NRL great Darius Boyd admitted he cheated on his now-wife during an emotional confession about his demons on SAS Australia.
Former NRL star Darius Boyd has revealed he was “unfaithful” to his now-wife as he opened up on SAS Australia about his mental health struggles.
The 34-year-old was a Queensland Origin mainstay, playing 28 times for the Maroons across a career that spanned 15 years and 337 first grade games.
But while things often fell the fullback’s way on the field, off the field it was a different story.
A difficult upbringing meant Boyd didn’t have many male role models to look up to and when he entered professional footy as a teenager, he admitted he was “a bit angry” and “a bit resentful”.
“I never met my father. And my mum and I got estranged when I was probably 15, 16 – for eight years,” Boyd said on SAS.
“My mum was diagnosed with major depression, so I moved in with a family for 12 months, which was a challenge. I didn’t speak to my mum for eight years. I was very angry and closed off and probably resented her. I didn’t understand mental health, depression, didn’t understand why my mum couldn’t be there anymore.
“It was hard on me, it was hard on her too.”
Boyd opened up on hitting rock bottom when he was playing at Newcastle, having followed veteran coach Wayne Bennett there from St George, after he had earlier followed his mentor to the Dragons from Brisbane.
It was during this period Boyd admitted to cheating on now-wife Kayla, with whom he has three children. The couple split up before later reconciling.
“I struggled with my mental health. Seven or eight years ago, my whole life just fell apart, fell to s**t, to be honest — 2014 at the Newcastle Knights was definitely a tough year,” Boyd said.
“I definitely don’t feel great about that period of my life. There’s a lot of things I would change and do differently. I was just hurting people, letting people down.
“Whether that’s, you know, my mum, my grandmother, my wife, Kayla. I was unfaithful, and yeah, she made a good decision to leave. But yeah, it’s something that I’m not proud of, that needed to happen, too, for us to be where we are today.
“I went home one day, I had nothing. No wife that’s sitting there, no family, no friends. You look at old photos, you see this happy, smiling kid who used to play footy and then got to about 27 and there’s not much to show.
“I thought I needed a change, needed to be better. Wanted to grow. That rock bottom moment, I just rang my football manager and just told him I needed some help. I didn’t know what kind of help I needed but I didn’t want to feel the way I felt.
“He put me onto a nurse at a mental health facility. I remember just hanging the phone up and crying. Just instant relief that I knew I’d organized something hopefully better myself, and live a better, healthier life.
“Rebuilding relationships was a challenge. It took time. But definitely in a really good space now (after) some of the hardships we’ve gone through. I’m really happy to be in this space and be able to bring our daughters into a really loving environment.”
After leaving the Knights at the end of 2014, Boyd moved back to the Broncos to finish his career where he started, retiring at the end of the 2020 season.
Originally published as ‘I was unfaithful’: Darius Boyd admits to cheating on his partner on national TV