herald

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Not all footballers are love rats ...my Stephen is a family man

TEMPTATION: He is just a normal guy, says Jessica

FOOTBALLER Stephen Ireland's partner Jessica has defended Premier League footballers and claimed they're not all love rats.

In an exclusive interview with the Herald, stunning Jessica said it was "sad" the way Premiership footballers were all branded love cheats.

Gorgeous WAG Jessica Lawlor (25), who grew up in Co Cork, said she got frustrated with the negative publicity that some top stars have attracted for playing away from home.

She and Ireland are widely credited for having one of the most solid relationships in the Premier League after meeting when they were just 20 and 21.

"To be honest, I know a lot of players who are family guys and really devoted to their families and their home lives," she said.

However, she accepts that for some players like Cheryl Cole's ex husband, Chelsea footballer Ashley, temptation can prove irresistible.

"At the end of the day, a lot of these Premiership footballers are very young guys who get a lot of fame quickly, money quickly and having beautiful girls coming up to them in nightclubs comes with all that," she continued. "If they're single and they get an opportunity like that, they're not going to turn it down."

The bubbly blonde, who was born in Birmingham but grew up in Carrigaline, has been with Ireland since she was 21 after they met through friends in Cork. She gave birth to their first baby Jacob two years ago. Stephen is also father to two children from a previous relationship -- Joshua (6) and Jessica (4).

And she credits her Irish upbringing for keeping her so grounded, despite the lavish lifestyle that she and her other half enjoy in their palatial Manchester pad.

The beauty, who's starring in a new BBC3 reality show, insists she's the last person that will ever be snapped falling out of VIP clubs and is far happier being a full-time mum.

"If you could spend a day or two with me, you would see it's not like that. It's not the big fairytale that everyone sees. I've a great life and I appreciate it. I'm really happy with the kids and Stephen but we're just like any other people at the end of the day," she continued.

Jessica has also been organising events for the Stephen Ireland Foundation, which raises thousands of euro for Francis House Children's Hospice, an organisation for terminally ill children.

"As soon as you become a mum, there's nothing worse that having a sick child. I met a girl in the hospice who was the same as me with a little boy who was Jacob's age and he had leukaemia. He was on so much morphine and she stayed so strong, I don't know how she did it. It makes you realise how lucky you are."

Outgoing Jessica has stepped into the media spotlight more in the past year, having completed a stint on a special WAG edition of Come Dine With Me, which she said was "great fun" to film.

"Myself and Stephen are totally addicted to the show so it was good to make. The hours that go into making it is unbelievable though -- they filmed one episode until two in the morning. It was so weird eating dessert at that hour and you're like 'Do I really want to be eating pudding at two in the morning!'"

She's also due to take centre stage shortly in a new BBC3 programme provisionally entitled Young, Rich And House Hunting.

This sees her followed by a camera crew while she looked at new houses following Ireland's move from Manchester City to Aston Villa last year.

In the end, he decided to commute but she admits that now he's on loan to Newcastle for the next three months, they might have to reconsider splashing out for a new place.

"We do really want to stay in Manchester.

"We have really made it our home now but obviously with him going to Newcastle on loan, we'll have to look at it again in three months time and then make a decision on what's going to happen with that," she continued.

"We could just get a caravan and stay in that!"

mfinn@herald.ie

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