United Kingdom

Rebekah Vardy recalls the gloom of childhood festive ban

Personal Stories
United Kingdom
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LEE GARRETT. (December 23, 2023 Saturday). Rebekah recalls the gloom of childhood festive ban; HOW SHE SPENT CHRISTMAS DAY AS A YOUNG JEHOVAH'S WITNESS. Leicester Mercury. https://advance.lexis.com/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:69XX-2NW1-DYTY-C0G6-00000-00&context=1516831.

REBEKAH Vardy has revealed how Christmas was a dismal time for her as a youngster.

The wife of Leicester City striker Jamie said the "controlling" culture of her Jehovah's Witness upbringing meant the festive season was avoided at all costs, with her family claiming that Christmas was simply a "dressed-up pagan festival".

Things were so bad that anything remotely Christmas-themed at school saw her pulled from class, she wrote in The Spectator magazine.

Rebekah said: "When the big day came, my family just went out knocking on doors as usual, looking for souls to save.

"I'd skulk behind them, praying that none of my school friends were on the other side of those doors."

Earlier this year, Rebekah fronted a Channel 4 documentary on the Jehovah's Witness lifestyle.

She further explores her upbringing in her Spectator column, in which she says the "controlling"

from her family lasted until the age of 15.

It was even claimed that she would die if she "didn't follow the rules".

Rebekah, who has also starred in ITV's I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and Dancing on Ice, says she was rejected by friends for years as a child growing up in the religion. The result was an "unusual childhood", with the family subjecting her to forms of abuse.

She said: "That kind of abuse, including what I suffered at an early age, can make you feel like you are beyond repair and damaged forever.

"But life, for me, is very different now. I think of myself as a survivor, not a victim."

She no longer follows the religion and is not against the millenarian faith as a whole, but believes there needs to be greater scrutiny of the approach adopted to children who are brought up in it.

She said: "Freedom of religion is important - but I do wonder whether we should be doing more to protect children when it comes to cult-like religious institutions. This question needs more attention than it is getting." The Spectator column also sees Rebekah touch on the infamous

Wagatha Christie libel trial which she lost to Coleen Rooney.

Rebekah, who has always denied being the source of any leaked information to The Sun newspaper, said she had moved on from the case.

She added that thinking about it was a "total waste of time and energy".

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