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Vinnie Jones opens up on grief and kicking the booze as he says 'hardman' image is long behind him

Footballer turned actor Vinnie Jones has opened up on his battle with alcohol and his mental struggles after finding love with a new woman.

The 59 year-old, who is this week marking 11 years of sobriety, is a changed man from his younger days when he revelled in his "hardman" image on and off the pitch, as well as on screen.

However he says his hedonistic younger lifestyle is now well and truly behind him and that he will celebrating the anniversary simply by "chilling out."


"I'm enjoying the joy in life," he told the Mirror. "I think I've learned a little bit that ego is not your Amigo." Vinnie recently starred in the Netflix hit The Gentlemen, which is directed by old friend and long-time collaborator, Guy Richie.

However, he has spoken out to raise awareness of a cause close to his heart - mental health in the football community. He hopes it will encourage more fans to open.

After shooting to fame in 1986 when he was signed for Wimbledon, he had an incredible career playing for Leeds United, Sheffield, Chelsea and QPR, but he battled demons alongside his outward success. Dogged by alcoholism and mental health struggles, he says: "I was 19 or 20 before I even had a drink. But it didn't take long for addiction to take over. It's all rot. You're rotting from the inside out. I didn't talk about it to anybody."

Battling what he calls "the monster," Vinnie was a talented midfielder, known for his highly aggressive style of play. This image was compounded by the now infamous photograph of him grabbing Newcastle United player Paul Gascoigne by the genitals in a 1998 match.

But while footballing fouls got him into trouble, Vinnie's reputation off the pitch was even wilder. And he blames one thing loudly and