Jamie O’Hara thought dating Danielle Lloyd would make him ‘the next David Beckham’… but divorce and career woes left him contemplating suicide

Like so many aspiring footballers Jamie O’Hara dreamed of becoming the next David Beckham.

But while he wasn’t blessed with Beckham’s magical right foot, the early signs – a contract with a top flight club, England under 21 caps and the obligatory model wife – suggested he was well on the way.

But a career that once reached for the stars soon plummeted to earth, leaving in its wake a trail of missed opportunities, personal setbacks, an abrupt divorce and demons that threatened to veer off on their own unpredictable trajectory.

Old times: Jamie O'Hara admits dating and subsequently marrying former Miss Great Britain Danielle Lloyd helped fuel his dream of being a Premier League footballer in the mold of Manchester United and England star David Beckham 

Old times: Jamie O’Hara admits dating and subsequently marrying former Miss Great Britain Danielle Lloyd helped fuel his dream of being a Premier League footballer in the mold of Manchester United and England star David Beckham


Now 32 and playing in the sixth-tier of English football for Billericay Town in National League South, O’Hara admits his relationship and subsequently disastrous marriage to Danielle Lloyd, then a successful model, helped fuel his early visions of grandeur.

‘And at that stage, I was young, I was going out with Miss Great Britain. I wanted to be the next David Beckham. It didn’t work out like that,’ he told The Independent.

O’Hara made an immediate impact after making his professional debut for Tottenham Hotspur in 2005, but his early promise soon tapered into a series of underwhelming loan spells with Chesterfield, Millwall, Porstmouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Jamie O’Hara enjoying some bonding time with his children

Looking back: 'And at that stage, I was young, I was going out with Miss Great Britain. I wanted to be the next David Beckham. It didn’t work out like that,' he admitted


Looking back: ‘And at that stage, I was young, I was going out with Miss Great Britain. I wanted to be the next David Beckham. It didn’t work out like that,’ he admitted

The midfielder would  be given a lifeline in 2011, when Wolves ultimately agreed to bring him in permanently – with an £8million contract and a salary averaging £30,000 a week.

But O’Hara, then 25 and entering what should have been his peak years as a footballer, admits he was gripped by complacency while playing for Midlands club.

Away from the pitch his personal life was slowly unravelling, with the footballer indulging himself in parties, lavish holidays and late nights whenever injury or team selection kept him out of the match days quad.

The real deal: David Beckham, pictured with fashion designer wife Victoria, was an inspiration for O'Hara during his early years as a professional footballer  


The real deal: David Beckham, pictured with fashion designer wife Victoria, was an inspiration for O’Hara during his early years as a professional footballer

Reflecting on his three-year spell in the Midlands, O’Hara admits he was living well out of his financial means, but worse would follow after he was caught cheating in 2014, resulting in a costly divorce from Danielle and downward spiral into the pits of depression.

O’Hara’s indifferent spell with Wolves would come to an end soon after, and he admits having no club and no home following his split with Danielle – with whom he shares sons Archie and Harry – proved to be his lowest ebb.

‘You don’t want to train, you don’t want to get out of bed. You don’t want to do anything,’ he explained. ‘For me, I would just sleep. Because when I was sleeping I wasn’t thinking… I went through some bad times, some really difficult moments.’

Early promise: O'Hara made an immediate impact after making his professional debut for Tottenham Hotspur in 2005, but his early promise soon tapered into a series of underwhelming loan spells


Early promise: O’Hara made an immediate impact after making his professional debut for Tottenham Hotspur in 2005, but his early promise soon tapered into a series of underwhelming loan spells

Jamie O’Hara parties night away with Calum Best at strip club

Disappointing: The midfielder would be given a lifeline in 2011, when Wolves ultimately agreed to bring him in permanently - with an £8million contract and a salary averaging £30,000 a week, but he would endure an underwhelming three-year spell with the club 

Disappointing: The midfielder would be given a lifeline in 2011, when Wolves ultimately agreed to bring him in permanently – with an £8million contract and a salary averaging £30,000 a week, but he would endure an underwhelming three-year spell with the club

Looking back at that period in his life, the footballer admits he even contemplated suicide.

‘I wasn’t allowed back to my house because I was going through a divorce, so I was staying in hotels, living out of my car,’ he recalled.

‘It was a nightmare situation. And there were a couple of times I just thought about driving into a bridge.’

From penalty box to diary room: O'Hara's decision to appear on Celebrity Big Brother in 2017 was prompted by his expensive divorce

From penalty box to diary room: O’Hara’s decision to appear on Celebrity Big Brother in 2017 was prompted by his expensive divorce

O’Hara would have one final taste of top flight football with Fulham before once again finding himself without a club, paving the way for an appearance on Celebrity Big Brother  – a decision prompted by his expensive divorce.

He has now found a home at Billericay Town, and he admits he’s finally at peace after owning up to his past mistakes.

‘I love it at Billericay because I can just be a footballer, just one of the lads,’ he said. ‘I’ve got football back where I want it to be. I’m the happiest I’ve been for a long time.’



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