Former NRL and Sharks player and former player-turned-producer John “Skins” Johnston has revealed he had an extramarital affair with Thompson, but that the affair was consensual.
“He was one of the most powerful men in the game,” Johnston told ABC Radio Hobart.
“I met him a few years ago and it was consensual …
It was a really nice guy, I know that.”
The Cowboys star said he was “absolutely shocked” to learn of the affair, which occurred after Johnston had made a decision to retire from rugby league in 2014.
He said Thompson offered to pay Johnston a $1.5 million (NZ$1.7 million) upfront payment to be married in a public ceremony in exchange for the Cowboys not naming him a coach or manager of their NSW team.
Johnston was the head coach of the NSW Hunters in 2013 and 2016.
Thompson told the Herald Sun in an interview published on Thursday that he “never made any sexual advances to me”, despite Johnston’s claims.
The ex-NRL player said he and Johnston met in 2013 while he was in Australia to compete in a rugby league tournament and they married in 2014, shortly before Johnston retired.
In an interview with the Herald on Friday, Johnston denied any wrongdoing, and denied he was involved in a “dirty trick” to help Thompson get a job at the NRL.
It was the first time Johnston had spoken publicly about his extramarrial affair with the former NRL player, who also called Johnston a “superstar” and a “hero” after their relationship began in 2013.
“[Johnston] wanted me to work with him, and he wanted to coach us at the Sharks, and I did it, and we had a wonderful time, he said.
“He never asked me anything, he was one for himself, he had his own team and he had a big family. “
I don’t know why he did that,” Johnston said.
I have never done anything for anyone else.” “
But it was a family, it was very close.
I have never done anything for anyone else.”
Thompson, who was the Cowboys’ chief scout and assistant coach before he became a coach in 2017, said Johnston’s behaviour towards him was not only “disgusting” but “sick”.
The 30-year-old said Johnston approached him when he was playing for the Sharks in 2016, and was later offered a job with the Cowboys.
But Johnston “did not want to accept that job”, Johnston said, and said Thompson “didn’t want me to go with him” after he returned to Australia.
According to Johnston, Thompson told him he had been offered a “full-time job” in the NSW market and the Sharks were “the only one” that would accept him.
Johnston said he never told Thompson about his affair with Johnston.
Asked if Thompson “came back to the club” in 2019 after Johnston’s departure, Johnston said: “I think so, I mean he came back to us.”
But that’s just what I said to him.
“Johnston and Johnston, who has been married for 18 years, have been married since June 18, 2019.
A spokesperson for Johnston said the “recent comments” were “extremely regrettable and inappropriate”.
A statement on Johnston’s website said: “Johnston is an extremely accomplished rugby league and football player, and a great father to his two young daughters.
He has enjoyed an extensive career with the NRL, Sharks, NSW and the Sydney Roosters, and is the most decorated player to have played in NSW.
“He is extremely well respected by all of the clubs he played for, including his current employer, the NSW Hunter.”
His career is a testament to the power of his passion and dedication to the game.
“We are in the process of working with the police to establish the circumstances surrounding his comments.””
We are in the process of working with the police to establish the circumstances surrounding his comments.”