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Self-help guru Tony Robbins has earned a fortune inspiring adherents willing to pay big bucks to have their "giant within" awoken to help realize their full potential.

But, as B.C. Supreme Court heard yesterday, Mr. Robbins's personal life is not without its own highs and lows.

Excerpts from Mr. Robbins's lengthy pre-trial examination for discovery in his libel suit against the Vancouver Sun provided a rare glimpse of the multimillionaire motivator's private ups and downs, far removed from his confident, late-night TV promos seen around the world.

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Answering questions last month from Vancouver Sun lawyer Rob Anderson, Mr. Robbins told of a black mould infestation of his California mansion, and the anguish he felt when his ex-wife used the mould as an excuse to throw out all his personal papers.

"She decided that my history was something I valued and something she would injure," said Mr. Robbins during his examination by Mr. Anderson, who spent the day reading excerpts of the testimony into the court record.

"As a result, I have virtually no pictures, I have virtually no papers, no journals, no anything from most of my life."

Mr. Robbins told Mr. Anderson that the mould and his ex-wife Becky's actions are why he could not provide the Sun with any of his past personal journals for the newspaper to examine.

"Her description to me was the mould we had at La Jolla Farms destroyed a good deal of our clothing and books," he said.

"She decided that these things were not valuable and decided to discard them. So that's the truth of the matter."

Tony and Becky Robbins, who were married for more than 14 years, were going through divorce proceedings at the time.

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Earlier, Mr. Robbins testified that he was unable to hand over other complete records of his past activities to the Sun because a cyclone destroyed the lavish residence in Fiji where much of the material was kept.

Mr. Robbins is suing the Vancouver Sun over an article published four years ago that implied he had broken up the marriage of Langley businessman John Lynch to his wife of 10 years, Bonnie.

The inspirational speaker contends he did not begin seriously dating Ms. Lynch, whom he married in 2002, until after she had separated from her husband.

Mr. Robbins also outlined the three-step progression of his relationship with Ms. Lynch, who now calls herself Sage Robbins.

"The relationship commenced in January of 2000," he told Mr. Anderson during the examination for discovery.

"We were great friends and we began having some attraction for each other. By April, there was 'intimacy,' " said Mr. Robbins, and "from June, we were inseparable."

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Asked by Mr. Anderson whether he would call himself and Ms. Lynch "close acquaintances" by January, Mr. Robbins replied: "I would say great friends."

The couple met at a Robbins seminar in Hawaii in September, 1999.

Ms. Lynch had been hired to monitor the health and blood cells of seminar participants.

"I believe she did my blood toward the end of the Life Mastery program," Mr. Robbins recounted.

"I believe that's when we exchanged phone numbers and became friends, but I'm not positive."

The trial continues today.

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