Jamie Vardy's wife Rebekah: I was sexually abused by a family friend as a child
The wife of England and Leicester City footballer Jamie Vardy has claimed she was sexually abused as a teenager by a "family friend".
Rebekah Vardy, nee Nicholson, said that the abuse was carried out for three years and it destroyed her childhood, causing psychological pain that continued into adulthood.
The mother-of-three is now undergoing therapy and is encouraging other sex abuse victims to speak out.
She said that she attempted to take her own life when she was just 15-years-old as a result of the abuse because she just "wanted to escape".
Speaking to The Sun on Sunday, Mrs Vardy said: "Abuse makes you feel horrid, dirty and lonely. One caring voice may make all the difference.
"I hope my story helps somebody else. Sadly, it's not unique."
She revealed that it's the reason her mother Alison (57) and other family members did not attend her wedding to Jamie (29) earlier this year.
The 34-year-old said her abuser first assaulted her when she was 13-years-old, and his near-weekly attacks took place over three years.
Mrs Vardy, who has a youngster showed promiser as a runner, described how she became isolated from those around her and began skipping school lessons.
Her sports talents went unrealised. She said she became a "scared, mixed-up kid".
Too afraid to seek help, Mrs Vardy carried the trauma into adulthood and made a second attempt at taking her life in a "cry for help”.
After the birth of her second child, she suffered from post-natal depression and was encouraged to seek professional help and confided in a therapist.
She said after years of trauma, she then realised that she wasn't in the wrong.
Mrs Vardy said that she only recently recounted her experience to her husband but hopes to use her time in the spotlight to work with children who have suffered abuse.
The Samaritans can be contacted by phone at 116 123. This number is FREE to call. The 1life Freephone is available 24 hours a day at 1800 247 100 or text the word HELP to 51444. The 1life service is of particular relevance to people who are feeling very low, have had suicidal thoughts.