April 2, 2023

Football ace Jamie Vardy tells of his booze demons and how his wife helped turn his life around

September 25, 2016
Photo: Sun sport

England ace and family man, 29, lays bare his soul in exclusive extracts from sensational autobiography.

FOOTIE idol Jamie Vardy today tells how wife Becky saved him from booze hell and helped turn his life around.

Pregnant Becky tracked down the Leicester striker to a pub after he went AWOL on a massive drinking spree.

She threatened to leave unless he sorted himself out.

The England ace and family man, 29, lays bare his soul in exclusive extracts from sensational autobiography Jamie Vardy: From Nowhere, My Story, serialised only in The Sun on Sunday and The Sun this week.

Becky, who is expecting their second child and has two kids from a previous relationship, warned Jamie she would walk out unless he cut back on his partying, dropped the hangers-on and made something of his life.

He reveals: “Committing to Becky was the best decision I ever made.

“She was the person who brought some calm to the chaos and allowed me to turn my life around off the field.

“My career has benefited massively from the stability she’s given me.”

He also tells of how they met when Becky, then a nightclub events manager, helped lay on a treasure chest crammed with luxury spirits for his 27th birthday.

Jamie talks frankly about the split in his family, and why his parents didn’t attend his wedding in May.

The Leicester ace’s rise from £30-a-week non-league striker to Premier League record breaker and England hero has been the talk of football — along with his “Having a Party” chant.

Here, in our first exclusive extract from his new autobiography, he tells of an incredible 27th birthday booze-up, his nightclub proposal to wife Becky and how she helped turn his life around on and off the pitch.

WE were in La Rocca, a nightclub on the fringes of Antwerp and I could feel another dropped beer bottle crunching under my feet.

It was 2am, far too much alcohol had been consumed.

There were more romantic places for what I had in mind, for sure, but something told me that this was the moment.

I got up from the table, stumbled to the other side of the room and, on a carpet of broken glass and booze, got down on one knee.

“I never thought I’d be doing this, but will you marry me?” I said.

It was June 15, 2014, less than 24 hours after we’d sat in a beach bar watching England lose 2–1 against Italy in their opening World Cup match in Brazil.

More importantly it was only five months after I’d met Becky, when she had the misfortune of organising my 27th birthday party.

Becky Nicholson was the events manager at The Viper Rooms in Sheffield, where the party was.

I’d been exchanging messages with her for a while about exactly what we wanted. Plenty of alcohol was the short answer.

Well, and a load of laughing gas balloons stapled to a wall at the request of The Inbetweeners — her name for my closest friends.

Becky agreed to everything but wished she hadn’t when she spent an entire day sitting on the floor filling up 250 balloons from a nitrous oxide tank.

By the time she’d finished, she had cuts all over her fingers, and she sent me a text to say that she was pretty p***ed off.

When we rocked up, with a few beers already on board, her day didn’t get any better.

She didn’t disappoint us in the drinks department, however, laying on something the club called the “Glamour & Excess Luxurious Chest, Perpetual Indulgence and Immoderation”, to quote its title.

It contained, in no particular order, Courvoisier VS, peach schnapps, Gosling’s, Wray & Nephew, Havana Club 7, Bacardi Superior and Pampero Especial, topped with two bottles of Moët.

On the marketing blurb it said: “Served for eight in a real treasure chest.”

I got through virtually the lot myself within an hour of walking into the club.

I wasn’t even putting it in a glass. I was just dipping my head in.

I got the impression, and it was only an impression because I was too p***ed to know for sure, that Becky wasn’t that chuffed with how we behaved that night.

After working my way through the treasure chest I was no use to anyone.

One of the lads spotted me swaying in the toilets and decided that it was in everyone’s interests if I was packed off in a taxi to a hotel just a two-minute walk away.

I started to come round in the hotel room, where I bombarded Becky with messages saying how much I liked her.

She blanked every one of them, which wasn’t surprising in the circumstances.

I was single at the time and had been ever since my ex Emma and I had gone our ­separate ways before our daughter Ella was born.

The idea of settling down wasn’t something that particularly interested me because I enjoyed my freedom and independence.

But I couldn’t get Becky out of my head and I wasn’t going to give up.

Becky wasn’t easily persuaded but I just kept chipping away, refusing to take no for an answer.

She was five years older, lived in Barnsley and had two children, Megan, then eight, and Taylor, then four, from previous relationships.

I was in a similar position with Ella, so that probably helped.

We started going out on dates and became closer but I hadn’t put the brakes on my social life and was still going out with my mates.

