Angie Best has revealed the devastating effects George Best’s alcoholism and depression had on her and their son Calum.
The former model (67), who was married to the Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend for six years, said she had “no clue” what she was getting into when she met him.
“You couldn’t help loving George, everyone did, he was such a sweet, wonderful, loving man, but I had no clue at all what I was getting into with him,” she told the Daily Mail.
“He tried rehab twice - it was absolutely useless. All he did was end up having an affair with one of the clinicians.”
“I didn’t want to give up on George. I kept thinking, ‘Okay, there must be a way to fix this.’ But we could never find one because what I realise now was George didn’t want to be cured. He had depression but in those days we didn’t know what that was.”
Angie tried to control George’s partying, but he would find ways around her interventions.
“Being married to an alcoholic makes you such a horrible, ugly person,” she said.
“I’d make him take his Antabuse [tablets which cause vomiting if alcohol is consumed afterwards] every morning, sticking his tongue out to prove he’d swallowed it, but he’d hide the pills between the gap in his front teeth. Weeks later, I’d find them in his jeans’ pockets"
“Once it got so drastic I broke up a sleeping pill and put it in his tea to try to make him stay home. He slept for 24 hours, it was terrifying. I didn’t try that again.
“You want to say to their friends, ‘Don’t let him drink’ but they don’t give a s***.”
After Calum was born, three years into their marriage, the Essex woman found herself feeling more alone than ever.
“Calum was three weeks old and George went on a bender for two weeks,” she said.
“I sat on my chair with the needlepoint and the baby, looking out of the window all night long every night, thinking, ‘Is he all right? What is he doing?’ I’ll never forget that pain.”
The couple separated the following year. Angie remained in the US, but Calum was allowed to return to the UK regularly to see his dad.
However, Calum would return home with “terrible” stories of neglect, including when Best left his then 11-year-old son alone in a hotel room all night while he went out drinking.
“It was so heartbreaking," Angie said.
"Calum would come back with terrible stories and I couldn’t say or do anything, because getting mad wouldn’t have changed anything.
“George couldn’t see past the end of his nose, let alone be a father to his son, but I still never, ever stopped Calum from seeing him."
She added: “A child needs both parents, so I had to allow him to go down this path. If I’d put blockages in the way he would have just found some way round them.”
Angie now lives in Henley-on-Thames, outside London, with her partner of 22 years, former professional ice-hockey player Mark Miller, and their three rescue dogs.
“The relationship I have got now is the one I want. Mark doesn’t drink and he’s perfect. He’s the same organic and healthy person that I am.”
Speaking about her past life, the former Playboy bunny said she has “no regrets”.
“I wouldn’t change any of what happened, because now my son is a guru and I have an amazing life.
"It’s just such a shame George is not here to see it all but that was his choice."