Former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke has told 60 Minutes he felt like a prisoner in his own house during his much-publicised split from Lara Worthington, but denies ever throwing that diamond ring down the toilet.
Clarke’s wife Kyly sat by his side as he detailed the extreme media scrutiny surrounding his relationship with model Worthington (nee Bingle), and how it forced him to hide in a friend’s car boot.
“That was heavy. That wasn’t my dream,” he said.
For the first time, the batsman also addressed the infamous incident that led to a plumber allegedly being called to fish a $200,000 diamond engagement out of a Bondi toilet, calling the story “bullsh*t”.
Clarke became emotional when discussing his late teammate Phil Hughes, who died when he was struck by a cricket ball in 2014.
He also admitted he didn’t think the Australian team “liked” him as their captain, but he thought they respected him.
“I’d love both, but I only care about one,” he said.
The infamous break-up
Clarke and Worthington dated for a year before becoming engaged in 2008, but in 2010, Clarke suddenly departed the Australian cricket tour for “personal reasons”.
The ensuing media circus, including the revelation that the pair had split up, was described by Clarke as suffocating.
The cricketer said it reached a stage when he felt the need to climb into his friend’s car boot to sneak past waiting paparazzi.
But as for the ring story, Clarke was resolute.
On losing Phillip Hughes
Clarke described Phillip Hughes as his “little brother”, and served as a pall bearer at the 25-year-old’s funeral.
Wife Kyly said Clarke had “never been the same” after the on-field death of his friend.
‘I haven’t done anything wrong’
When asked if he wanted to apologise for his younger self, Clarke said no.
“I just did it my way,” he said.
Clarke said he hated “not knowing why people hated [him]”, but theorised it was partly to do with his diamond earring and choice to drive a Ferrari rather than a Holden ute.
He admitted to letting the negative press affect him.
“The negative stuff I would read, it was like I was reading it in bold letters … y
Clarke also admitted he had not been a good vice-captain to Ricky Ponting.
“I think he felt I let him down,” he said, while claiming he had never desired the top job.
“I couldn’t care less about captaining Australia.
“It made no difference. I had my own goals.”