Daily Mail

Being married to a footballer means you always turn left on the plane... but you need skin as thick as an Hermes bag and eyes in the back of your head

- By Lizzie Cundy, ex-wife of Premier League footballer Jason Cundy

THE audacity of wannabe WAGs will never cease to amaze me. early on in my marriage to Chelsea and Tottenham hotspur defender Jason Cundy, I made the mistake of leaving him alone at a football get-together while I went to get some drinks at the bar. The moment I left the table, another woman slipped into my empty seat.

All legs, big hair, lashings of make-up and oozing sex appeal, she must have been watching and waiting, ready to pounce when I disappeare­d, however fleetingly.

Tall and dark, Jason had hollywood good looks and the pay packet to match. everywhere we went, women’s eyes would follow him. To be fair, though our marriage ultimately did not last, he was never one of life’s natural flirts.

When I returned to my seat, the other woman did at least have the decency to skulk off.

But that’s when it struck me — this was how my marriage would be. As soon as I turned my back, predatory women would be trying to lure Jason away from me.

So, I can imagine just how bad the past few years must have been for Annie Kilner, the now-estranged wife of england ace Kyle Walker.

While beautiful Annie has been at home looking after their three sons — and is now pregnant with a fourth child — Kyle has been playing away with model and social media influencer Lauryn Goodman.

If she was even half-aware of what was going on, poor Annie would have been in a state of permanent paranoia.

Although Kyle and Annie only married in 2021, they have been together since meeting in their home city of Sheffield when Walker was 17 and Kilner was 15.

Kyle, meanwhile, allegedly had a fling with

Clubs look after their own; wives aren’t in the equation

Lauryn in 2019 resulting in the birth of a child the following year. Lauryn has since had a second baby by the cheating footballer.

Although Lauryn must have known exactly what she was doing, I can’t help feeling almost sorry for her — there is already speculatio­n that Kyle has had a third woman on the go.

Now Lauryn will have the unenviable job of trying to keep Kyle’s attention — while fighting off other ruthless and ambitious women.

After that incident with Jason at the Chelsea football social, I would make sure to ask another wife or girlfriend to watch my chair if I had to pop to the loo, even on the simplest night out at the pub.

After all, bagging a footballer means the chance to turn left on the aircraft of life — so women are queuing up to usurp you.

When your worst fear comes true, it’s devastatin­g. Jason and I split up when I discovered he was seeing a younger woman in 2010.

We’d been married for 16 years and had two sons, then aged ten and 16. But despite a lifetime of vigilance, I couldn’t stop it happening in the end.

So, I suspect Annie will be feeling very lonely right now. She probably doesn’t know where to turn or who to trust. Football clubs look after their own; wives aren’t included in that equation.

As for Lauryn, I get it. She fell for him and wants to be with him. But, let’s be honest, she also wants the lifestyle Annie has enjoyed till now.

As a footballer’s wife, you get a sixth sense for these crafty types. No matter how many assurances of fidelity your husband gives you, you must always be on red alert.

After a match, many footballer­s — married or not — want to celebrate a win at a nightclub or bar. That’s where these women are waiting, dressed up and waiting to pounce. I’d go as far to say a whole industry is involved: the model and talent agencies who represent these women and the nightclub managers who let them know the team are coming in for the night.

They want men like Kyle Walker to spend five figures on a night out impressing women with bottle after bottle of fancy fizz.

It doesn’t excuse anyone’s behaviour, but when women, dressed to the nines, are on tap for young footballer­s, what do you think is going to happen?

Life in the football bubble — that’s a world where football comes first and everything else second — means that as a wife you need broad shoulders, skin as thick as a hermes bag and eyes in the back of your head at all times.

Jason and I were together for 19 years, married for 18. We met when I was 19 and he was 18. he was an apprentice with Chelsea and as their training ground was near my Richmond home, he pursued me after we met in a local bar.

I was seeing someone else at the time, yet in the end I gave in because he was funny and my friends liked him.

The same can’t be said for my parents. My mum, Gloria Miller, now 88, was a fashion model before running the Jaeger fashion label. My late father, Derek Miller, was a Saatchi & Saatchi art director, working with the likes of David Bailey on glamorous shoots.

We lived in a beautiful Victorian house and my parents would be at parties most Saturday evenings with well-known actors and names in the entertainm­ent industry.

Mum wasn’t impressed that I’d fallen for a footballer. She would have preferred me to settle down with a doctor or lawyer. In the early days, I was modelling and going to drama school — and earning more than Jason. Yet when he joined the first team two years later, life changed dramatical­ly.

We moved into a two-bedroom apartment in Chelsea harbour, overlookin­g the Thames. Robbie Williams was a permanent fixture at the Conran hotel opposite — I’d often say hello and chat to him and his father.

We had our son Josh when I was 25 and married a year later.

We were offered a lucrative magazine deal, but turned it down — even though Jason was quite a flash groom.

I wore a simple white dress, while he had a really loud jacket on with white trousers, no socks and white shoes. he looked like something from Miami Vice. I remember my mum raising an eyebrow and muttering something about how the groom isn’t supposed to upstage the bride.

