PAUL Gascoigne has battled with alcohol addiction and mental health issues for more than 20 years, with a number of controversies keeping him in the spotlight even after he retired from football.
The troubled ex-England midfielder has been in-and-out of hospital and rehab in a bid to “get free of his demons” – here's the lowdown on the highs and lows of his life…
Who is Paul Gascoigne?
Paul Gascoigne was born May 27, 1967 and is a former England football star.
Since he retired, Paul – affectionately known as Gazza – and his public struggle with addiction has made front-page news.
But as a talented player, he also adorned the back pages, and has been described as the most naturally-gifted English footballer of his generation.
The 53-year-old was born and raised in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, starting his career at Newcastle United as a schoolboy before turning professional with the club in 1985.
He had a troubled childhood, and his early life was spent sharing a single room in a council house with his family.
When he was 10, the brother of a friend Steven Spraggon was killed by an ice-cream van while out with Gazza – something he felt was his fault and left him wracked with guilt.
He developed a twitch, was unable to sleep and started stealing to fund an addiction to gambling machines.
But despite being taken into therapy, he quit the sessions after his dad expressed doubts over the treatment.
Gazza was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2001, and has also suffered with obsessive compulsive disorder, depression and bulimia.
What is Paul Gascoigne's net worth?
Considering his football career, Gazza doesn't have a big wealth.
He has an estimated fortune of £100,000, though one site says it could have increased to $1,000,000 in the last year.
His wealth was acquired mostly through being a footballer in the '80s and '90s.
Who did Gazza play for?
In 1988 he joined Tottenham Hotspur for a record British fee of £2.2million, winning the FA Cup.
His club career took him to Lazio and later Rangers, where he won two Scottish titles and two trophies.
Gazza returned to the Premier league to play for Middlesborough and Everton, followed by spells with Burnley, Gansu Tianma in China and non-league side Boston United, retiring from professional football.
He spent two months as player-coach at the newly-founded Portuguese team Algarve United, but a contract never materialised so he left.
Gazza made his England debut in 1988 and was capped 57 times, scoring 10 goals and helping his side to the semi-final of Italia '90.
It was during England's semi-final clash with West Germany that Gazza won the hearts of fans after a booking caused him to burst into tears on the pitch.
The yellow card meant he would have been banned from playing in the final if England had made it, but they went out on penalties.
In October 2005 he was appointed manager of Conference North club Kettering Town, lasting just 39 days.
The club's owner claimed Gazza drank almost every day during his tenure.
In 2010 he was almost appointed manager of Garforth Town but turned down the offer.
Does Gazza have children?
Gazza has three children.
Two of them are stepchildren from his marriage to Sheryl Gascoigne – Celebrity Big Brother star Bianca and her brother Mason.
Sheryl and Gazza also had a child of their own, Regan.
In 2018, Gazza began dating art gallery boss Sara Lovatt, but he revealed on August 9 that they had ended the relationship.
What controversies has Gazza caused?
Gazza became known for his outlandish celebrations – which include the 'dentist's chair' in Euro 1996, mimicking an infamous team night-out which saw him allegedly strapped to a chair while a barman poured tequila down his throat.
But the consequences of another of his celebrations were much more sinister than a few tabloid front pages.
Gazza received a death threat from the IRA after his infamous “flute-playing” antics while playing for Rangers in a powder-keg Old Firm clash in 1998.
It was a reference to the protestant Orange walk marchers playing the Sash – and an attempt to wind up the home crowd at Celtic Park.
The police even gave him a special mirrored device to check under his car for bombs in the aftermath of the game.
One of the troubled star's most bizarre antics came during murderer Raoul Moat's stand-off with police.
Gazza revealed he snorted 14 lines of cocaine before attempting to intervene in the armed siege – bringing a fishing rod and cooked chicken.
Moat shot his ex-girlfriend and killed her new boyfriend before blinding policeman David Rathband by blasting him with a shotgun.
He said later that after seeing the Moat stand-off on the news, he became convinced that he was his friend – despite not knowing him – and that he needed to help him.
At the time, he told Metro Radio: "I just want to give him some therapy and say 'come on Moaty, it's Gazza'".
In 2019 Paul Gascoigne was found not guilty of sexually assaulting a woman on a train after he kissed her on the lips.
He was accused of forcefully and sloppily kissing the stranger while he was drunk on a York to Durham train last August.
The ex-footballer claimed to have heard a man make an abusive comment about the woman's weight and, to boost her confidence, he gave her a kiss on the lips, before telling her she was neither fat nor ugly.
Gascoigne wept in the dock when the jury foreman announced the not guilty verdict for the sexual offence after a four day trial.
What other controversies has Gazza been involved in?
Gazza gained a reputation as a playboy and party animal during his playing days in the 1980s and 1990s and after:
- In October 2010 he was arrested for drink-driving and admitted to being four times over the legal limit.
- Then, one day after receiving a stern warning that he could face jail time, he was arrested again – this time for cocaine possession.
- After a couple of spells in rehab, Gazza was fined £1,000 in 2013 after he admitted drunkenly assaulting a railway security guard at Stevenage station.
- And after a seventh stint in rehab in 2014, he was sectioned later that year under the Mental Health Act.
- But by far one of the ex-Spurs ace's most controversial moments came in 2016, when he was fined £1,000 for humiliating a black security guard with a racist joke.
- The fallen star was also ordered to pay £1,000 in compensation after admitting to telling the bouncer, who was standing in the shadows at the side of the stage: “Can you smile please, because I can’t see you?”
- Gazza swore on a breakfast BBC Radio 5 Live show as he was reunited with his former England team-mate Chris Waddle. Waddle told Gascoigne to “start talking proper now”, to which Gascoigne said: “I’m a Geordie, how the f*** can I speak … ooh sorry, how can I speak properly?” Gazza later apologised.
Why was Gazza's house robbed?
On Monday, August 31, 2020, Piers Morgan posted a photo of Paul sitting in the audience for the filming of Vinnie Jones' interview on Life Stories.
Police think it's possible that Piers' picture, shared on Twitter, would have alerted thieves that Paul wasn't home in his flat, which is in Poole, Dorset.
Piers has since made a plea to the public to help find these criminals.
Paul was robbed of £140,000 worth of jewellery, some of which belonged to his late dad – Paul has made a plea, asking for these items to be returned.
Unbelievably, the robbers also took two steaks from Paul's freezer.
Thieves managed to loot: five watches, two bracelets, three rings, diamond earrings, £800 designer sunglasses and a real New York Police Department badge.
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