Cross-code champion Sonny Bill Williams has opened up on the party lifestyle he had previously kept largely a secret in his new book, Sonny Bill Williams: You can’t stop the sun from shining.
The autobiography is out on October 13, but the Sydney Morning Herald printed small excerpts in which the New Zealand great details one incident in particular when a doctor got angry over how many drugs were in Williams’ blood.
“One time I went on a bender that lasted from Friday night to Monday morning,” Williams writes.
“The only reason I came home is I knew I had a surgery appointment at 11am.
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“I don’t remember anything about the operations except waking up having my girlfriend crying next to the bed and the doc really gave it to me, telling me I had so many drugs in my system I could have died.”
Williams says he turned to a life of partying in an effort to hide a shy insecure young man.
He says he struggled to adjust to life as a public figure when he shot to fame in the NRL.
“How is a shy boy supposed to cope with that? That’s not in the script either. And I had no one to guide me,” he says.
“So I found my own ways to deal with it. By having a smoke before I went out or a couple of sleeping tablets to relax me. I was trying to take the fear away.”
Williams won the NRL premiership with Canterbury in 2004, but four years later left the Bulldogs in a move that sent shockwaves through rugby league.
Williams has now revealed the deep anger he had towards the Belmore club that had festered for a long time before he quit.
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He says the club struggled to accept his decision to become a Muslim.
“I turned up to training one day and the coach said to me, ‘you aren’t turning Muslim are you?’,” Williams writes.
“I tried to laugh it off, but then the comments were made about my friends.
“No one had paid attention to my private life before then. No one cared.
“When I was drinking or partying hard, as long as I was always doing what they needed on the field, and it didn’t make the press. And even then, it was all about damage control, not about my wellbeing.
“Suddenly, my private life was concerning because of my religion.”
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