Michael Owen has revealed he sought advice about his mental health and his jealousy over his wife’s relationship with their eldest daughter Gemma.
Gemma, 19, shot to fame as a contestant this year the island of love and often spoke to his comrades about his close connection to his family.
His famous footballing father left the sport in 2013 after an illustrious 17-year career playing for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Newcastle, Stoke and England.
Writing in his autobiography Restart, Owen said he had mental health issues when he retired from football and was intentionally harsh on his wife Louise over matters that would ‘push his buttons’, including his closeness to their eldest daughter .
“For years, because of my own inner demons, I was intentionally very hard on Louise about things I knew would push her the most, including her close relationship with our daughter Gemma,” he said. he writes.
“Let me be very clear and say that none of this was in any way a reflection of how I felt about Gemma or Louise. I love them both with all of me.
“I would do anything for Louise, though. I would accuse her of spending all her time with her eldest and ignoring the other kids. That wasn’t even true.”
But while Owen says looking back his accusations weren’t true, he still sought professional help.
Family psychotherapist Fiona Yassin from The wave clinic says it’s a fact that sometimes the special bond between mother and child can become a wedge inside a marriage and therapy is a good way out.
“Triangulation in families can actually start long before birth,” she explains. “Even though mum and dad can make joint parenting decisions these days, it’s really only mum who connects and carries the baby, and indeed, has that unique bond in utero.
“No matter how hard the dad tries to include himself, it’s a unique bond that just can’t be denied. And then, of course, once a baby is born, he just has this perfect vision. to see mum while she feeds him – again, it continues that already strong bond, especially if mum is the primary caregiver and dad returns to work.
“On occasion this bond can feel like it’s becoming a bit of a wedge in marriages and dad can feel a bit left out or jealous of the bond between mum and baby. As this progresses – and as the child grows – alignment in the family may continue to be difficult.”
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And Yassin says it’s not uncommon for parents to seek therapy because of family dynamics.
“Frankly, that’s exactly the right approach if there’s some underlying jealousy,” she adds. “Although it is important to emphasize that therapy should not only be for adults in this case, but also for children, as they will no doubt have been affected by this dynamic.”
Owen, 42, and his wife Louise, are childhood sweethearts who met in elementary school. They married in 2005 and have four children, international dressage rider Gemma, James, 16, Emily, 14 and Jessica, 12. The family live in a £4million mansion near Chester.