When brave Rebekah Vardy worked up the courage to tell her mother that she had been sexually abused since she was 12, she expected support.
Instead, she claims her mother refused to believe her and reached out to elders of the strictly religious Jehovah’s Witnesses church, who allegedly covered up the abuse.
The alleged betrayal left Rebekah traumatized and led to a lifelong feud with her mother Alison Nicholson, which the tearful WAG addresses in a moving Channel 4 documentary that airs tonight.
Rebekah, 41, tells the documentary: “I’ve been sexually abused since I was 12. So I told my mother about the abuse I was experiencing and she cried but didn’t believe me.
“She told numerous members of my family in the Jehovah’s Witness community and they called a meeting. I think I was around 15 and I realized I had misinterpreted the abuse as a form of affection.
“I knew I hadn’t done that. I knew exactly what was right and what was wrong, and I was told that I could shame my family, and I was basically manipulated into believing that wasn’t for the best.” Don’t take it further and bring it on it to the police.
“It’s hard to imagine how I survived that.”
Rebekah, married to Leicester striker Jamie, calls Jehovah’s Witnesses a “dangerous cult”.
She grew up in the faith in Norwich and was bullied at school, but eventually separated at the age of 15 after being “shamed” of the abuse. Her parents were also shunned by the community because of the divorce.
Her traumatic childhood, which led to an attempted overdose, has created an irreparable rift between Rebekah and mother Alison that would last 25 years.
“I’ve had a difficult relationship with my mother my entire adult life, and we’ve become estranged for the past seven years,” she says.
Here we take a look at the broken relationship behind the explosive claims.
Rebekah remembers a childhood without Christmas parties or birthday parties.
Instead, her young life was filled with Bible studies and visits to the Kingdom Hall, the organization’s church. Books and television were censored and she was warned that bad behavior would bring the wrath of God upon her.
Rebekah wasn’t allowed to invite other children to play, wasn’t allowed to sing hymns at her school assembly, and had no idea what happened during puberty because Church modesty doesn’t allow anyone to talk about it.
Rebekah says she believed she would die in Armageddon (the end of the world) if she misbehaved and recalls being shown “disturbing” images depicting the end of the world.
She says: “One would have to do things to make Jehovah happy because he was always on the alert.”
“Who you spoke to, how you spoke, how you dressed, how you acted, how you lived every part of your life and we were told that if we didn’t pray enough bad things would happen to us .”
Rebekah said she knew from a young age that her family was different and that her membership in the church made her easy prey for bullies at school.
She also feared knocking on the door of a classmate when Jehovah’s Witnesses called to recruit new members.
Rebekah’s parents, Alison and Carlos, separated when she was just 11 years old.
She tells the documentary that church elders were constantly at the family home, trying to “appease” the couple’s disputes.
When Alison and Carlos, a chauffeur working in Bournemouth, separated, her mother suddenly fled the Norwich Witness community and moved her family to Reading, Oxfordshire.
Rebekah still doesn’t know exactly why her mother raised the sticks, but thinks she may have been having an affair that led to her being weeded out of the church.
She tells the documentary: “My mum and dad were going through a tough time and the elders stepped in. They were always in our downstairs living room while we were kids in our bedroom trying to calm the situation down.
“One of my last memories here is how it all started and we left one night and never came back.”
She believes her mother had an affair because “it’s the only way to get divorced in the church.”
She said, “She must have done something that was unacceptable, that was frowned upon and for which she must pay the price.”
When I was 11, I hated life. We lost contact with my grandma and grandpa, they couldn’t visit us… there was so much resentment against both my parents
As a result, the family was “excluded,” meaning they were officially shunned.
“We were rejected by all family members and the community was banned from contact with us,” says Rebekah.
“When I was 11, I hated life. We lost contact with my grandma and grandpa, they couldn’t visit us.”
“I developed so much resentment against both of my parents.”
Rebekah says she was sexually abused by a family friend in her own home every week for more than three years.
But when the terrified teenager confided in her mother at the age of 15, Rebekah claims Alison “didn’t believe her”.
She told Loose Women in 2017, “I’ve been made to feel like it’s my fault, it’s one of those things you don’t talk about.”
Despite being ostracized by the church, Alison allegedly contacted church elders, who told her she misinterpreted the abuse, which they believe was meant as affection.
“I knew exactly what was right and what was wrong, and I was told I could shame my family,” she says. “I was basically manipulated into believing it wasn’t best to pursue the matter further and take it to the police.”
Rebekah says she attempted suicide when she was 14 because she “just wanted to escape” the abuse.
Getting out of control, she left the family home at the age of 15 after falling out with her mother Alison and stepfather Ian.
She ended up sofa surfing until she got a job collecting glasses in a pub and rented a room at a B&B.
Rebekah later said, “I was 15 and should have been a kid.
“I had already overdosed on pills and vodka to end the terrible feelings of shame, fear and anger that there was no way I could escape. I’ve hated myself before.
Rebekah fell into a series of disastrous relationships before meeting Jamie, whom she married in 2016.
Rebekah’s mother failed to attend her daughter’s fairytale wedding in a medieval Cheshire castle.
Her sister Esther and stepbrother Robbie received invitations, but it’s not clear if Rebekah invited her mother to the star-studded event in 2016.
When asked why she didn’t show up, Alison said at the time: “We’d rather not say why, although it’s obvious people will now be wondering why the mother of the bride wasn’t at her 34-year-old daughter’s wedding is in.” .”
Jamie’s parents, Lisa and Phil, also didn’t show up for the wedding after a bitter argument between his new wife.
Jamie’s maternal grandfather, Gerald Clewes, previously said it was “that woman” — meaning Rebekah — who got between the footballer and his parents.
Jamie’s stepfather, Phil, who raised him, said there had been arguments since Rebekah “came on the scene”.
He said about the lavish wedding: “I have nothing directly to do with my son anymore. It’s a shame and very sad.”
Jamie has remained faithful to his wife and supported her in the Wagatha Christie libel case in the High Court last year.
Rebekah sued Coleen Rooney after her WAG colleague accused her of leaking stories to the press.
Rebekah denied using information from Coleen’s private Instagram account but a court ruled against her, leaving her with a £3million solicitor’s bill
Rebekah says she hasn’t spoken to her mother in seven years – around the time of her marriage.
She remains close to her father and Carlos has always been supportive of his daughter. He flew to Australia when she was on I’m A Celeb and was by her side during the Wagatha trial.
In the documentary, Becky says her extended family is still a member of the Church.
In the show, she revisits the Kingdom Hall she once attended and speaks to others who are “shunned” by the organization.
She has no idea if her mother is still a member, but says she is “at peace” because she no longer speaks to her.
She recently said, “You can’t dwell on the past. I have no sympathy for her, but I understand – and therefore there is no bitterness.
“I hate carrying anger and resentment. I would be afraid to pass these qualities on to my own children.”