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17.03.2009 Sports News

Paul Gascoigne: `I Died three times in Rehab`

By Kofi Owusu Aduonum - Ghanaian Chronicle

Soccer legend Paul Gascoigne has told for the first time how he "died" three times in rehab - and was revived by medics. The troubled star told Sky News how his heart repeatedly stopped after being crippled by alcoholism. In an amazingly candid interview with Sky's Kay Burley Gazza also revealed how:

• he was attacked by a group of women during group therapy in the wake of his bust-up with wife Sheryl • he took sleeping pills and alcohol before trying to kill himself in the bath • he drank four bottles of whisky a day or 30 cans of Special Brew • he has now found God

After the interview the fallen idol is filmed sobbing as he plays football on the beach with his nephews. Gascoigne seeks to explain why he attacked Sheryl, how his son has used him to "show-off" at school and why he won't drink again.

Burley met Gascoigne in his native North East where he agreed to talk about his darkest days. He has been sectioned, arrested and hospitalised on a string of occasions since his heyday as an England hero.

The 41-year-old has recently finished a spell in the rehabilitation centre inspired by ex-Arsenal And he says he is determined to stay clean and sober.

Asked about whether the rumours he had died and been brought back to life were true, Gazza confessed: "Last January, three times they revived us a little bit. He added: "Well my heart failed on us a few times."

Burley asked him: "Are you telling me Paul that your heart stopped?" Gazza replied: "I think so yeah, my sister said it did. My dad collapsed, my dad collapsed with worry I think." The star spoke of the moments leading up to his infamous attack on Sheryl.

"Well to be fair Kay, if you are sitting in a restaurant and somebody calls your mum a whore, which she did, and for no reason... "I don't like that and yes, I got a hold of her arms and I did put my head against her head, I didn't head butt her but I threw her to the floor and yes I was disgusted with myself for what I did."

He went on: "I went to therapy; I sat with 15 -20 women and told them exactly what I did. "I got punched off a few women for doing what I did but I took the punches and I accepted it."

Gascoigne was joined during the interview by his father John, sister Lindsay and two young nephews. He spoke of his troubled relationship with his son Regan - who he accused of parading him around his school and in assembly. "I don't know, I feel like I am being used by my own son here," he added.

Gazza also details one of his suicide bids. "I rang my sister just to say, I am going to run a bath. I think she might have had a clue. "I don't know if it was a plea for help but I did have enough anyway so I wasn't bothered.

"And I just said, look I am in the bath and I will always love you, or something like that, and put the phone down. "And I run the bath and I lay in the bath and just felt myself dropping off and I remember just getting ready, like dozing off you know and then the police burst in. About six police dragged us out of the bath."

Gascoigne's former wife Sheryl responded to the interview, saying everyone who sees it will find it extremely sad and troubling.

"Whilst I could comment on the many inaccuracies in Paul's recollection of events, all I wish to do is make absolutely clear that I have never referred to his mother in the way he has suggested," she said. "More than anything I genuinely hope that Paul does recover from his addictions."