Former England international Lee Hendrie has opened up on his multiple suicide attempts after going bankrupt and his memory of waking up on a life-support machine.
In an emotional sit-down with Paul Merson and Vinnie Jones, the three former professional footballers, who have all battled against depression or addiction, laid bare their struggles in episode two of ITV show Harry’s Heroes.
Hendrie, 43, who represented Aston Villa at the peak of his career and earned around £30,000-a-week, described to Merson and Jones how he tried to kill himself after his financial woes escalated to the point where his mum’s house was repossessed.
Lee Hendrie laid bare his struggles as he opened up on trying to kill himself multiple times
Speaking to Paul Merson in episode two of Harry’s Heroes on ITV, Hendrie explained how he spiralled and he still remembers waking up on a life-support machine after an attempt
He played for Aston Villa in the peak of his career (left) and also represented England (right)
The 43-year-old explained the root of his struggles as he revealed he still takes anti-depressants to this day.
‘I fell deep down into depression really,’ Hendrie explained. ‘I ended up going bankrupt, my house got repossessed, they repossessed my mum’s house and that just destroyed me.
‘That was it then, I got up one day, got p***ed and tried to kill myself. I woke up on a life-support machine, my body had shut down. Then I tried to do it again.
‘I just couldn’t grasp what was going on. Still now, every single day I struggle, I still take anti-depressants. I didn’t even want to talk about it.’
Recounting one such attempt in his car, Hendrie is reduced to tears when telling the story
He revealed he takes anti-depressants to this day as he sometimes ‘struggles to get out of bed’
The ITV show tracks a team of former England internationals – managed by Harry Redknapp (centre) – including (left to right) Rob Lee, Lee Sharpe, Ray Parlour, Hendrie, Mark Wright, Matt Le Tissier, Merson and Mark Chamberlain
In an interview with the Guardian, Hendrie detailed that he has tried to commit suicide ‘five or six times’ and earlier in episode two, he is reduced to tears as he recounts one such attempt.
Hendrie, who has five children, explained how he purchased ‘a load of tablets’ and pulled over in his car.
‘I struggle at times to even get out of bed and face the world at times,’ he said.
‘I remember just pulling up at a chemist, going in once and then I went to a shop and just bought a load of tablets. I just parked up and took all the tablets. It was really selfish of me to do that. I’ve got five children and to think I was going to leave all that behind. I just felt like I had let everyone down really.’
Hendrie was declared bankrupt by HM Revenue and Customs in 2012, while playing for non-league Kidderminster Harriers.
He had built up a property portfolio worth £10million but it all came to a head in 2010.
Hendrie used money earned from football to build up his property portfolio to around £10m
The fluctuation of the housing market saw Hendrie’s debts build up and the bankruptcy petition was filed with debts of £193,808.73 in 2012. Homes and other luxury items needed to be repossessed to cover the costs.
Both Merson and Jones were left stunned at Hendrie’s admission that he suffers with depression and they tried to shed positivity on the fact he survived and can ‘draw a line’ under that dark time in his life.
Harry’s Heroes: Euro Having A Laugh tracks a team of former England internationals, including David Seaman, Merson, Matt Le Tissier, Rob Lee, Ray Parlour, Lee Sharpe, Mark Chamberlain, Mark Wright, Razor Ruddock and Hendrie, managed by former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp and his assistant John Barnes.
The show is exploring a number of different issues that the retired players faced in – or after – their playing careers.
In the first series of Harry’s Heroes, Merson captured the hearts of viewers after breaking down in the back of a taxi while revealing the crippling effects of gambling on his life, comparing it to a ‘crack addiction’.
Merson was forthcoming about his many stints in and out of Alcoholics Anonymous, after notoriously losing £7million on alcohol, drugs and gambling in the 1990s.
Merson, who played for clubs including Arsenal, Aston Villa and Portsmouth, told producers on the ITV documentary he was ‘struggling badly’ with life, adding: ‘Life’s fallen apart – gambling.
Neil Ruddock (third from left) threatened to beat up Merson (second from left) after the pair clashed over his drinking habits. Former England international Mark Wright, Ruddock’s wife Leah Newman, David Seaman and his wife Frankie Poultney (left-right) watched on
‘I’ve just completely lost control, I’ve completely, again. I’m digging a hole – I can’t get out of it. It’s the worst addiction in the world.’
In last week’s episode notorious football hardman Neil Ruddock threatened to beat up Merson during a heated argument over the former Tottenham and Liverpool defender’s drinking.
Merson delivered a stark warning to an infuriated Ruddock in a TV show, saying that the 52-year-old’s boozing is killing him.
The pair clashed after Merson took exception to Ruddock downing pints and shots in the pub during filming.
Ruddock had yelled: ‘Don’t shout at me or I’ll get the hump with you. I’ll throw you out the f*****g door. This gives me the hump. F*** off.’
Last year the side overcame a Germany Legends team after building up their fitness by increasing their exercise regimes and improving their diets.
This time around Redknapp’s outfit, who lost almost eight stone between them in 2019, embark on a tour of Europe, taking on sides in France and Italy before the rematch against Germany.
Merson opened up on his alcohol and gambling addiction and credited the show for its help
Episode two of Harry’s Heroes airs tonight on ITV at 9pm
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