scavenger of human misery (piratesswoop) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,
scavenger of human misery

The real lives of footballer wives (and girlfriends)

Don't envy the WAGs - I've seen inside their world and it's shallow, lonely and miserable
By Alison Kervin

I got to know a number of WAGs because over the past few years I've been researching their world for a series of novels about their antics, and attempting to find out what their lives are really like away from the headlines and all those parties that they appear to attend with such gusto.

The innate sadness and loneliness of these women is a far cry from the 'get dressed in designer labels, drink gallons of champagne and party all night' view of the WAGs to which we've grown accustomed.

'Coffee?' she asked in a breathy voice, indicating an impossibly shiny kettle in a kitchen so clean and white it gave you snow blindness just to look at it. Her tiny top was white, matching the sparkling tips of her nails. This was clearly a woman who didn't spend her days carrying out mundane household tasks.

I took my coffee in a beautiful white china cup and followed this tiny, slim woman into a sitting room as white as her kitchen.

I was having coffee with one of the England football team WAGs - a beautiful girl who, though only in her 20s, explained to me that she'd had Botox, fillers, a breast enhancement and tummy tuck to keep herself as beautiful as possible.

'You have to,' she said with all seriousness, her extended eyelashes fluttering so much I feared she might take flight. 'You have to do all you can to keep your man because he's being flirted with whenever he leaves the house and being told by everyone that he's amazing. If he doesn't come back here and find me perfect and the house perfect, one day he won't come back at all.'

And she wasn't alone in her attitude. Most of the WAGs I met felt the only control they had in their lives was over their appearance and that of their homes, and feared that if they let themselves go, their husband, like John Terry, would turn to one of the many gorgeous girls throwing themselves at him.

I got to know a number of WAGs because over the past few years I've been researching their world for a series of novels about their antics, and attempting to find out what their lives are really like away from the headlines and all those parties that they appear to attend with such gusto.

The girls were happy to let me into their homes and to share the secrets of their lives - on the basis that I would never reveal their identities.

What I discovered were many poignant scenes like the one I've just described - lots of beautiful, painfully slim girls alone in huge, immaculate mansions in the countryside, trying to be perfect while waiting for their husbands to come home.

The innate sadness and loneliness of the women is a far cry from the 'get dressed in designer labels, drink gallons of champagne and party all night' view of the WAGs to which we've grown accustomed.

That bawdy image of them spending enough to clear the debt of an African nation on an afternoon's shopping for handbags, and bouncing happily to the hairdresser's in floaty kaftans to have their blonde hair extensions renewed, was at least an image that hinted at fun and girlish pleasures behind the scenes.

No doubt there are times when the WAGs do have lots of fun, and I'm sure some of the women are in happy and fulfilling relationships, but there's no question a significant number of them live in a state of anxiety, not sure what's around the corner and terrified lest their husband should give in to the astonishing number of temptations laid before him.

So many of the country's leading players have been publicly unfaithful to their partners, it's no wonder that their partners become so worried.

The girls I met were colourful, confident and peacock-like on the outside - burning with an ambition and enthusiasm that masked loneliness and insecurity on the inside.

They were so different at home to the image they present to the public - and the only other women who understand how they feel are fellow WAGs, whom they only know because of their footballing husbands.

'You can never confide your fears in the others,' said one girl, who says she always makes sure her legs are on show when she goes out (she wore hotpants the day I met her) so that men will look at her and her husband will realise what a catch she is.

'You worry that other WAGs will tell their husbands, who'll tell yours. There's a real lack of trust,' she says. 'You're on your own. I talk to my mum about how worried I get about him being unfaithful, but no one else.'

So the life of a WAG is not all shopping trips (though heavens knows they do like to shop - I got to see the shoe collection of one of the girls, spread across a room and a half, with the other half taken up with handbags). No, the life of many WAGs, it seemed to me, was driven by fear of what would happen next and a lack of control over what was happening now.

They don't know where their husband will be playing from season to season, or what will happen if he gets injured? Transferred? Dropped?

Then there's the threat of the girls who stalk the players. 'I've sat there while girls have walked up to my husband, sat on his lap, taken his hand and put it up their skirts in front of me,' revealed one wife. The girls in the nightclubs are after a night with a player to sell their story; rarely do their ambitions extend beyond securing a date. The girls have seen the money that can be made from kiss'n'tells and know the prestige that comes from having slept with a footballer.

If they are wannabe models, the link with a player will give them the profile they crave.

Another WAG says: 'It's not that you don't trust your husband, you do, it's just that you hear all these horror stories about what the other players are up to, and you do sometimes think - would my husband do that? Could he really be the only one not to be doing that?'

Few of the WAGs walk away if they find out that their husband has been unfaithful, because I think many of them don't feel that the player loves them less because of what he has done, just that he succumbed to the temptations on offer.

A period of simmering anger, promises that it will never happen again, and the relationship usually continues on its course with the woman now ever more worried when her man goes out on his own.

One of the women told me that every time she heard that a story was about to break about a player having an affair, she'd feel like she'd been shot, and was in a state of acute anxiety until she could establish it wasn't her husband involved in the story.

When I asked, as I did on many occasions, why the women stayed, the answer was simple. 'Because I love him.'

When the story broke alleging that David Beckham had had an affair with his assistant, Rebecca Loos, I spoke to a football agent who said: 'There will be 20 or more wives turning to their footballer husbands tonight and saying: "You'd never do that to me, would you?" and the guys will all say: "Never, not in a million years, you're the only one for me."

'The trouble is over 90 per cent of them will be lying. Few footballers are faithful because they don't have to be. It's not expected of them and the wives usually end up forgiving them on the few times they find out. The rest of the time we can cover it up by paying off the girl he's had a fling with.'

I had one evening out with a group of four WAGs in which they told me that they would all be loyal and tell one another if they heard any rumours about each others' partners.

They swore that they would stick together as a group and always tell the others what they knew. However, when one of the girls left the room, the others told me they knew her boyfriend was unfaithful.

Over the course of my research, it emerged that each of the women knew something about the other women's husbands or boyfriends, but had been sworn to secrecy and would never say anything because of loyalty to their husband, who'd told them the gossip in the first place.

'Players get away with murder because as long as they're good on the pitch, they're worth a fortune and everyone will run around to protect them,' said one Premiership manager.

This 'protection racket' approach to the players means they live lives without moral consequences, which can't be good for anyone, least of all the WAGs waiting at home.

Perhaps they should know better and enter into relationships with players knowing the consequences, and understanding that in return for vast amounts of money and a lifetime of designer dresses, they will face a life in which they will never feel secure.

But many of the Wags I spoke to would argue that they met their men before they became famous footballers, and fell in love with the men behind the public image.

That's probably what John Terry's wife Toni used to say when he was caught cheating in the past. But now? Well perhaps even she will have to admit to herself that the Faustian pact she entered into when she married him has come at too high a price for any woman to bear.


ONTD, would you ever want to become a WAG? Would you give up your normal life to have an unlimited bank account and more clothes than you know what to do with, even if it meant a life of loneliness and not being able to trust your boyfriend/husband or your fellow WAGs?
Tags: british celebrities, sports / athletes

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