Neil “Razor” Ruddock credits his model and TV personality missus Leah, 38, for saving his life and stopping him falling off the wagon as he recovers from surgery.
He said: “I’d go on four-day benders and just disappear. I’d go to the pub and kidnap people I didn’t know – buy the drinks just so they would sit and talk to me and get p****d with me.
“I’m no good on my own and I’m no good to myself, but Leah saved my life and changed my lifestyle.”
Leah is ensuring he sticks to healthy food and goes for long walks on the beach near their home.
But although his recovery plan consists of “taking it easy”, Razor admitted he hasn’t been able to totally kick booze and smoking.
He said: “My wife’s not a drinker, but we have a glass of wine if we have a dinner.
“I’m trying to cut the cigarettes down. Leah doesn’t let me have any fatty foods – she’s driving me f***ing mad to be honest.
“It’s hard for me to cut drink, go on a diet and cut my fags.
“Even the doctor said, ‘Take everything gradually, you’re going in the right direction, that’s all you can. You can’t just stop, stop, stop.”
Leah has also got him into spirituality as he continues to lose weight and get fitter.
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Ruddock – renowned for his brutal tackling during his Premier League career – said: “We are very spiritual – my wife’s got me into it. We’ve got Jesus everywhere.
“We’ve got a painting of Jesus in the downstairs toilet – that’s how religious me and my wife are.
“But I do believe.”
Razor joked there is no chance of exerting himself during sex, saying he has to “book myself in with the missus” for any strenuous bedroom antics.
Razor, Leah and their children live in picturesque Ashford, Kent.