Candice Warner was a ‘wreck’ after her disgraced husband’s emotional press conference yesterday but told her children she was crying because ‘the Easter Bunny isn’t coming’.
The model and professional ironwoman, 33, couldn’t face telling her little girls Ivy Mae, three, and Indi Rae, two, that she blamed herself for David Warner’s cheating against South Africa.
She said: ‘Coming home I walked into the room and I was in tears and our daughters were so upset. They were like “why you crying, Mummy?”
‘I had to make an excuse and I was like, “because you know I spoke to the Easter bunny and he’s not coming”,’ she told the Sunday Telegraph. ‘It’s really hard to explain to kids and they don’t understand.’
Mrs Warner yesterday accompanied her husband to a press conference in Sydney where he apologised for orchestrating a shameful plot to cheat by tampering with the ball against South Africa last Saturday.
She said she has been struggling to cope with abuse from South Africa fans who sang songs about her infamously having sex with New Zealand rugby legend Sonny Bill Williams in a pub toilet in 2007.
‘I’m really not well,’ she said without going into details. ‘It was important that I went to support my husband as I always do, but I’m in no way… I couldn’t have sat there on my own.’
Mrs Warner blamed herself for her husband’s cheating – saying he wanted to win at all costs to silence abuse from fans.
She said her husband has been ‘seriously struggling’ after a turbulent month which started with an ugly dressing room stoush with Quinton de Kock – allegedly over his wife’s fling with Williams – and ended with him sent back to Australia in disgrace and wondering if he’ll ever play again.
Mrs Warner said she hasn’t been ‘much of a support’ to Warner since the tour of South Africa because she’s constantly been in tears.
The ball-tampering incident took place during the Saturday afternoon session in Cape Town and was picked up by TV cameras.
A small, yellow object was seen in batsman Cameron Bancroft’s hands after he had worked on the ball, the opener later revealing it to be a piece of tape covered in dirt.
He was later captured taking it from his pocket and placing it down his trousers, a few moments after being spoken to by the substitute Peter Handscomb, who had come onto the field after speaking to coach Darren Lehmann via walkie-talkie.
Although the two on-field umpires, Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong of England, questioned Bancroft at the time, he produced what appeared to be a black sunglasses bag from his right pocket in way of explanation, in a bid to deceive the officials.
‘Once I was sighted on the big screens I panicked quite a lot and that resulted in me shoving it down my trousers,’ said Bancroft.
No action was taken at the time — the umpires could have changed the ball or docked Australia runs — but match officials, including referee Andy Pycroft of Zimbabwe, were able to review TV footage of the incident.
But after the day’s play, captain Steve Smith and Bancroft admitted the ball-tampering in a press conference.
Bancroft revealed: ‘We had a discussion during the (lunch) break and I saw an opportunity to use some tape, get some granules from the rough patches on the wickets and change the condition — it didn’t work, the umpires didn’t change the ball.’
‘We saw this game as such an important game. We’ve seen the ball reversing through this series and this ball didn’t seem like it was going to go. It’s such poor actions. Deeply regrettable.’
Smith and vice-captain David Warner were sacked from their positions before play on Sunday. They have been banned from cricket for year and Bancroft has been suspended for nine months.
South Africa fans wore masks featuring Williams’ face during the series in an attempt to humiliate Warner.
The masks also appeared as retaliation to Warner’s bust up with de Kock, in which Warner snapped and had to be restrained by his teammates Usman Khawaja and Nathan Lyon as he directed a verbal barrage in return.
Cricket South Africa was then forced to apologise after two officials posed for a photograph with fans wearing the masks.
Mrs Warner said her husband protected his family as much as he could during the tour, which also saw him locked in an angry exchange with a spectator.
Warner was verbally abused by the fan as he returned to the dressing rooms after being dismissed in the Third test.
The batsman then stopped in his tracks and responded to the man, who was taunting him, before a security guard ejected the fan from the ground.
The abuse led to former coach Darren Lehmann making a formal complaint and slamming Warner’s treatment by fans as a ‘disgrace’.
‘You’re talking about abuse of various players and their families and personal abuse, it’s not on at a cricket ground anywhere around the world, not just here, it shouldn’t happen,’ he said.
The next day, Warner hatched a plan to cheat that was given the all-clear by former captain Steve Smith and executed by Bancroft.
Mrs Warner said there were no excuses for her husband’s actions, but said the abuse they received in South Africa was on another level.
She said she had brought past incidents on herself, but the pair didn’t deserve the treatment they received.
Mrs Warner also dismissed reports that Warner has been ostracised by his teammates, insisting he always ‘goes to dinner with the boys’ when his family isn’t home.
On Saturday, Warner faced the media for the first time since being named and shamed in an internal report into the ball tampering scandal.
He hugged and kissed Mrs Warner before saying sorry for his part in it.
But he refused to directly answer questions about who was privy to the plot as it was conceived.
He later took to social media, saying he will ‘do his best in time’ to address all unanswered questions.
Warner became emotional when addressing his wife in his speech, saying her ‘love means more than anything’ to him.
He added: ‘I know I would not be anything without you. I’m very sorry for putting you through this and I promise I will never put you through this again.’
Warner’s $900,000 Cricket Australia contract, before hundreds of thousands in bonuses, has been suspended and his $2.4million Indian Premier League contract ripped up.
Personal sponsors LG, Asics and Nestle’s Milo have also severed ties.