LONDON: The wife of football legend George Best said on Tuesday she was separating from her husband.
Alex Best, 31, issued a statement saying she would be living apart from the 57-year-old former Manchester United and Northern Ireland star following reports that her husband, who had a liver transplant to help combat the damage done by his alcoholism, had started drinking again and was having affairs with other women.
In her statement Alex Best said: It's with deep sadness that I have to announce my separation from George Best.
I have tried to be there for him during his recent well-catalogued problems but the situation is now that it is not right for us to be together. have always supported George and always will but for the present we will be living separate lives, added Alex, who married Best in 1995.
Best had his life-saving liver operation just over a year ago and special tablets were placed in his new liver which cause an allergic reaction if mixed with alcohol.
However, despite being warned that any more alcohol could kill him, Best was seen drinking in a Surrey hotel in July where he was arrested. He was subsequently released without charge.
Best has since been photographed with other women, and been the subject of a number of kiss-and-tell revelations in the British press.
A spokesman for the couple said later Tuesday he was trying to contact George for a comment.
Best was one of the stars of the Manchester United team that won the European Cup in 1968 and a combination of talent and good looks made him Britain's first 'superstar' player, paving the way for the lucrative endorsement deals enjoyed currently by the likes of David Beckham.
But drinking helped cut short his playing career and his troubles in dealing with his personal problems have made him the subject of thousands of newspaper articles for more than 25 years.
However, recently he has enjoyed a new role as a football analyst with British satellite broadcaster Sky Sports.