Ex-Sky Sports pundit Andy Gray has admitted that he considered taking his own life following his sacking.
The 56-year-old, who was sacked in a sexism row that erupted following comments he made about a female official, told the London Evening Standard that he was emotionally damaged by the criticism.
When asked whether he had thought about suicide, he made the admission: “Yes. I would be lying if I said I didn’t.
“I had never felt like I have felt from January 25 [last year] onwards.”
“I watch Sky every day so it’s there in my face, in my home. I’m not one of those who take anything for granted. I used to wake up every morning and say, ‘Thank you Lord for this’. A bit of the joy has gone.”
Recalling the controversy, which also saw host Richard Keys resign after his enforced suspension, Gray added: “It happened on a Saturday morning.
“I got a call on Monday from [deputy head of Sky Sports] Andy Melvin just telling us, ‘Don’t come in today for Monday night football’. It escalated from there for some reason, I’ve no idea why.”
The 56-year-old was axed by the satellite broadcaster after leaked footage showed him making sexist remarks about female assistant referee Sian Massey.
Further footage then emerged of him again criticising Massey and making a suggestive remark to colleague Charlotte Jackson.
He added: “This was a private bit of banter released to the social media and for some reason the press tore us apart. I have no problems with a woman referee. It wasn’t a criticism, it was a light-hearted quip.
“I wish I’d never said it and, if I caused Sian any problems, then of course I’m terribly disappointed. Richard phoned her, apologised on our behalf and she said: ‘Don’t be so stupid, guys’.”
Defending himself, the ex-footballer said: “In 20 years in studios up and down the country I’ve heard people saying things off camera that would make your hair curl.
“I do not see myself as sexist. Not in a million years. I have four daughters and I was brought up by a wonderful mother on her own. She’s 91 and is distraught about what happened.”