Flashbacks and solitary confinement: What we learnt from Schapelle Corby's first interview.


Schapelle Corby’s been doing the media rounds two years after arriving back in Australia after being released from a Bali prison. 

In 2005, she was arrested and convicted of smuggling cannabis into Indonesia inside a boogie board bag, and sentenced to 20 years behind bars. She was released on parole in 2014 after being granted clemency and was deported home in May 2017.

Now, in an effort to promote her updated book My Story, Corby has given a series of interviews revealing intimate details about her time in prison.

Watch Schapelle Corby on Studio 10. Post continues after video.

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Her biggest struggle behind bars she told the Studio 10 panel this morning, was her mental health.

“I lived in my brain, the brain is very powerful. I could not control anything. I couldn’t eat,” she said.

There were times when her sister Mercedes had to come in and sleep with Corby in prison. “I was catatonic,” she said. “I wouldn’t be here without [my sister],” she added.

To this day, the now-42-year-old said she gets “flashes” of her time in prison. “I can’t even count how many times a day it happens,” she explained.

As the segment started this morning, Corby was in tears after watching footage from her past.


“It’s really hard,” she told the rest of the panelists. “It’s hard to watch.”

Judges Hand Down Schapelle Corby Verdict
Schapelle Corby during her sentencing. Image: Dimas Ardian/Getty.

Speaking about the day in the courtroom when she was sentenced, Corby explained that she'd spent the seven months she'd been locked up learning to count in Indonesian. But on the day, she couldn't understand the numbers that were read out.

"I just felt so stupid. Why can't I understand this? I already practiced. Maybe I thought it was two months. I thought I had been here for seven, I'm going home," she told Ten.

"I was like, what? Come up here and talk to me. I was like, two years? No? So it must be 20? I just turned to the prosecutor and started yelling," she recalled.


Now settled back in Australia, Corby said she has a "great psychologist, a psychiatrist, and medication”.

She "wakes up fine...Well. I choose to be fine," she explained.

Corby was 27 when she entered Bali's notorious Kerobokan prison, sharing her prison cell block with 85 other women. Three years into her sentence she was transported at least twice to hospital for treatment for depression and psychotic episodes.

kerobokan bali
Schapelle Corby spent nine years in Kerobokan prison. Image: Getty.

Corby also appeared on the Kyle and Jackie O show where she talked about becoming a "complete fruit loop" and "like a zombie."


“Mental illness is real. If I could have lived without mental illness, my mind would be so much better,” she told the radio duo.

“It started a few months after my dad died. It was like a (triple) whammy — dad died, my final appeal came through negative then my mum’s partner died as well. I became a complete fruit loop," she said.

She explained that when Australian psychiatrist Jonathan Phillips visited her she thought he was Mr Squiggle.

“I kind of spoke to him at the time but I was listening to the birds chirping and I thought the birds were telling me to stop talking. The birds were telling me, ‘You can’t let them know anything',” she said.

Corby also spoke about getting into trouble with guards, and was left particularly shaken after being thrown in solitary confinement for three months after being caught with a Nokia mobile phone.

The incident has left her with a phobia of talking on the phone.


Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, she revealed that fellow convicted drug smuggler Renae Lawrence bullied her behind bars.

"She was abusive mentally and physically. She has choked me, I am very fearful of her," she told the publication.

Speaking to Ten Corby explained she wanted to "finish her story" in writing and updating her book which was first published in 2006 while she was still in prison. She was asked about the profits from the book as under Australia's proceeds-of-crime laws you aren't allowed to profit from criminal activity.

She told the network she "wasn't sure," adding that it "wasn't about money."

She's also trying to have a baby with her Balinese partner, Ben Panagian, which she spoke about both on TV and radio.  She has only seen the stand-up paddle board shop owner twice since being deported to Australia.

"He can't come here and doesn't want to live here. He just wants to come and see me" she told Ten.

Corby is not blacklisted from going back to Bali, but she's not ready to.

"I don't want to be looking over my shoulder, I want to enjoy myself and just live," she told Kyle and Jackie O.