Sonny Bill Williams has reflected on his transformation from party animal to devout Muslim and family man as his infamous ‘toilet trip’ with Candice Warner is relived 15 years ago.
The sporting superstar celebrated a victory with his Canterbury Bulldogs teammates in 2007 when he and the then-ironwoman were apprehended together in a men’s room at Sydney’s Clovelly Hotel.
A café visitor took a photo and leaked it to the media.
Now the scandal is back in the headlines, as Warner spoke out about the fallout she suffered, leading her to the brink of suicide while promoting her new autobiography.
Williams quickly moved on from the scandal after converting to Islam in 2009 and marrying his wife Alana two years later.
But Ramadan prompted him to think about his wild past last week on his way home one early morning.
Sonny Bill Williams abandoned his partying lifestyle to become a devout Muslim and family man
Williams had just spent the pre-dawn hours in the mosque reading the Quaram and praying with his “brothers.”
‘I used to leave the nightclubs after sunrise, now I leave the musjid after fajr prayer. Wallah what a way to start the day, life is truly a blessing,” he tweeted.
He then reflected on his past in a follow-up video.
“What a feeling that was,” he said.
“It got me thinking about the time I’d leave the city and the nightclubs after sunrise, and it wasn’t a nice feeling.”
‘I used to leave the nightclubs after sunrise, now I leave the musjid after fajr prayer.
Williams also recalled a fleeting encounter with a fellow Muslim on his way home.
“Driving home, I stopped at the traffic light and heard the Quran playing in the car next to me, so I rolled down my window.”
“He didn’t speak English, didn’t know who I was, but we just looked at each other and nodded.”
‘He touched my heart. That is true brotherhood.’
Williams also revealed how he and his wife spent the past month reading the Quran before Ramadan ends on Friday.
The couple has four children.
Sonny Bill Williams is pictured with his family
“We both challenged each other to finish reading the Quran during the month, and although she beat me — just,” he said.
“I can’t remember feeling more satisfied in a long time. It is special to know that you and your partner are on the same path/goal. Blessings to you and yours, my friends.’
Williams previously revealed that his life spiraled out of control at the time of his “humiliating” toilet visit with Warner.
He was in a relationship with another woman at the time, while Warner was single.
“There was an incident in a nightclub in 2007 when I was messing around with a woman in a toilet cubicle,” he said.
“Both she and I will have to live with that mistake for the rest of our lives. It made headlines in much of the world,” Williams wrote in his 2021 autobiography “You Can’t Stop The Sun From Shining.”
“It was embarrassing, and not just for myself. There is of course the woman involved, although she was a single adult woman and so it was really nobody else’s business what she did.
“But I had a friend back home who was publicly humiliated and suffered the pain of being cheated on. She certainly didn’t deserve to be at the center of a media frenzy.”
Sonny Bills Williams playing with the Canterbury Bulldogs at the time of his toilet visit with Candice Warner in 2007
Williams also began a three-day drinking bender that began Friday night and continued through Monday morning.
“The only reason I came home is because I knew I had an 11 a.m. surgery appointment,” he wrote.
“I don’t remember anything about the surgeries, except I woke up with my girlfriend crying beside the bed, and the doctor actually passed it on to me and told me I had so much medicine in my body that I could have died.”
In an interview on Sunrise on Wednesday while doing publicity rounds for her memoir, Warner was asked by host Natalie Barr if she had “thought of coming out right away” when the scandal erupted.
Warner said the media attention and subsequent apology she had to issue was due to women not having a “voice” at the time.
The toilet appointment has haunted both her and her husband, cricketer David Warner was particularly mocked over the incident during Australia’s 2018 South Africa cricket tour.
Candice Warner, former ironwoman and wife of David Warner (pictured), has been forced to relive the scandal this week while promoting her autobiography
“We lived in a society where we didn’t have the voice, women didn’t have the voice that we have now.”
“This was 16 years ago,” Warner said.
“I had to apologize, I was single, because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That just wouldn’t happen nowadays…
“Our society has changed, there is still a long way to go, but I feel like a woman, I have the confidence to be able to tell my side of the story and be heard.”
She said she wrote her memoir, Running Strong, in part for her three daughters “who in time will be able to read the book.”
“I wanted them to better understand my story without outside interference or judgment.”
Warner insisted she not have sex during her infamous “toilet visit” with the footy star.
‘We kissed. We kissed in that booth and who knows what could have happened? Maybe things happened, I don’t know, and I’ll never know,” she told The Project.
The 38-year-old says she regrets not stopping the photographer and deleting the photo.
“What I do know is that I probably could have stopped the spread of that photo,” she said.
“I should have just picked up that phone and erased it. I shouldn’t have gone to the men’s room, but I can’t change that.’
When asked if she’s second-guessing her decision not to intervene, Candice replied, “I still do.” But I can’t change that.’
“It’s really real to me. It’s the pain I’ve inflicted on my family. It’s the ache and pain, it was so deep.’
She also talked about how she was about to end her life after the scandal.
“I was so close to ending it,” she told this week’s issue of Stellar Magazine, breaking it down in tears.
“The only thing I did wrong was go to a place I shouldn’t have been. That was it. Still, it ruined my life. It ruined parts of my family’s life – years we can never get back’
Warner went on to say she dreads explaining the arrangement to her young daughters when they are old enough.
“It’s so hard to put into words without breaking into tears because it was so painful. It still is,” she said.
“One day I’ll have to explain to my girls what it’s all about. That’s heartbreaking.”
Candice shares daughters Ivy Mae, eight, Indi Rae, seven, and Isla Rose, three, with Australian cricketer David Warner, 36.
The Ironwoman said she lost her job and “no one respected her” after it was made public.
“I still carry that scar and that pain. My family had to be humiliated… it changed their lives,” she said.
The shocking incident, in which she was photographed in a compromising position with Sonny by a spy, caused a huge media frenzy.