On this side of the Atlantic, the name Wayne Rooney is most likely unfamiliar to those who don’t follow international football. Those of us obsessed with World Cup tournaments remember Rooney as the short, powerful striker for England’s national team in 2004 and 2010. On the other side of the pond he is known as the youngest player on England’s national team (when he was just 17), the youngest to score a goal in an international friendly, and as one of the most sexually scandaled 25-year old celebrities on the social circuit.
Rooney started playing on the Everton youth team when he was 9 years old, then made is professional debut on Everton’s Premiere League team when he was 17 before moving onto Manchester United in 2004. For a reasonable basis of comparison, Everton is like the Cincinnati Reds of football (midstream, always with potential but putting it off for another year) and Manchester United like the New York Yankees—the flashy champions with mad skills and huge egos.
Since his time on those teams he’s won loads of «Player of the Year» and «Footballer of the Year» awards, won 70 international caps (appearances in an international game) and been on the field for four Premiere League wins with Manchester. He is the third highest paid footballer internationally (following close behind Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo), raking in about €20.7 million (about $30 million) between his income and sponsorship deals yearly.
For 25-years old, Rooney’s doing alright.
But maybe it was his early spot in the public lights of Britain and their historically maniacal love for their footballers that resulted in a string of Rooney’s hiring of gorgeous, high-end escorts.
Rooney had been dating childhood sweetheart Coleen McLoughlin in 2004. They had purchased a £1 million home together and were newly engaged, she with a £25,000 engagement ring that Rooney himself had designed. This is when the first scandals started to emerge.
When Britain’s The Sun exposed that Rooney had «had sex in a dingy bathroom with £140-a-trick tart Charlotte Glover», McLoughlin hurled the ring into the woods a quarter mile away from their home, and swore the relationship was over.
It came out a month later that he had also had sex ten times with escort Gina McCarrick, 37, for £45 a go and the «Auld Slapper», a 48-year old grandmother, at a Liverpool brothel.
At the time of the trysts, Rooney was 16 years old. He and Coleen evidently hadn’t had sex yet at that point in their relationship, but would meet up for movies or late night meals. He was already in the public spotlight, surrounded by famous players years old than he was.
So when the scandal broke, it was a growing period for the youngster: «I did on occasions visit massage parlours […]. It was at a time when I was very young»
For a while, Rooney did keep his sexual urges out of the spotlight. He and Coleen did not split, as she said in her autobiography that she understood the parameters of the circumstance: Rooney was a young, famous, sexually charged man and their relationship had not yet explored that aspect together. He «cleaned up his act» publicly, and sponsorships started rolling in. They wed in a lavish ceremony in 2008, both beaming, and in 2009 had their first child. Before the disaster that was England in the 2010 World Cup, he noted how being a father had changed is life: «Becoming a dad means you have to be a role model for your son and be someone he can look up to— Now I have someone to look after and I just want to be with Kai and Coleen as much as possible. I don’t go clubbing very much any more, maybe only a couple of times a year. I’m now in bed by 10.30pm.»
Easier said than done, evidently. In 2010 it came out that Rooney had been sleeping around again, many times, including during Coleen’s pregnancy.
It seems, though, that he had grown up a bit since his earlier boyhood escapades. Instead of cheap brothels he was now hiring high-end, educated and beautiful escorts from a legal service. Many footballers on his team did the same, and several escorts could be seen at difference points socially with the men, drinking champagne at clubs or dining in fine restaurants.
The lady that caused the most public damage to Rooney and challenged his relationship was then 21-year old Jenny Thompson. Tall, brunette and with a promising smile, Thompson came for a good family, had an education, and loved living the high life. While Rooney wasn’t the only footballer she had gotten close with, theirs was the most intimate relationship. They had met through one of England’s premiere escort services, an online company that promised discretion for their famous clients, but their short trysts soon turned into something more intimate and their dates extended. She started arranging to meet him outside of her service, for which she was fired. He would take her on his arm to dinner and clubs, and she seemed to glow in his company.
