Cameron Smith says his initial reaction to rumours he was having an affair with Fox Sports presenter Yvonne Sampson was to start laughing, but he admits they left his wife, Barb, shattered.
The NRL legend has just released his autobiography, writing about some of the biggest moments and controversies of his career.
From Alex McKinnon's spinal injury and the fallout after, to his relationship with coach Craig Bellamy, to the diamond ring drama in his 400th game and his bizarre feud with Cooper Cronk, Smith's story has been spotted with headline-grabbing moments.
The book even touches on the reason he has struggled for so much of the season with a retirement decision.
"The thing that gets me is that Billy (Slater), Gal and JT all said they knew the exact moment when they could not do it any more and enough was enough. I have not woken up and thought, "Nup, I just can't do it," he wrote.
But he couldn't be clearer on the social media rumours that rocked his family in a series of excerpts published by The Courier Mail on Friday night.
Before the 2018 season, Smith was told about rumours he was having an affair with Sampson, an allegation all parties have denied.
After being told of the harmful gossip by his manager Isaac Moses, Smith "was so taken aback he started laughing" before his attention turned to the welfare of his wife Barb and Sampson.
"Honestly, if I was going to have an affair – which I never would – why would I do it with someone with a profile as big as hers? And in my own sport?" the excerpt reads.
"It was just cruel … rumours that were completely untrue. When I told Barb she was shattered. It floored her.
"I could handle it but I was concerned for her and Yvonne, who had been around our game for a long time and we all know how well-respected she is.
"She was just about to get married and it was just so sad. The first time I did an interview with her after it I felt for her."
Sampson married Channel 9 reporter Chris O'Keefe in October 2018.
Sampson and Barb Smith even reportedly traded text messages to check on each other's welfare and Sampson even floated the possibility of slamming the rumours on an episode of Fox Sports' League Life in 2018 but Smith chose to let it pass.