the verge of suicide because he'd got some bad headlines," he said.
"I'm sure glad something stopped me taking that way out of my dilemma that day."
Johns, who was forced to retire with a neck injury earlier this year, believes his use of illicit substances traces back to problems with alcohol and a battle with bipolar disorder which was diagnosed in 2004.
The 21-Test number seven said he had planned to tell all in his autobiography, even prior to his drugs arrest and nationally televised confession soon after his London arrest.
"I've carried the guilt for years that the perception of my life has been such a lie," he wrote.
"To be brutally honest - I hated 'Joey' Johns. I hated the superstar-type figure I was perceived to be and I hated as much the person I really was.
"Now, I am finally comfortable with who I am as a person."
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