Thompson allegedly always loved the party scene and spotlight. Her affluent parents sent her to an expensive private school as a child, but by age 15 she had rebelled, going to parties and eventually insisting on public school. The escort service she worked for often advertised her as part of a female couple, and she was known to be sexually liberated and explorative. She would escort for about 6 months, then take her savings to Spain and spend time with friends there until her cash flow ended, when she would come home again to work. While other women were escorting to provide for their families or put themselves through school, Thompson just loved the public party life. She had hopes of stopping her escort career to be a real WAG—«wives and girlfriends» of British celebrities.
So it’s no wonder why Rooney was attracted to her. As a friend of Thompson’s noted, «She’s a well-to-do young woman and has had a good education. You’ve only got to look at her to see why Wayne liked her so much.» News later broke that he had also hired Thompson and her partner, Helen Wood, for an exciting threesome in an expensive hotel.
When the scandal broke, all involved were devastated. Rooney flew to Switzerland with his team. Coleen hid in their now £4.5 million home with her parents and son. Her father refused to let Rooney back in the house, and even Rooney’s cousins were encouraging a divorce. Thompson hid under baggy clothes as she went about her business with friends.
And Rooney’s sponsors? While he fully expected to lose out on some of the 6 million in sponsorship he was getting yearly in a similar fashion to his American golf counterpart Tiger Woods, the public was rather unfazed. His publicist Max Clifford noted, «Nobody in football gives a monkey’s as long as he’s winning on the pitch… will it stop people drinking Tiger Beer? No. Will it stop people buying Coca Cola? No. Will it stop parents buying Nike for their children? No.»
A spokesperson for EA Sports, one of his top sponsors, had a similar response: «This is a personal matter and we respect Wayne and his family’s privacy… We have worked together for six years and Wayne continues to represent EA Sports.»
So what might Rooney be feeling about his many years of fidelity and infidelity, of honest dad-and-husband time and crazy nights out on the town?
For all intents and purposes, and despite whatever public shame he might have faced, it seems like Rooney was looking for an out from a relationship that he had gotten into as a boy, before he maybe knew who he was or how he was going to grow while under the bright lights and responsibility of being one of England’s most well-known athletes. Sources close to Rooney and Thompson note that he was never shy of showing her publicly. Unlike other players, who spend great amounts of money to make sure their discretions are kept, well, discrete, Rooney and his publicists made no motion to try to hide Thompson, and it seemed that their affair was common knowledge. While he did, indeed, pay her £1,000 for every date, she was no longer working for an escort service and seemed to specifically be interested in the lifestyle surrounding Rooney and the other footballers she had spent time with.
So this is most likely an age-old tale of child-celebrity. We’ve seen Rooney growing up, trying to figure out who he is, what he wanted and wants from his life, experimenting every step of the way. No doubt he really does love and wants to be devoted to his wife. He did everything he could to secure their relationship after their first public scuffle, and for a while acted the part of devoted father and husband rather well.
After his major 2010 scandal, it was all up in the air again. Rooney noted that if Coleen wanted a divorce, he wasn’t going to try to stop her, a sign that maybe that is what he had wanted the whole time. He presented her with the information—that there was a publication that had written about how he had spent time with an escort and had sex with her many times, and that the story was true. Coleen, angry and hurt but smart and fiercely independent, told him she didn’t need him anymore. Which was true—she had been earning millions independently through television work and book deals.
Rooney’s spot on Manchester United and England’s national team was never questioned. While fans may not have been pleased with his performance on the pitch during the scandals, he seemed to take the time in stride.
And now? Well, Coleen took Rooney back after several days of soul-searching, but evidently their idyllic marriage has taken a huge blow. Where she was once proud to be Rooney’s wife, she now cowers from the public light, assuming everyone’s talking about her behind her back. And as she feels the core of their trust and love had been shattered, Rooney’s feeling a huge burden of guilt that Coleen’s family is not letting him lift: «Wayne knows he’s done wrong but he is starting to think there’s only so long he can eat humble pie»
Looks like maybe these kids still have some growing to do.