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Vinnie Jones, 55, became renowned as a football hard-man before he turned to acting upon retirement and starred in gangster flicks such as ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’. The former Chelsea star, whose wife Tanya died from cancer last year, appeared ‘Piers Morgan’s Life Stories’ tonight (Sept 5). In ITV previews, Jones wept as he watched his late partner’s smile when he described that some people were “meant to be married”, during an interview on the show one decade earlier. During tonight’s chat, he will delve into the impact of her death as well as his sports career coming to an end, going sober and his early life. Unearthed accounts from the Welsh international’s younger years reveal how dreadfully he was treated by one football team.
Jones revealed his parents’ divorce, when he was 13 years old, didn’t only deeply affect him but also his sporting career and perception of the game.
He described their split as “quite devastating” because one minute they were playing “happy family” and the next “everything changed”.
The future star was forced to move in with his father in Hertfordshire, when their family abode in London was sold and his mother lived in the nursing home where she worked.
Jones recalled: “Not only did I lose my parents, I lost all my mates as well. I had to restart my life again.
“So the first thing I did was I rebelled and went against the football. I got released by Watford.
“They didn’t know what was going on and said, ‘You treat life as one big joke.’ Well, the big joke was, my parents were splitting up. it was the worst joke.”
He claimed to still have emotional scars from that difficult time – a pivotal moment that encouraged him to do things differently with his own family.
Jones told the Guardian in 2012: “When two people break up it’s all about them, they can’t see anyone else. And the people getting smashed to bits are the kids.
“Then you’re getting torn, your mum wants you, your dad wants you. You just get shredded. It has a long-lasting effect as well.”
After Jones adopted his wife Tanya’s daughter Kayley, he tried to instil “very strong” family values, which he attributed to feeling he “lost that family unit at an early age”.
In a sweet way to achieve that, he would throw a party every week called “happy Friday” after they moved to the US, where the couple and their children would “all invite our mates round for a barbecue”.
Despite his fears about being a responsible parent, Jones revealed that he didn’t change in the way that he hoped after his own son Aaron, from a different relationship, was born.
He recalled: ‘I was told, ‘This will make a man of you, now you’re going to grow up.’ But it never happened.
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“For some people, becoming a parent does change them, but it never changed me.
“Aaron’s mum just told me one day that she was pregnant – we weren’t married. It was brilliant, but it was a bit of a shock, because you’ve got to make decisions, big decisions.
“It didn’t work out between me and his mum, but we brought a fantastic boy into the world.”
Jones, who will appear on ‘Piers Morgan’s Life Stories’ tonight (Sept 5) at 10PM, described his late wife Tanya as a “beautiful person” during the interview with the ‘Good Morning Britain’ star.
He said: “I’d let her down so many times, but she’d catch me. And it was so much, many times, I said to her once, ‘It was like catching a falling star.’
“She never once, Piers, would not put her arms out and catch me, every time.”
At the beginning of their relationship, he told her that all he longed for was to be “loved unconditionally” – a promise he stated that she never broke.
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