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Aaron Smith reflects on 2016 toilet tryst saga and how it's helped him become a better person - 'I hurt a lot of people'

All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith has lifted the lid on his infamous toilet tryst in 2016, revealing the unhealthy mentality and habits he's since had to overcome to become a person he can be "proud" of.

Aaron Smith scores against Ireland in RWC 2019 quarter-final. Source: Photosport

Smith spoke candidly on the Rugby Bricks podcast about a wide range of topics including the All Blacks' recent failed World Cup campaign, playing as a halfback and the personal challenges he had to face in 2016.

"Through that whole period leading up to 2016, I fell into a real ugly circle of ... drinking a lot, loving being an All Black, loving being in the spotlight, loving attention and it just was ugly," he said.

"I had four years there, then I won a World Cup and I thought I was the man and then my whole world got flipped because of something I did."

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Dr Geoff Dickson says the ABs halfback is usually applauded for his risk-taking – and that the toilet tryst was just another risky situation. Source: Breakfast

Smith made headlines when he was sent back from South Africa by All Blacks management after he had been seen entering a disabled toilet with a woman at Christchurch airport while the team waited to board their flight.

While Smith didn't detail what actually happened at Christchurch airport - an incident he referred to as his "speed bump" multiple times on the podcast - the halfback did go in depth about the fallout of his actions and what it did to his family, including his girlfriend Teagan Voykovich.

"It was hard, very tough ... but I had to take a really good look in the mirror around who I was portraying and who I was being, and it wasn't someone who I was proud of," Smith said.

"I hurt a lot of people, you know, and I hurt people dear to me.

"A lot of embarrassment came from that for me and my family," Smith said.

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Mr Smith fought back tears as he faced media in Durban over his airport tryst. Source: 1 NEWS

Smith said he quickly realised after the incident he had two choices - run away or face up and get help. He chose option number two.

"It wasn't an instant thing. It took a couple of years to really sort out my issues ... I'm still working on myself but a lot's come from it which is great," he said.

Smith credited both the All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby for giving him "the best help in the country" as he went on his journey but also said he "wouldn't be here without Teagan and my family".

He has since gotten engaged to Voykovich and the couple welcomed their baby boy Luka in August. Luka even travelled to Japan to watch Smith live and was in the stands when his dad shone for the All Blacks against Ireland in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final.

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Smith said he just wanted to put in a performance that'd make Luka proud. Source: 1 NEWS

"It is amazing to be sitting here to be proud of who I am now.

"It sounds like it was easy and three years ago but it was hard."

Smith said the highs and lows of the last three years helped him put things in perspective when the All Blacks were knocked out in Japan last month.

"We didn't win a World Cup but I'm still a professional rugby player, I'm still living life, I've got a beautiful house, a beautiful family, a beautiful son, a beautiful fiance, I have nothing to complain about.