"Losing my best mate destroyed my marriage": Craig Bellamy reveals how his life fell apart after Gary Speed's death
Football star Craig Bellamy has tearfully revealed how his marriage is over, saying: “It’s the worst time in my life ever.”
Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, the former Manchester City and Liverpool striker tells how the death of close friend Gary Speed left him so heartbroken it destroyed his relationship with wife Claire.
The Cardiff City player has now moved out the £2million home he shared with his childhood sweetheart and their three children, saying he no longer cares about football.
“I’ve been living on my own for eight weeks now,” he says. “There’s no one else involved. I wish there was. I wish I had someone and I wish she (Claire) had someone. That would make it easier.
“It’s hit me hard. It’s nothing to do with football and it’s nothing to do with me as a footballer. I couldn’t give a s*** about football.
“It’s about real people, human beings, kids and families. I can’t tell you how hard it is. It’s the worst time in my life ever.”
Speaking at the flat he has rented just outside the city, tears fill his eyes as he speaks about Speed, 42, who was found hanging in the garage of his home in Cheshire last November.
The father of two was Bellamy’s former boss and also used to play with him at Newcastle.
“Losing my best mate has affected everything,” Bellamy says. “I can’t believe how hard it is. It has had an effect on everything.
“He was the best mate I’ve ever had. It’s sad but unfortunately it got to my marriage. I’m here and she’s there.
“I don’t know if that’s it for us. All I know is that my best mate has gone. I’m struggling. I can’t lie.”
His comments come only weeks after he starred at the Olympics as captain of Team GB. He bravely put aside his personal heartache as he led the team as far as the quarter finals.
Bellamy, 33, known as the bad boy of football, first started going out with Claire, also 33, when they were schoolchildren and they married in 2006.
He has often spoken of how important his wife and three children are to him.
“I surround myself with family,” he said last August. “I have got the most incredible wife in the world and unbelievable kids.”
And in an interview last year he spoke revealingly about how he often suffered from homesickness while away playing for his team.
“I spent nights crying myself to sleep,” he said. “I look at everything I have. I look at my children and everything I have is due to that. Now even if I spend Friday night away in a hotel, just one night, I can’t wait to get home.
“Before I would spend all my hours at training, come home, sleep, eat, watch football, sleep and go back to training the next day. Now I do the school run, train, pick up my daughter. I am living in the real world. I am a father now. That has given me more satisfaction than football.”
But all that fell apart when his relationship with Claire broke down. He left the family home in a village just outside Cardiff after the couple had an emotional heart-to-heart.
A friend said: “Claire asked Craig to leave and he agreed. He’s really close to his kids, so to leave them and be on his own is a big deal. It all happened so suddenly.
“A businessman friend of his lives in a beautiful converted pub which he has agreed to rent to Craig. He told him he was in a desperate hurry and that he would have to leave all his furniture there for him.
“Everyone is hoping it isn’t the end for him and Claire but it doesn’t look good.”
On Friday morning he drove his car out of the property’s underground car park and spent three hours at Cardiff City’s training ground.
He spent last week looking for a more permanent new home. On Thursday, he was spotted at a Cardiff lettings agency just an hour before being seen carrying bags into a new apartment.
Meanwhile, earlier this week he was forced to deny online claims that he had retired “with immediate effect”.
He issued a statement saying he was “fully committed” to playing football and that he hoped to be fit for a match next Saturday.
Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay, forced to respond to rumours on Twitter that Bellamy was about to quit the game for “undisclosed reasons”, told reporters: “There are plenty of rumours going about, but I’ve told you, he’s torn his calf.”
Bellamy is one of football’s most controversial figures. In January 2005 he repeatedly clashed with former Newcastle boss Graeme Souness over his insistence on playing Bellamy in midfield.
In March 2007, an allegedly drunk Bellamy confronted teammate John Arne Riise armed with a golf club. Then, after netting in his next game, Bellamy celebrated with a golf swing in a mocking reference to the infamous night out.
Two years later, during a game for Manchester City against arch-rivals United, he slapped a pitch invader as stewards attempted to remove the man.
In March 2010, after scoring twice against Chelsea, Bellamy launched a scathing attack on Blues’ captain John Terry over his affair with the partner of teammate Wayne Bridge.
He said: “I know what JT is like. Nothing surprises me about that guy.”
And last January he was charged with common assault after inflicting facial injuries on two men during a night out in Cardiff. He was later released with a caution.
All this came after he insisted in 2006, after marrying Claire and signing for his boyhood idols Liverpool in a £6million deal, that maturity and marriage had made him a changed man.http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/craig-bellamy-says-gary-speeds-1314258
Sad to hear this. Hope everything works out for Bellers.