Back then, it wasn’t only Jason who attracted attention. From the word go, I was hit on by other play

Women, dressed to the nines, are on tap

ers — even when I was with Jason. At one function, a well-known footballer began to play footsie with me, tickling my leg. I was startled, especially as Jason was right next to me. I made it very clear I only had eyes for him.

Others left phone numbers in my bag or notes asking me to call them. I put it down to the competitiv­eness among players on and off the pitch. Away from these social events, however, being a footballer’s wife can be a very lonely existence. I’d just had Josh, now 28, when Jason went on tour with Chelsea to Hong Kong. My parents were living in Norfolk, and I was home in London on my own.

The football world makes it very clear you’re number two in the marital pecking order and us wives really did just have to put up and shut up. Mum would (not very helpfully) remind me it was what I’d signed up for.

Christmas I particular­ly dreaded: my job was to keep things calm before the Boxing Day match. Other sports might take a Christmas break, but with Britain, the Boxing Day games are a firm fixture in the Premier League.

So, it fell to me to ensure that a day that was usually about all the family ran like clockwork for Jason. There was no question of a fizzfuelle­d brunch. I had to make sure everything was just right so he was ready for the next day. And if he was playing away, I knew girls would be hitting on him, Christmas or no Christmas.

Then there’s the impact of all those club transfers on a marriage. We moved four times in five years. After Chelsea, Jason played for Tottenham Hotspur, Ipswich and Portsmouth.

You can be told at the last minute that your other half is being transferre­d to another club because he isn’t playing well. And believe me, life is very difficult with an unwanted footballer.

The sudden moves are like being in the Army. Even if the children were settled in nursery — off we went. Football is always going to come first. But even when your husband is on the way down, women will still do anything to seduce them. I was pregnant na with my second son James in 2000 when I really felt the WAG WA pressure. I was very conscious sci about getting my figure back ba after I gave birth. I had read rea that a postpartum Victoria Beckham Be had got back into her jeans jea within two weeks and felt pressure pre to do the same.

I still remember a woman coming com up to me in the ladies after afte a game and saying: ‘I’m as fit as a a butcher’s dog! Why is he with wit you?’

Iw was too shocked to reply. Girls Gi can be quite aggressive and if they th want something they’ll go for it. The trouble is, the clubs want wan to indulge their stars. A player play at one of Jason’s clubs would wou bring his wife one week, his girlfriend girlfr the next — and the club knew all about it.

Iw was friends with a lot of the wives, wive including Coleen Rooney (who who’s very publicly weathered a number num of Wayne’s affairs), Alex Gerrard Gerr (still married to Steven Gerrard Gerr after over 16 years) and Cheryl Chery (who divorced Ashley Cole in 2016 after four years citing ‘unreasonab­le behaviour’).

During the 2006 World Cup — and no, I can’t name names — a number

‘I’m fit. Why is he with you?’ one girl told me

When your worst fear comes true, it’s devastatin­g

of high-profile wives and girlfriend­s came to me for advice saying: ‘I know he’s cheating, what do I do?’

That was the time the world went crazy for WAGs and my career as a TV presenter began to take off. At the same time, Jason’s football career was on the wane.

Suddenly the tables were turned, and I was the one travelling to New York and Los Angeles for meetings and filming for TV shows.

Until then, my life had revolved around Jason’s football and I wanted my own career.

When he stopped playing and my profession­al life took off (at one point I was presenting three shows at the same time), that’s when things ended between us. But I was still heartbroke­n when Jason and I decided to go our separate ways. I’d always thought marriage was for life.

I loved being married and looking after my husband. What woman doesn’t want someone to love and care for? I can see now though that, after meeting in our teens, we’d grown apart.

The fallout for me was life-changing. I couldn’t eat, I looked pale and drawn — and, when I realised my marriage really was over, I wanted to back out of my next presenting job.

I rang my mum at one of my lowest points, she said: ‘There are people far worse off than you.’

It might sound cruel, but it was what I needed to hear. I’d worked so hard to get into television, I knew it would be crazy to waste my opportunit­ies, having played second fiddle to Jason for so long.

To be honest, when we finally divorced in 2012, it was a relief to escape the toxic world of football. I could finally lose the bimbo tag that comes with being labelled a WAG.

I can only feel sorry for wives and girlfriend­s these days and wish Annie Kilner all the best in rebuilding her life.

Today I’m on good terms with Jason. If I’d have had daughters, I certainly wouldn’t have encouraged them to marry a footballer.

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 ?? Pictures: LEZLI+ROSE / GETTY IMAGES / BACKGRID. Lizzie’s hair and make-up: AMANDA CLARKE ?? Striking couple: Lizzie and Jason on their wedding day. Left: The TV presenter today. Below, from left: Lauryn Goodman, Kyle Walker and Annie Kilner
Pictures: LEZLI+ROSE / GETTY IMAGES / BACKGRID. Lizzie’s hair and make-up: AMANDA CLARKE Striking couple: Lizzie and Jason on their wedding day. Left: The TV presenter today. Below, from left: Lauryn Goodman, Kyle Walker and Annie Kilner

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