As he enters the final stages of SAS Australia, the nation's toughest reality show, former NRL star Darius Boyd tells Woman's Day one of the more difficult aspects to come from the experience is watching himself be vulnerable about his past on screen.
"It's never easy talking about it all, but I knew going in that was going to be part of it," the 34-year-old says about seeing himself open up on the mentally challenging series.
"But I think it's part of the process, talking about your challenges and how you can overcome them. It's the way to be – open and honest."
During his recent interrogation on the show, the former Brisbane Broncos and Newcastle Knights player revealed the extent of his tumultuous childhood – he never knew his father and was estranged from his mother when he was just eight.
He also admitted that his personal struggles playing professional football led to him cheating on his wife Kayla before entering a mental health facility in 2014.
But Darius says he's come so far with his "tight-knit" family – which includes Kayla and their three daughters, Willow, five, Romi, two, and 12-month-old Gia – and is only looking to the future.
"We've had a lot of challenges, but we're in a really good space now. We've grown so much.
"We're still not perfect – but no one is – and some of the things we've gone through have put us in good stead for where we are today," he says.
Learning to accept the imperfections also means letting go of his past, which includes healing his relationship with his mother – "We see each other as much as we can. It's nice having her back in my life that's for sure," says Darius – to learning to accept that he may never know the identity of his father.
"I've had a few people reach out, saying that they could be [my dad] and I've done a few DNA tests but nothing came from that," he says.
"I've gone without a father for this long now and you just find other father figures to look up to and fill that void – and I've been lucky enough to find them."
WATCH: Inside SAS Australia 2022. Story continues after video.
Now, Darius spends his days living the quiet life with his family in Brisbane with their only taste of showbusiness being when they sit down to watch SAS as a family – purely for his eldest child Willow's enjoyment if no one else's.
"She's been keen to watch every episode. I think she's pretty proud," he says.
"And with her, it doesn't really matter if I fail a task – she just wants me to complete it and never give up. That was one of the things she said to me before going in."
And regardless of passing the course this week, making his daughters proud and ensuring they live a happy life is priority number one.
"Fatherhood reinforced some of the things I learned from the mental health facility about your support network and family and connection and trust," says Darius.
"I just want to make sure that our girls have a really loving family and understand mental health and challenges.
"Hopefully we can pass that on and they have a really positive mindset as they grow up.
"I'll do anything to make sure they're happy and enjoying their best lives."
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