My addiction didn't end with drink and drugs – I had a breakdown aged 49, admits Strictly's Tony Adams | The Sun

STRICTLY'S Tony Adams has opened up about his battle with drink and drugs – and how he had a breakdown at 49.

The 55-year-old captained both Arsenal and England during his 19 year professional football career.

But despite his success at a club and international level, Tony's battle with alcoholism began in the mid-1980s and he was even briefly imprisoned in 1991 after crashing his car while over the limit.

Tony had previously opened up about his alcoholism and recovery in his 1998 autobiography, Addicted, but during an interview ahead of his stint on Strictly, he has revealed his addictive personality lead to other health problems too.

Speaking about why he decided to take part in Strictly, he told The Sun Online: "I'm 26 years without drinking or drugs and I want to bring some mental health and addiction awareness around life and what I do today.

"I run a business, I run a couple of charities and dance is all part of the process. We use dance therapy at the rehab, and it's good for the mind."

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He continued: "I thought well go for it, you know? I had a mental breakdown when I was 49 and I was working too hard.

"My new addiction was working too hard and the stress…I had a heart condition. And I went 'well, that's it, I'm going to take things a bit easier….after Strictly.

"You can do anything when you're free of drink and drugs, I'm 26 years without drinking or drugs, you can do anything, that's my message."

He added with a laugh: "Make yourself look an absolute idiot!"

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Tony retired as a footballer in August 2002, becoming the most successful captain in Arsenal's history, and the only player in English football history to have captained a title-winning team in three different decades.

He then moved into football management, starting with Wycombe Wanderers in 2003 before moving on to Portsmouth, where he was assistant manager to Harry Redknapp, before becoming manager for a brief period in 2009.

He also worked with international clubs including Azerbaijani side Gabala and Spanish team Granada.

Strictly Come Dancing begins on Saturday, September 17 at 6.10pm on BBC One.

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