Former Republic of Ireland and Stoke City striker Jon Walters appeared on the Late Late Show on Friday night and opened up about the losses his family have suffered in an incredibly emotional interview.
Walters, one of Ireland’s most respected sportsmen of the last decade, retired from the game earlier this year and spoke to Ryan Tubridy about how he has dealt with tragedy in his life.
The 35-year old’s mother passed away when Walters was just 11-years old and he has frequently spoke about dedicating his Irish career to her, one that spanned eight years and 54 caps.
Walters first spoke about the passing of his mother, as he fought back tears outlining that it had almost become a “taboo” subject for the former Irish international over the years.
He also outlined how he felt “lost” at times as he began his football career as a 15-year old with Blackburn Rovers as he discussed her passing.
Walters then went on to discuss another tragedy that befell his family, the loss of his brother last year, before explaining that it was the first of a series of devastating blows in his personal life.
“I’d rather say it and get it out, you just come to terms with it. I was just beginning to speak out about Mum and then we were on pre-season in Cork with Burnley and I got a call off my brother with the bad news.
“What can you do, I went home. You know what, my wife’s here and I don’t really speak about it a lot but I want to tell the story and I…I’ll open up to you randomly. It makes me feel better.
“So my brother passed away and I went back into Burnley the next day to train and then the same day, the day after my brother, my wife lost a baby.”
“I threw myself back into work which is a very common thing to do but at the same time….there was a triple whammy with my daughter…we find out my daughter has scoliosis as well.
“I’m okay with it but it’s when I speak about it, that’s when I struggle with it. I lost James who’s 35. Then obviously dropped a bit of a bombshell there because no one knew about my wife apart from me and her. Then my daughter in the same week…
“I had help from the club doctor at Burnley and Alan Byrne through Ireland. You know to talk through finding out she had scoliosis. And you have to arrange your brother’s funeral all at the same time.