‘The day I nearly jumped’: Rugby league legend Wally Lewis reveals how close he came to killing himself as he battled depression – and the bizarre way he was conceived
- Footy legend Wally Lewis had suicidal thoughts due to his ongoing seizures
- He believes the seizures were caused by blunt force trauma to the brain
- His autobiography shares how he was conceived out of wedlock in a truck
Rugby league legend Wally Lewis has shared how his battle with depression almost saw him take his own life.
It followed Lewis having brain surgery in 2007 to combat daily seizures he had kept a secret since 1980.
Only close friends Gene Miles, Paul Vautin, Wayne Bennett and Allan Langer knew of his condition and they were all sworn to secrecy.
Wally Lewis with his family, including actor Lincoln Lewis (left) and water polo star Jamie-Lee Lewis (also left)
Dubbed ‘the most popular man in Queensland’, Wally Lewis will always be viewed as a footy legend
‘I had suicidal thoughts (after brain surgery) and found myself crying uncontrollably, for no reason,’ Lewis wrote in his recently released autobiography My Life, according to the Courier Mail.
‘I needed someone with me at all times.’
Another time Lewis walked past the pontoon on the canal at the back of his house and considered jumping in.
Thankfully, his thoughts quickly turned to his wife and three children and the chilling moment passed.
Lewis links his dark mindset to repeated blunt force trauma to the brain, which stemmed from his footy playing days.
‘Even as a junior, he was a marked man, getting concussed all the time,’ his mother June Lewis said. ‘I used to watch him in his bed while he slept.’
Lewis also went on to reveal the bizarre way he was conceived – on the back of a flatbed truck one hot night in the Brisbane suburbs.
When researching final details for his book, the man affectionately known as ‘The King’ discovered his parents were in fact not married on July 25, 1958.
Wally Lewis (pictured right) has been married to his wife Jackie since 1984 and the couple have three children
Actor Lincoln Lewis (pictured left) with his sister Jamie-Lee Lewis
‘They actually were married exactly one year later (25/7/59),’ Lewis said.
‘That’s four months and one week before yours truly was born… so Mum walked down the aisle at St Paul’s Anglican Church in Vulture Street (in the Brisbane CBD) with a bun in the oven!’
Lewis burst onto the scene as a teenager with Valley in 1978, quickly establishing himself as one of the premier players in the Queensland Rugby League competition before defecting to Wynnum Manly in 1984.
When the Brisbane Broncos were invited to participate in the Australian Rugby League (ARL) competition in 1988, he was the team’s pin-up boy.
He finished his club career with the Gold Coast Seagulls a few years later.
After retiring in 1992, Lewis made a successful transition into the media as a commentator.
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Wally Lewis: A rugby league icon
Born: 1 December 1959
Nickname: The King
Playing career (1978-1992): Brisbane Valleys, Wakefield Trinity, Wynumm Manly, Brisbane Broncos, Gold Coast Seagulls
State of Origin: (with Queensland) 31 appearances between 1980-1991
Kangaroos caps: 34 appearances between 1981-1991
Named an Immortal: 1999