TYSON FURY said racism fuelled his mental health issues and forced him to "act out" as he desperately tried to get attention.
The WBC heavyweight champion recently revealed he, along with wife Paris, were once turned away from a restaurant purely because they are from a Traveller background.
Fury shared the story amid the racial justice protests taking place around the world following the police killing of black American George Floyd.
But in the 31-year-old's award winning autobiography, he opened up about how further discrimination against gypsies led him to play "the outlaw" during the first half of his career.
Fury wrote: "I started playing this part, being arrogant and cocky. I eventually lost myself in this character.
"I went into the paid ranks off the back of an amateur career during which I was aware of racism against travellers.
"This made me an outsider and so I felt that for me to get the attention I needed to be an attraction in the sport, I had to play the outlaw.
Been an amazing comeback over the last 2 years. Thank you ?? for the support.
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"I felt I had to act out a role to seek publicity and to do that I had to be controversial and shock people with how I talked. To some degree it worked.
"But playing the role got to the point where I didn't know what was real and what was the act."
Fury's campaign as heavyweight villain landed himself in hot water following homophobic and sexist remarks – something the boxer insists was instead a misunderstanding.
His unbeaten run came to a triumphant climax in 2015 as he shocked Wladimir Klitschko to win the unified belts but a battle with his mental health and substance abuse led to the titles being vacated.
After two years and 10 stone shed, Fury returned as a hero and voice to those struggling with depression.
The Gypsy King, who reclaimed the heavyweight throne in February after beating Deontay Wilder, has pledged to help anyone also facing a battle with mental health problems.
Former champion Ricky Hatton revealed how Fury was the first to phone him after he was facing troubles in lockdown.
And the unbeaten champion has even personally spoken to fans on multiple occasions, recently reuniting with a supporter who he talked out of suicide last year.
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