The wife of England and Leicester City football star Jamie Vardy has revealed she was sexually abused by a ‘family friend’ for three years as a teenager – and has fallen out with her mother over it.
Becky Vardy, 34, née Nicholson, has spoken for the first time about the sexual abuse which was so bad she attempted to take her own life at the age of 15 because she just ‘wanted to escape’.
She said her experience of being preyed on while growing up in Witney, Oxfordshire, wreaked havoc on her childhood and the fallout from the psychological trauma has continued into adult life.
The mother-of-three also revealed for the first time that it’s the reason her mother Alison, 57, and other family members did not attend her lavish wedding to Jamie, 29, earlier this year.
When the pair tied the knot following Leicester City’s Premiership title clinch in May, fans noted that both Vardy’s and his new wife’s parents were absent from their Cheshire nuptials – but no one knew the reasons why.
Now, Mrs Vardy has admitted that she is no longer on proper speaking terms with her mother because she ‘didn’t believe her’ when she told her as a teenager that she was being abused.
Mrs Vardy said the man, who she described as a ‘friend of the family’, first assaulted her when she was 13 years old and continued the abuse almost once a week for the following three years.
Speaking to The Sun on Sunday, Mrs Vardy said the first incident occurred as she sat on a sofa at her home during a family gathering, and said her abuser touched her breast.
She told the newspaper: ‘From that day on I wasn’t the same child because I never felt safe. Every time I saw him I would freeze and he would do more and more. I felt like I couldn’t get away.’
She said she struggled to deal with the abuse for years – becoming isolated from those around her and skipping school lessons. She showed promise as a runner but her talents went unrealised.
‘It was horrible, I became a scared mixed-up kid who struggled to cope living in my own skin,’ she told the newspaper.
‘I didn’t want to live any more, it was as simple as that. I felt as though I’d done something wrong.’
She said she eventually broke down and told her mother about the abuse but it ‘only made it worse’ because she didn’t believe her.
‘I will never forget her response,’ Mrs Vardy said. ‘She said: ‘Don’t be ridiculous, you are lying!’
‘I was heartbroken, I felt as though as she was ashamed of me, it made everything worse.’
She added: ‘We never patched it up sadly. She turned down my wedding invite and sent me a text instead.’