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'I'm still with Nicky': Garry Lyon opens up about his private life in tell-all interview.

After almost a year out of the spotlight, Garry Lyon has returned to work with an apology to all those wounded by his affair with Nicky Brownless, the ex-wife of his once best friend Billy Brownless.

The AFL legend has been on hiatus from the media to sort out his mental health issues, which became public knowledge along with the affair early in 2016.

Lyon, 49, who returned to a hosting gig on SEN‘s breakfast show yesterday, said he was “deeply regretful” for the hurt he had caused.

“There’s obviously been a lot of pain for people that I’ve been close to over a period of time, in particular my ex-wife Melissa,” he told Mike Sheahan in a 40-minute pre-recorded interview aired on SEN this morning.

“And my family, my boys, and by extension a larger group of people and then Bill, and his family.

“It’s important publicly that I apologise for the hurt and pain that they’ve been through.

Lyon admitted he had been through some “seriously dark times”, including a period at the end of 2015 where he was so depressed he struggled to leave the house.

Billy Brownless, James Brayshaw and Garry Lion in happier times. Image: Getty
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"I got myself into a hole. I couldn’t get off the couch. I didn’t want to face the day,” he said.

“Everyday I didn’t, it got harder to do. There were things that needed to happen and I couldn’t do them.

“Everyone wants to be a hero to their kids, and they’ve only seen me in a light of ... doing what I do in the media ... So I try and shield them from (my) emotions because you don’t want to worry about how they’re feeling."

With professional and the support of his friends, family and Nicky, with whom he is still in a relationship, the former host of The Footy Show managed to get his head back in check.

“I’m still in a relationship with Nicky,” Lyon said. “I’m eternally grateful she was able to support me through all of this.”

He described the experience as "humbling" and said he was "eternally grateful" for his now-partner's help, but still had a long way to go.

At one point Sheahan accused the ex-Melbourne player of "studiously avoiding" the topic of his home life, but Lyon said had “accepted the fascination” with it, he just found it difficult to talk about.

"I was separated back in 2014, it’s hard enough to deal with separation, hard enough to deal with privately let alone publicly when you throw in a new relationship that lots of people frown upon, a person who was once married to a friend," he said.

He also said he apologised to Brownless via text message before news of the relationship broke, but never received a response.

Mia Freedman, Holly Wainwright and Monique Bowley discuss the ramifications of public affairs on Mamamia Outloud (post continues after audio):

Despite returning to work, Lyon admitted he still has a long way to go with his mental health.

“You don’t just get over depression, like, ‘I’m fixed, I’m better’. The only thing I do know is you monitor it closely and have some procedures in place to shortcut where you have been," he said.

Work-life will be the focus for the sporting star who won’t be returning to The Footy Show this year.

He will, however, be hosting Channel Nine's other program Footy Classified on Monday nights, on top of his radio commitments.

You can listen to the interview in full on the SEN website.

If you need help or are struggling with a mental health illness call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or visit www.beyondblue.org.au, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.