Chris Smith claims he ‘made arrangements’ to take his own life before his young daughter stepped in and stopped him after hearing how he behaved at Sky News’ Christmas party.
Smith hosted his first segment on an independent broadcaster TNT radio on Tuesday afternoon as he tries to restart his media career after being sacked from Sky News and 2GB following his humiliating behavior at the former’s Christmas party in December.
The 60-year-old was released by the two broadcasters after making offensive comments to a young female colleague about her holiday photos and pinched another on the bottom during the network’s end-of-year celebration in Sydney.
Kicking off his return to radio, he became candid about his suicidal thoughts and how he had long coped with the “untold heartbreak” of alcoholism.
Smith said he contemplated suicide and even “made arrangements” after hearing about the way he had treated the two women, but still said it “wasn’t the worst crime.”
Former Sky News anchor Chris Smith (above) told TNT Radio listeners he was ‘suicidal’ in the days after he drunkenly insulted two female colleagues at the company’s Christmas party
“When I was told what happened at that event the next day, I went into a deep dive, I was in shock,” he said.
‘My heart was broken. I knew immediately of the endless humiliating coverage that was to come. I knew immediately of the pain that would befall my family, my children, myself.
“I knew immediately of the pain, shame and loss I had just suffered and I became suicidal.
“That Sunday morning at about 10:30 am I was preparing to take my own life and without the intervention of my 19-year-old daughter I would not be here today.”
Smith said he was subject to “eight days of endless harsh media coverage,” which he previously claimed was worse than what wife killer Chris Dawson faced.
“Despite being rushed to a mental health unit, it was open season for me,” he said.
“No media attention to mental health in my case, maybe because my condition was self-induced.
“The vitriol, if I had read it, heard it, or seen it—and I didn’t—it would have lifted me over the edge.
“I think everyone in the media, myself included, should think about that the next time we tell a story about a human looking down to the bottom of the well.”
Smith said he grew up seeing the negative effects of alcohol and lived in a home where it was “used and abused.”
“It led to destruction and untold heartache, but that didn’t stop me from abusing alcohol,” he said.
“You could say, ‘Wait a minute, didn’t you see it yourself? You should have stayed away from it.’
“I should have done that, I didn’t. I’ve had a problem with it most of my adult life.”
He explained that his alcoholism didn’t make him an all-day drinker, but meant he would “binge” whenever he got the chance.
Smith said the bipolar medication he was on at the time of the Christmas party led to “blackouts” coupled with heavy drinking.
Smith (pictured, with wife Susie Burrell) said he fell into a deep depression after learning he made inappropriate comments about a female colleague’s vacation photos and touched another at the bottom
Smith said he was suffering from alcoholism at the time of the party, adding that he has offered his “personal apologies” to both of his former colleagues.
“At the Christmas party in Sydney late last year, I was determined to show up for the first time in five years and prove to myself that I could control this behavior,” he said.
But I crashed again, drank way too much, hit that black wall, squeezed a colleague’s buttocks, and commented to another woman how revealing her vacation photos were.
“I have reached out to both colleagues involved to personally apologize, but as a result I lost my television show, my 22-year job at the radio station, my Channel Nine contributor role and a huge sum of money.
“I’m not glossing over it, I’m not embellishing it, I’m just telling the truth. My inability to control the booze crash got to me again and I’m human.”
Smith said he would never have behaved the way he did at the party if he had been sober and closely scrutinized “the media” for villainizing him.
“I have no recollection of these events. That doesn’t excuse me, but it’s not what I do in a conscious sober state. Only heavy drinkers who listen would understand,” he said.
“Alcoholism, even this kind, is a disease. That’s a medical fact, but for some reason some commentators think they know better.
“To think that someone like me would be evil and deliberately do what I did… It’s not me and only those who know me well would understand what I’m saying.
‘I’m not bad. None of this was intentional. I suffer from a disease that I had no control over.’
Smith (above) said he is more than 70 days sober and vowed “the real me, the sober me, the fair me is worth supporting”
He ended the segment by saying that he was able to overcome his alcoholism while being checked into a private rehabilitation center “with the help of two psychiatrists, a wonderful psychologist and their staff.”
“It had to end and I had to get help to end it,” he said.
‘I started with the exorcism. I am 79 days sober today. I never thought that was possible.
‘Of course it didn’t go without blood, sweat and tears. The first 30 days were a nightmare.
“Only now have I hit rock bottom, I wish I had done it 20 years earlier.”
He then thanked his fans for sticking with him through his scandal and recovery and vowed to keep improving himself.
‘I am a human. I’ve made gross mistakes. I don’t think you can kick me much more,’ he said.
“But the real me, the sober me, the fair me is worth supporting and can be trusted. I’ll never disappoint you like that again.”
If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact the Alcohol and Drug Foundation helpline at 1300 858 584 or Lifeline on 13 11 14