Former England football star Paul Gascoigne revealed his heart stopped three times while in rehab in a television interview being broadcast today.
Gazza told Sky News presenter Kay Burley that last year’s sudden rumours that he had died were closer to the truth than the public realised.
“My heart failed on us a few times,” he said, adding that his father John had collapsed with worry at his illness.
Gascoigne, a brilliant footballer whose career was marred by alcohol and violence towards his ex-wife Cheryl, has endured a love-hate relationship with the British public.
Addressing his attack on Cheryl, he said: “ Yes, I got hold of her arms and I did put my head against her head, I didn’t headbutt her but I threw her to the floor, and I was disgusted with myself for what I did”.
“I went to therapy; I sat with 15-20 women and told them exactly what I did. I got punched by a few women for doing what I did, but I took the punches and I accepted it. It is the one thing I ever did in my life, and I get hammered for it.”
In a startlingly frank admission he says he feels “used” by his son Regan.
He said: “I drive down to be with my son and he takes us to the school and shows (his friends), ‘This is my dad’. I went
to assembly and signed everything for the kids, and then it’s proved to everyone that I am his dad — then he goes back home and that leaves me, I don’t know, I feel like I am being used by my own son here.”
The interview, in the company of his father, sister Lindsay and two young nephews, shows the ex-Newcastle and Tottenham player having a kickabout on the beach. He proudly declares: “No-one is ever going to be as good as I was.”
Gascoigne has had a well-publicised battle with alcohol, and admits that only four months ago he was drinking 30 cans of Special Brew (strong lager) per day.
\[Brian Lovett\]In reference to his religious beliefs, he says: "I just thank him for today you know, if I don’t drink I just say thanks, thanks for not letting me have a drink today."
But the sportsman says he can be around alcohol without giving in to temptation.
"I can be around it now because all I have got to do is remember my last ’drunk’. If I remember my last drunk, which I can’t - well I sort of can, getting fed with a spoon because I had the shakes that bad."
\[Brian Lovett\]He also describes his suicide attempt.
"In the bath, yes, it’s the easy way out they say, you know, take a few sleeping tablets, nice little warm bath and have a few drinks and just drop. I had just had enough, I had had enough of everything, you know."
Gascoigne continues: "I rang my sister just to say, I am going to run a bath. I think she might have had a clue, I don’t know if it was a plea for help.
"And I just said, look, I am in the bath and I will always love you, or something like that, and put the phone down. I laid in the bath and just felt myself dropping off and I remember just getting ready, like dozing off, and then the police burst in. About six police dragged us out of the bath."
Highlights of the interview will be broadcast on Sky News from 6am today.