The Belgian arrived at Stamford Bridge with a big reputation, but was offered few opportunities to enhance it with the Blues.
Jose Mourinho was never convinced by his talents and openly questioned his commitment in training.
De Bruyne eventually proved his worth at Werder Bremen, initially on loan, before being brought back to the Premier League by Manchester City in a big-money deal in 2015.
The 25-year-old is now fully focused on the present, but admits that he would have liked the opportunity to right a few wrongs at Chelsea had he been given a window to the wider world.
“It is true that he said that in the press, yes,” De Bruyne told France Football on the criticism aimed at him by Mourinho.
“That I wasn't doing what was needed in training. It was easy to say that because there was no-one to check it – the training sessions were closed to the public. But everyone knows I am not like that.
“I never let anyone put me down. I say what I have to say, with respect of course. But at that moment, I couldn't do anything because he would have said I was lying and afterwards he would have used it.
“Did I ask for training to be done in public? I said it, yes, but not to him personally.”
De Bruyne believes the episode actually helped to make him stronger, with there now an added maturity to his game that allows him to take highs and lows in his stride.
A man with five goals and nine Premier League assists to his name this season added: “I continue to enjoy myself on the pitch.
“And especially I am the same after a great match and after a bad one. In the good days and the bad days. Even after the match against Barcelona, I stayed quietly at home, like I had done a few days before after our win in the league when it was only against West Brom.
"Big match or not, I am the same. It is just a match. I know well in football that a lot of people get very high when they win and drop very low when they lose. Me, I am always a bit in between. I think that is my force. I know how to put the two extremes into context.”