NINTCHDBPICT000269002218So I stupidly thought nothing of not replying to messages or calls from Becky for several days.

At times I was like a plane that had disappeared off radar and, unsurprisingly, it started to drive Becky mad.

One night I pushed it too far when we were supposed to be going out and I didn’t turn up or answer the phone.

Finally, I rang Becky back the next day but she had already decided to come to my apartment in Leicester to see me.

She turned up absolutely raging.

I was standing in the kitchen and she threw a book at me.

She was so angry and she’d been calling me so many times because she’d been trying to tell me something.

I had no idea what was coming . . . then she said it. She was ­pregnant.

I didn’t know what to say. I liked Becky in a way that I couldn’t remember feeling about anyone before, but we’d only known each other a couple of months and we weren’t officially together. I couldn’t really take it all in.

Once everything calmed down we had a proper chat, and not just about the pregnancy.

Becky felt I needed to change my lifestyle, for myself as much as anyone.

She’d seen things that maybe I didn’t want to see and that are perhaps easier to recognise when you’re an outsider looking in.

That conversation continued over the following weeks, after we’d decided to make a proper go of things together.

Becky recognised I had some genuine mates, people who were with me for the right reasons, but she thought that four or five others were hangers-on.

I didn’t see it like that at first and we had a bit of an argument.

Becky pointed out that I’d pay for everything on a night out, and she questioned whether some of the people would still be my friends if I wasn’t putting my hand in my pocket all the time.

In my eyes that was just me being me. I wasn’t being flash.

I was just sharing what I was fortunate to be earning, maybe being a bit overly generous sometimes.

I didn’t turn a deaf ear to everything Becky said, because I knew there was a degree of truth to it all.

But it wasn’t going to be a case of flicking a switch and everything changing overnight.

That only happened when we moved in together in June, when I realised and accepted that I needed to get control of things.

The situation reached breaking point after we got back from a trip to Thailand in 2014.

We had six weeks off in the summer, and I stayed at Becky’s house one night.

I got up the next morning to go to see my mates in Sheffield for a few drinks and I went AWOL for the weekend.

“I’m not going to bring a child into your crazy world if you continue to behave this way,” she said, and walked out.

We didn’t speak for a couple of days, despite my best efforts to make contact.

I was getting a taste of my own medicine, and I had no option but to drive to Barnsley to try to salvage things.

We were chatting in her kitchen and I got emotional, which is not like me, but the reality of the situation had dawned on me.

“There are people out there who would die to be in your position,” she said. You’ve got the whole world at your feet.

“Make something of your life, whether it’s with me or someone else. But don’t throw it away.”

Looking back now, that was the defining weekend in our relationship.

Committing to Becky was the best decision I ever made.

Becky was the person who brought some calm to the chaos and allowed me to turn my life around off the field.

Her support has enabled me to focus on football like I never did before. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not suddenly become a little angel.

I still enjoy a couple of beers and the dressing room will never be a quiet place with me around. But I’ve definitely calmed down.

I will always defend Becky even though the fallout with my parents seems to revolve around her.

They met when we became a couple and get on fine at my matches.

The first time I realised that there was an issue was when my mum and dad came down to see us with Ella one day.

They didn’t really talk to Becky, which created this awkward atmosphere. I

didn’t know what it was all about at the time.

Now I think it all started when Becky gave me the ultimatum in 2014.

That scene got back to my mum, almost certainly without her knowing the full context.

Everything came to a head after our daughter Sofia was born.

My parents felt I should take her to see them. But there was no way that was going to happen.

Sofia was being breastfed, plus she was really ill for the first few months.

A four-hour round trip to Sheffield was unthinkable.

It had also come to feel as if my parents didn’t like Becky.

My agent tried to sort everything out, and we agreed to meet halfway on December 18.

Then my parents said they couldn’t make it.

That was that, any communication was broken off.

They’ve never met Sofia, and that obviously saddens me.

Our wedding at Peckforton Castle, Cheshire, was a perfect day and I welled up when Sofia tiptoed down the aisle before Becky.

That’s what family life means to me.

Nothing else matters when I’m having cuddles with Sofia or watching her kick a ball about – she takes after her dad already.

I have a lot of fun with Taylor, who occasionally refers to me as Vards and is always talking me into joining him on the trampoline.

Megan soon worked out that I have my uses when it comes to her maths homework.

Ella lives with her mother in Sheffield.

I make sure she is looked after financially, but I want to see her as well.

It’s not easy because weekends are tricky for obvious reasons.

Becky usually picks Ella up and we try to provide as many options as possible.

Ella is as much a part of my family as the others. They’re crackers when they all get together.

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