Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stands next to Barnaby Joyce
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stands next to Barnaby Joyce, Australia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, during an official signing ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia March 24, 2017. Reuters/David Gray

Barnaby Joyce contemplated suicide after his extramarital affair was exposed, his marriage ended, and his political career was destroyed. Australia’s former deputy prime minister has opened up about his recent life struggles in his new book, “Weatherboard and Iron: Politics, the Bush and Me.”

Joyce, who was the leader of the National Party before his personal scandal broke out in the media, said he became so depressed from knowing he had hurt so many people that he said he “wanted to go without anybody knowing.” According to excerpts of the book obtained by Fairfax Media, the 51-year-old said he felt he was living a lie. Before beginning a relationship with his staffer, Vikki Campion, Joyce had pursued women for years in Canberra.

He said he ignored advice from Natalie, his estranged wife of 24 years with whom he shared four daughters together, that he needed to seek professional help because their marriage was in trouble. He instead sought refuge in alcohol and revelling in bars.

“Winston Churchill had his black dog; mine was a half-crazed cattle dog, biting everything that came near the yard,” he wrote. “But the downside comes as well, when you get sad in the afternoon because it’s the afternoon and there are not enough clouds in the sky…

“When you stop thinking about how sad it will be when you have gone to thinking I have hurt so many that I want to go without anybody knowing.”

On many sleepless nights, he found solace by praying at a “special” rock he found on Red Hill. Joyce told Fairfax Media that he eventually sought help from a psychiatrist, who said he was suffering from depression. He was advised to get structure into his life if he did not want to slide further “into the darkness.”

‘Grey area’

When Campion’s pregnancy was revealed to the public, Joyce was asked by journalists if he was the child’s father. He replied that it was a “grey area.” It was a bizarre statement, but he later admitted that the baby, who was born in April and named Sebastian, was his son.

In his autobiography, he has explained the reasoning behind his strange answers. He said this “terrible mistake” was down to “perverse logic,” saying he thought he was putting off the media by not giving any details.

“Somehow, I thought that creating doubt by not having all the details might switch this frenzy off,” he wrote. “You are not logical when under intense pressure for weeks.”

Joyce said he ultimately found structure in life with the growth in his relationship with Campion and the birth of their son. He dedicated the book to his “beloved daughters and son.”