Prince William Shares Heartfelt Support for Soccer Star Who Revealed Struggle With Abuse and Addiction

Dele Alli is speaking out for the first time.

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (C), President of the Football Association speaks with England football players
(Image credit: Photo by Charlotte Graham / Getty)

Prince William has thrown his support behind a soccer star who revealed his struggle with sleeping pill addiction and his history of abuse in an interview for the first time, after he spent six weeks in rehab in the U.S.

Quote-tweeting a clip from Dele Alli's interview with The Overlap, the Prince of Wales wrote, "Brave and inspirational @dele_official. Discussing mental health is not a sign of weakness. Let’s keep the conversation going. 

"We’re all with you and we wish you the very best. W"

Alli revealed the difficult childhood history that contributed to his struggles with addiction.

"At six, I was molested by my mum's friend who was at the house a lot. My mum was an alcoholic," he told soccer commentator Gary Neville (via Sky Sports).

"I was sent to Africa to learn discipline. Then I was sent back. Seven, I started smoking. Eight I started dealing drugs, selling drugs. An older person told me they wouldn't stop a kid so I'd ride around with my football and then underneath I'd have the drugs.

"Eleven, I was hung off a bridge by a guy from the next estate. At 12, I was adopted. And from then, I was adopted by an amazing family, I couldn't have asked for better people to do what they've done for me… If God created people, it was them. They are amazing and have helped me a lot."

In the clip reshared by William, Alli said, "One morning ... I remember just looking in the mirror ... and I was asking if I could retire now. At 24, you know, doing the thing I love. For me, it was heartbreaking."

He continued, "It's always been me against myself in everything. I was winning the fight, smiling, showing that I was happy, but inside I was definitely losing the battle. Trauma is trauma, and your body registers it in the same way no matter what it is."

He also explained that he was sharing his story to show other people that they're not alone and that it's OK to ask for help.

Prince William has made mental health awareness one of his principal causes for years, most notably starting the Heads Together campaign with Princess Kate and Prince Harry in 2017 to raise awareness and break the stigma around mental health.

He is also a longtime soccer fan, and previously met Alli in person while visiting a group of England players back in 2018.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, please visit the National Alliance on Mental Health website to find resources. For help with addiction, please visit Narcotics Anonymous.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.