Thorne was a member of New Zealand's Parliament, an All Black rugby player and a television presenter. Since 1987 he and his wife have run a restaurant.
He was adopted at birth and has traced his birth mother, although they do not keep in touch. Because the adoption was privately arranged (by his grandfather) his mother always knew his adoptive name and followed his career from the age of about 12. His birth father is dead. He did not learn of his adoption until he was 21 and it was a devastating experience, especially finding out that it had been common knowledge to everyone else.
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