Shane Warne speaks on ABC's 7.30 with Leigh Sales.
Shane Warne speaks on ABC's 7.30 with Leigh Sales.

Shane Warne’s brutally honest regret

AUSTRALIAN cricket icon Shane Warne has opened up on his life away from the pitch in one of the frankest interviews the "Spin King" has ever given.

In the second part of his sit-down interview with the ABC's Leigh Sales, Warne was an open book as he spoke about some of the biggest regrets throughout his career in the spotlight.

A life spent in front of the camera while both on and off the pitch, the leg spin legend has never been shy to speak his mind.

It's why throughout the turbulent 2018 for Australian Cricket, he has been as vocal as ever in his criticism of the state of the game.

He labelled the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa as embarrassing and un-Australian, but insisted the punishment was too harsh.

"I don't think the punishment fit the crime. Twelve-month ban for that. It equated to a $10 million fine. I thought they were very hard done by," Warne said.

"But having said that, we hated it and we didn't like it and they have to earn our respect back."

But in a stunning interview of self-reflection, the Australian icon turned the spotlight on himself and opened up on his biggest regret.

And it had nothing to do with teammate feuds or even the scandals that splashed across tabloid pages. It was instead letting down his kids.

Shane Warne ABC's 7:30 report
Shane Warne ABC's 7:30 report

"It's pretty hard to relive some things when you've let down your children and your family, embarrassed them at times," Warne said.

"To hurt my children who are the most important thing in my life was really tough.

"The effect I had on my family, on my children. The effect I had on my children was I let them down.

"I have to live with that for the rest of my life. My ex-wife and I - to have the breakdown of a family is hard on kids, but I'm proud of the kids they've become and I'm proud of the father I've become. They were probably the biggest regrets."

He says his three kids, Brooke, Summer and Jackson have forgiven him for past transgressions and the way through it all has been honesty, but the disappointment still lingers.

"Honesty with them and being honest with them about saying 'I'm sorry, I let you down, my mistake' and they were hurt by that.

"They've forgiven me and they understand me and they want me happy and they also have to accept who I am.

"There is no point them wanting me to be something I'm not. They accept me for who I am.

"Yes, I embarrass them and I think part of that is my job as a father to embarrass them, maybe not the way they - embarrass them in different ways, like wearing bad shorts to netball or something like that.

"I'm disappointed with that, but our relationship is great and I'm so happy for that."

Throughout his fabled career, Warne has always been at the forefront of media attention and that all came to a head when he was handed a one-year ban from international cricket.

The ban came prior to the World Cup after a positive test was returned to a banned substance and it's a moment Warne still struggles with.

"It was only a short time which was great, but when people thought I was a drug cheat," Warne said.

"I've never tried cocaine or any of that stuff. When people found out that I'd failed a drug test, they thought I'd taken drugs, but I'd taken a fat pill off my mum.

"The reason - I never blame my mum and it annoys people that people blame my mum. It wasn't fair.

"All I said was I got it from my mum, because otherwise people might have thought a diuretic, where did you get it from? The black market?

"I was just being honest and how simple a mistake it could be for anyone."


While admitting to only having two serious relationships in his lifetime, Warne has constantly been linked with several high-profile women.

Of course his most famous scandal came in 2006 when images of a threesome with New Zealand-born model Coralie Eichholtz and model Emma Kearney leaked.

"I've always struggled to deal with these tabloid stories," he wrote. "What sort of person hides a camera and then sells the pictures?

"I'm not a criminal … yes, I'm into women, which has cost me massively, time after time.

But it was his engagement to actor Liz Hurley that garnered worldwide media attention which the man himself described as the "happiest years of my life".

Liz and Shane in 2013.
Liz and Shane in 2013.

"We're still friends. I still love her. But there's a big difference between loving someone and being in love with them," Warne said on Perth's Paul & Lise for Breakfast radio show.

"Unfortunately it got a bit too difficult in the end, but she didn't do the wrong thing. I didn't do the wrong thing. It was just one of those things that unfortunately didn't quite happen."

Since the high-profile split, Warne has been living the single life while keeping himself busy with cricket commentary around the world. A life he says has its downfalls.

"It is lonely at times. Travelling the world commentating and doing sponsorship things and being away in hotel rooms, it is fun and it is great but it is lonely at times," he said.

"There is nothing better than a great relationship, that's what we all want. If you can't have a great relationship, I think single is the next best choice."

His past lapses with relationships have taught him a harsh lesson, one that keeps him from opening up when meeting new potential partners.

"Sometimes you don't meet people or don't allow people to get to know you because you're scared and worried they will sell a story or do whatever," Warne said.

"I've tried dating apps and those sorts of things. Most of the time when I've met someone for a drink or for dinner, it is always through a friend.

"They have said "I've got this lovely person, you two will get along great" and I'm a bit like, OK and "What happens if it is no good?"

"So I'm not sure about that either. It's tough too. I don't want more children. I have three great kids.

"They say it might happen when you're least expecting it. I'm happy being single but ideally I would love to be in a relationship that makes me happy."


Shane Warne on ABC's 7:30 report
Shane Warne on ABC's 7:30 report

He's one of the biggest names Australian cricket has ever produced and the closest thing we have to a rock star.

But while he admits it can be "great" to be recognised, he says his perfect night doesn't involve a few beers, it's as simple as chilling on the couch and being with his kids.

Always at the forefront of any cricket conversation, Warne's name has been in the national spotlight for more than 10 years and through that attention people have a picture of the man they believe him to be. But Warne says just because he's made mistakes, he's not what people think.

"Perception doesn't always equal reality. I'm not a human headline. I think people sometimes - not everyone - but the majority of people think they know me," Warne said.

"Most people, even if they don't like cricket, or whatever, they have an opinion about me,"

"Good, bad, whatever it might be even if they don't like me they still talk about me.

"They think you're a wanker. You know, they might think you're an idiot. They think you've got no idea. They think you're dumb. They think all those sorts of things.

"And just because you make a few mistakes, it doesn't mean you're all of those things. You know, you might make some silly choices and silly mistakes, but that doesn't mean you're an idiot.

Shane Warne says people have him all wrong.
Shane Warne says people have him all wrong.

"So I think, when I say I've got to live up to the legend, you know say a few of my mates we go out for a beer to just hang out or let out some steam, you're suddenly in a club and you think, everyone's going 'oh, Warnie, you legend'. Which is awesome right?

"It's great. But suddenly you can see them all looking over and 'you want a beer?' Let's do some shots'. And I go, 'oh yeah, c'mon let's do some'.

"So suddenly you feel like, even if you don't want to you sort of feel like you're public property and you don't want to let them down. So it's like 'okay, let's do it'.

"Suddenly you have four shots with this guy and you have three shots with this guy and you know 'you're a legend'. High five.

"Which is great. But I would much rather be at home on the couch with a couple of mates having a chat about sport or having a chat about anything. Or be with my kids watching a movie."