Ian Wright speaks out on Desert Island Discs reaction ‘We thought we should address it’

Ian Wright breaks down as he remembers childhood teacher

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Ian Wright, 57, has spoken candidly about his struggles during his childhood in the past and being traumatised with the memories of a violent stepfather and a mother who found it difficult to love him. The former Arsenal striker has since addressed his appearance on Desert Islands Discs on BBC Radio 2 with Lauren Laverne.

The Match of the Day pundit gave a rare insight into his earlier years on the programme and shared soundtracks that resonated with his life, but the candid conversation admittedly had him “welling up”.

The former footballer opened up about the violence he faced as a youngster and the lack of love that had touched a nerve for him while speaking on-air.

Ian has since revealed that his debut on the BBC show last year had led him to make his latest documentary Home Truths which focuses on domestic abuse.

Speaking in a new interview, the former Crystal Palace star explained the candid moment forced him to address the issue.

Ian said: “The number of people who got in touch and said they’d experienced the same thing.

“It was in droves, my friend, to the point where we thought we should address it.”

He added that his new documentary is as much for his sake as other people’s.

Speaking about his childhood trauma, Ian explained if he hadn’t gone to therapy at the age of 32 he would have been “scarred”.

Addressing if he continued to ignore his troubled childhood, Ian added to Radio Times: “I’d be too scarred and too angry.

“I’ve spent many, many years just being angry because when you’re a child and you’re being abused, you don’t know why it’s happening. You’re confused, and that brings a lot of anger.”

He concluded: “I’ve had a lot of anger in my life and I’ve been fortunate enough to get help for it. If I hadn’t, I couldn’t tell you where that would have gone.”

The documentary Home Truths is set to air next month and Ian shares his own story and investigates what effect growing up in a psychologically abusive and violent home has on children in the UK.


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During his Desert Islands appearance, Ian became emotional at the start of the programme.

Lauren began: “As a professional footballer he was a late starter. When he signed with Crystal Palace – initially for three months – he was 21 and a Sunday League player working as a labourer to support his young family.

“It was the generosity of his foreman who said to him that his job would be waiting for him if football didn’t work out that persuaded him to take the deal.”

She continued: “Thank goodness he did. He went on to become world-class, one of the greatest strikers of his generation, the second-highest scorer of all time at Arsenal, and won 33 caps for England. Enthusiasm, exuberance and flair were his defining characteristics on the pitch.


“A superstar player whose enormous skill was matched by his love of the game.”

Lauren finished: “Now a successful pundit he’s as passionate and opinionated as ever.”

Following the heartwarming introduction, Ian admitted he was becoming emotional.

He said: “This is making me well up.”

You can read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times.

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