Ex-Everton flop Andy Van Der Meyde has lifted the lid on how his life spiralled out of control during his time on Merseyside.
In a candid interview with BBC Radio Five Live, the Dutchman speaks openly about a number of problems in his personal life.
Perhaps the most bizarre example of this is the story of how he covered up an affair by claiming he needed to rest his injuries in a hotel. He was in fact living with another woman in a city centre apartment.
Van Der Meyde said: “I said to my ex-wife that I wanted to go to a hotel because I was injured at the time and I needed some rest. But that was not the case – I was just cheating on her.
“After one week I was going home all the time and getting more clothes and she thought something was not right. She tried to follow me with cars but I was driving a little too quick so they couldn’t get me.
“The next time I came home they put a sensor in the car that they could follow me easily and it led to the apartment where I was living in Liverpool. I lived on the top floor and you could see everything I was doing.
“A private detective had videos and photos of me and my new girlfriend and then my wife rang me and said ‘How’s your new girlfriend?’. I was still denying it then.”
He said that injuries he sustained early in his Everton career, homesickness and personal problems saw him turn to drink.
He said: “For me it was a way to get out and not think about my problems. I could do what I wanted, I had a lot of money, I could buy what I wanted and I could get girls that I wanted.
“It was very easy. Then you can quickly go off the rails because there is no limit and you could do what you wanted. For me it was going out and drinking, and not thinking of reality.”
After being released by the Toffees, he stayed in Liverpool hoping to rekindle an old romance… but ended up turning to drugs.
He continued: “I never took drugs while I was playing at Everton. That was after I stayed another year living in Liverpool and had no club and I was taking drugs.
“I was living there alone with a friend and we were just going out and taking drugs. On Friday and Saturday we’d go out and do stupid things because you don’t see reality and I was hoping I could get my relationship back with my ex-girlfriend.”
The 33-year-old is now retired from football.