Anthony Mundine has been reduced to tears in an exclusive interview with the Daily Telegraph as he finally explained the family history that first sparked his angry outbursts.
Speaking in a joint interview with his mum, the controversial boxer attempted to explain some of his past comments, while revealing the trauma both his mother and grandmother went through as part of the Stolen Generation.
The 43-year-old sportsman previously sparked shock on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here when he said on camera: “If you’re going to be gay, do it behind closed doors.” He followed that statement up more recently with a nasty rant to the Daily Telegraph implying homosexuals should face the death penalty.
Now, speaking in the tell-all chat, in which it’s claimed he was seen in tears, Mundine has admitted some of his past remarks have harmed his reputation, after citing his faith – he converted to Islam in the 1990s – and his Aboriginal heritage for some of his anger at the time.
“I honestly don’t care if anyone’s gay,” he told the news outlet. “I’m not judge and jury. That’s for the creator. Whether I believe it’s right or wrong, I have to accept it. It’s law.”
He described his mother Lyn as his biggest role model and inspiration, explaining her strength – despite suffering a difficult background – has kept him going.
Mundine first found out about his family history when his mum told him about his grandmother. Sharing her own memories, Lyn said she once walked in on her mother crying because she didn’t know her own identity anymore.
Lyn admitted it’s that heartbreaking history that has prompted Mundine to now say what he thinks.
“It still upsets us that a generation was ripped from us, and knowing mum died with no identity,” she told the news outlet. “It was when I told Anthony about his grandmother he became interested in the indigenous history. And I’m really proud of that. It’s definitely one of the reasons he has been so outspoken.”
His remarks on I’m a Celebrity were far from the first time Mundine has attracted attention for things he has said, rather than his performance in the ring.
To choose just a few, in the past he’s defended the 9/11 terrorist attack in the US, criticised Aboriginal boxer Daniel Geale for having a “white woman, white kids”, and called for Australia Day to be a day of mourning for the Stolen Generation.
Mundine’s also claimed that he never received recognition in Australia for his sporting achievements due to racism.