Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas has opened up about his late wife Gemma's tragic death in 2017, and his own struggles with alcoholism, both before and after his tragic loss.
Appearing on Loose Women, Simon, 49, spoke about turning to alcohol after he lost his partner just three days after she was diagnosed with adult acute myeloid leukaemia.
Having already battled with alcohol addiction, Simon revealed: "I had given up in the August of 2017, but I had done it for other people. If you're doing it for your kids, your loved ones, you're almost always destined to fail.
'When Gemma did die, for the first three weeks, that combining alcohol with grief and trauma was a really bad idea."
He continued: "But when the funeral comes and goes, the true reality of it really hits. After that funeral, after that battle, I walked into the kitchen and saw this bottle of gin and said to myself, 'Go on, you deserve it.'"
Asked if his son was aware of his father's struggles, Simon replied: "I don't think then he was. I'll be bold enough to say you become quite secretive. I had ways of pouring stuff in Diet Coke cans. A bottle of vodka, not every night but a lot of nights.
"It releases you from how you're feeling, but then I found that almost every single time it brings you to dark places."
Recalling what triggered him to stop this drinking, he concluded: "There are a few things, I had honest chats with my wife. Ethan was at an age when he would fully understand when dad drank too much. I got to the stage when I didn't want to put them through it any more."
Earlier this month Simon opened up about his struggles with alcohol addiction in a candid Instagram post describing how his relationship with booze went from using it as a "social mask" to drinking as an escape from the pain he felt.
The TV presenter, who welcomed a baby girl with his wife Derrina in October 2022, wrote over a black background: "One year ago today, I decided that as far as my relationship with alcohol was concerned – enough was enough.
He then spoke about how he believed for many years that he had the she same kind of relationship with alcohol as many other men in their 20s and 30s, adding "when I was on it – I was on it!"
"It became an expression of me, it was all or nothing. I had no off switch. This wasn't something I was proud of & as a Christian, I felt ashamed," he shared.
Simon said nearly all of his biggest mistakes and regrets can all be traced back to drinking alcohol. He continued: "On more than one occasion it had taken me to the precipice of ending it all; & yet, despite having a beautiful wife, an amazing son & family & friends who loved me I felt trapped.
"I had tried giving up before but it had always ended in failure. Why? Because in truth I was doing it for others, the worried friends & family; but not really for myself."
Simon ended his lengthy statement by explaining his reason for posting his story as he wrote: "I am not posting this today for likes or pats on the back; but simply to encourage others. Encourage those who are maybe struggling right now & others who have taken this step as well."
"It may not feel like it; but there is always a way out of this; but as I have finally learnt – it has to, & can only start with you," he added.
If you have been affected by this story, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org.
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