Alex Scott broke down in tears as she recalled her troubled childhood growing up with an abusive and violent father on Monday’s This Morning.
The former Lioness, 37, admitted that discussing her traumatic past in interviews to promote her memoir How (Not) to Be Strong was the ‘hardest part.
Despite writing about her distressing formative years in the book, she claimed to not have spoken it out loud – and began bawling when Phillip Schofield read a segment.
She had written : ‘When my dad was sober he was a charming guy, but the moment drink was involved that would change. Me, my mum and brother have never spoken about it.’
When the former children’s presenter asked Alex whether it was ‘difficult to write’, she took a moment to regain her composure while filling up with tears.
She said while bawling: ‘The hardest part is, I didn’t write that chapter to shame my dad. I wanted my mum to be free.
‘I want her to believe she’s a role model and move forward. I write in the book she still thinks she’s a coward. She’s anything but.’
Alex recently confessed that before her parents separated when she was seven years old, both she and her brother would frequently hear their father beating their mother – with one incident so violent that she believed her mother had died.
Such was the level of control that her father inflicted that Alex was banned from showing any kind of affection towards her family members, admitting that to this day the trauma has stopped her from being able to hug her mother Carol or brother Ronnie.
Speaking to Steven Bartlett on The Diary of a CEO podcast, Alex admitted they would ‘live in fear’ of upsetting their father Tony and having to deal with the consequences.
Recalling the ‘hardest night’ she experienced, Alex remembered the day of her sixth birthday party when Carol had declined to fetch Tony a drink.
Alex confessed: ‘As soon as everybody leaves that night he doesn’t forget… that was the hardest night that one… My mum is trying to survive for her kids and im in a room listening to everything go on and just hoping she’s alive
‘I heard everything. I heard her trying to run. I just want to hug my mum but I can’t. we weren’t allowed to show love.
‘That’s the control. If we spoke back or didn’t obey orders, didn’t show you were strong – something would happen to me or my brother.’
Speaking about the long-term impact, she continued: ‘To this day I can’t hug my mum. I don’t think I’ve ever hugged my brother because of that environment.’
Speaking about her coping mechanisms as a child, Alex added: ‘The football cage was a safe space. I felt fun, I felt free and at home I was locked in, it was an environment where it was very much controlled.
‘I wanted to love my dad so much, I was daddy’s little girl, but he had this dark side and that’s a side we saw a lot of growing up.
‘Drink helped it out come out a lot more, you could see him turn, that’s how he took it out on all of us, more so my mum.
‘From a baby I could feel it, the environment we’re in. If you step out of line you know what’s going to happen and you don’t want that to happen…
‘What my mum would go through, the terror, the helplessness that you can’t do anything, you’re just living in fear.’
Asked if she ever feared being at home, Alex reasoned: ‘I wanted to go home to protect my mum, to put a shield around her, to be strong for her even though she was doing the same for me and my brother.
‘It’s easy not to talk about it, every single day you see your mum walking on eggshells, she’s scared to have a voice, say something, because she knows what she’s going to go through.’
Alex revealed that when her parents separated her father forced her and her brother to choose which parent they wanted to live with on the spot.
She confessed: ‘I feel sad thinking about him, even to this day… then my dad just goes, leaves with everything, furniture, everything.
‘I’m so lucky I had football. I had that out, something to focus on an environment that gave me structure.
‘My mum puts a lot of blame on herself. I felt guilty as I went to therapy and learnt to go away and talk, but it took my mum back to a place that hurt her.’
After bottling up her feelings for so long Alex used the tools she learned in therapy to help her move forward and heal from her experience and gave her the strength to recount the abuse in her autobiography, How (Not) To Be Strong.
She explained: ‘I’ve hidden it up until now but I’m older, I’m wiser and I don’t want the heaviness of it anymore. I wrote my book hoping it frees my mum and she can move forward from it all.
‘She read it and she loved it. I’ve gone through a lot of stuff that she didn’t know about. I didn’t want her to panic about me. She’s learnt a lot about me, my emotions.
‘She didn’t know that as a child I didn’t sleep because I was listening to see if she would move in the morning.
‘I was shutting off from life, dealing with emotions, not letting anyone in to help me. Doing everything for everyone around me but I needed someone to do something for me.’
