- Publish Date
- Friday, 26 January 2018, 12:20PM
Kiwi-born actor Aaron Jeffrey has spoken out about harrowing events in his childhood while growing up in Auckland.
In an Interview with Who magazine on Thursday, the New Zealand-born actor - who has appeared on McLeod's Daughters and Wentworth - said he was passed around "in a paedophile ring for a couple of years" during his younger years.
Jeffery, 48, admitted memories of the traumatic sexual abuse came back to haunt him as an adult.
"In my mid-twenties I had a nervous breakdown," Jeffrey told the magazine. "That hard part of my childhood came back to me - when I was in a paedophile ring for a couple of years - and I had to deal with that."
Jeffrey grew up in Howick and moved to Australia as a 17-year-old. He studied at prestigious acting institute NIDA in Sydney.
After the breakdown, the actor said he recovered from the trauma by taking a break from the industry.
Instead, he turned to studying theology.
"To me, it was all about being of service. I went to work on a farm – although I'm a city boy and grew up in Auckland, I love the country – where they called me 'the human tractor'. I was pretty useful whenever they needed someone with grunt to shift some heavy stuff.
His big break came quickly after returning to acting.
Jeffery scored a major role on hugely popular Australian TV series McLeod's Daughters. He credited the gig as helping him move on from the horrific experiences of his childhood.
"I used to pray: 'I'm here until I find a story to tell' and then it all happened," the father-of-three told Who. "I got an agent on Monday, auditioned for McLeod's on Thursday, got the job on Friday and was in Adelaide ready to start filming two weeks later."
Jeffrey also explained to the magazine his theory on why so many people are attempting to chase celebrity status through stints on reality TV.
"A huge amount have had traumatic events in childhood that led to them just wanting to be seen and heard. That's their journey," he told the magazine.
The Wentworth actor will soon appear on the small screen as infamous criminal identity Mark "Chopper" Read in the Nine Network's Underbelly Files: Chopper.
Jeffery looks to have undergone a mammoth transformation to take on the coveted role, packing on considerable pounds to play the notorious criminal in the highly anticipated miniseries.
The award-winning actor has found happiness with former McLeod's Daughters cast mate Zoe Naylor, 40, living largely off-grid in the Blue Mountains with their children Sophia, five, and Beau, 20 months.
Aaron is also a father to 14-year-old daughter Ella-Blu from a previous relationship.
This article was first published at nzherald.co.nz and was republished here with permission.