Alex went on to reveal that she hasn’t spoken to her father in person for five years after they attend her grandmother’s funeral.
She recalled: ‘He had some drink and said he knows he’s not the person he should’ve been and he carries a lot of regrets and he’s going to change.
‘I remember thinking “I don’t care.” I spent my whole life sending cards, gifts, ringing him jut to check in because I had this guilt he’d be lonely, and from that moment I thought “I’m done.”
‘I didn’t hear from him… it’s just all talk. I’m over it.’
She revealed that her last contact with her father came two years later when she was competing on Strictly Come Dancing and had made it through to Blackpool week.
Alex was shocked when she received a text from Tony out of the blue asking if he could get her tickets to the show for a couple of his friends.
She recalled: ‘He didn’t care about me or ask how I was. All he cared about was Strictly tickets for his mates.
‘I had the courage to write back “that’s wrong” and I think it must have touched him in a way as I’d never done that.
‘Straight away he text back apologising and I thought “this is bulls**t” and I haven’t spoken to him since.’
Yet she revealed that she planned to speak to him before her autobiography was released, noting ‘I have to and I want to.’
She explained: ‘On one hand I’ve done this book to free my mum, on the other hand I’m scared it could ruin my dad’s life and I don’t want that.
‘I need to pluck up some courage because I need to tell him I’ve written stuff that’s not going to be comfortable for him. I truly hope he’s not that person anymore. people change… he doesn’t know anything about me.’
Alex’s candid chat comes after Alex revealed the reason she chose to detail her past relationship with her teammate Kelly Smith in her new memoir.
The footballer, who played alongside Kelly, 43, for both England and Arsenal, confirmed their once rumoured relationship for the first time earlier this week.
Speaking on The One Show on Wednesday, Alex explained that ‘parts of the relationship affected her throughout her life’ and she needed to ‘break the cycle.’
Joining Alex Jones and Jermaine Jenas she explained: ‘I am super private and I will continue to be about my relationships.
‘The only reason why I wrote that chapter because I was doing this book and felt like I was cheating, not only myself but everyone else, if I didn’t include it.’
‘It was such a big part of my life, it’s about me falling deeply in love, that feeling we all wish we would have and I was lucky to have that.’
She added: ‘There are parts of that relationship that have continued, part of that I have carried into other things, that I needed to change. I needed to break the cycle.
‘There was certain parts of that relationship that affected me throughout my life.’
It comes as the footballer candidly admitted that Kelly was her ‘first love’ as she spoke of the ‘heartbreak’ that followed when they split.
In the book, titled How (Not) To Be Strong, Alex lifts the lid on her past and added that it would be ‘cheating’ to not include their time together as they helped each other face their demons.
Sources close to Alex also revealed that she has had relationships with both men and women but ‘doesn’t label herself as anything.’
Speaking to The Mirror at the launch, she explained: ‘I’m writing this book and I want to tell everything. I thought I’d be cheating you all if I didn’t put that in there.
‘For me, it’s like that first love story, I fell madly and deeply in love. And yes, there’s that heartbreak and those things, but it’s a huge part of my life and I wouldn’t go back and change that.
‘Because that feeling of love and that excitement and what it gives you, it needed to be in there.’
Alex recalled how Kelly helped her helped her to deal with her traumatic childhood whilst she battled alcoholism.
A source for Alex added: ‘Alex dates both men and women and doesn’t label herself as anything.
‘This isn’t her big coming out story but was a chapter in her life that she wanted to include in her book because it had such an impact on her.’
Following their split, Kelly went on to marry DeAnna Dobosz in 2016, with whom she has two children.
Alex largely remained tight-lipped about her relationships in the past, though she was rumoured to be in relationship with Coronation Street’s Sam Robertson in 2020.
The footballer detailed her first date with during an interview with The Sun’s Fabulous Magazine in March 2021.
She said: ‘My one date in ages was going out with Sam [Robertson], who is lovely.
‘The next morning, our pictures were all over the press because someone in the restaurant had taken a photo. It wasn’t exactly a great start!’
In a recent interview with The Times, Alex hinted that she was currently single as she admitted she is ready to ‘let her walls down’ and find love again.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse of any kind please contact Refuge for free on 0808 2000 247.