'I told Tom he would lose me and the kids': Nicola McLean gave husband Williams an ultimatum over his secret gambling addiction
14:30 GMT, 23 September 2012
To the outside world, it looks like Tom Williams has it all – a successful footballing career, a glamour model wife and two adorable sons.
However, the Notts County defender, 32, admitted his eight year relationship with Nicola McLean nearly ended after he hid his 30,000-a-week gambling addiction from her.
The first the Celebrity Big Brother star knew about her husband's debts was when bailiffs arrived at the door threatening to repossess their 900,000 Buckinghamshire home last year.
Back on track: Nicola McLean and her husband Tom Williams, pictured on September 18, have worked together to overcome his gambling addiction
Speaking about their financial drama for the first time, Nicola admitted she was devastated to discover her husband had risked their home with his addiction.
Former I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! star Nicola, 31, ended up taking her husband to a Gamblers Anonymous (GA) meeting after he acknowledge he needed help.
Nicola was horrified when she learned Tom had been staying up all night spending up to 30,000 on online betting sites while she and the children Rocky and Striker had been sleeping.
It was only after the bailiffs arrived demanding money 18 months ago, that she confronted her husband.
Ultimatum: The glamour model admitted the first she knew about his problems was when the bailiffs arrived
Speaking about his problems for the first time, the mother-of-two told The People: 'I told Tom there and then if he didn't face up to the truth and get professional help we would be over.
'I gave him an ultimatum. I told tom he would lose me and kids.'
In the weeks and months that followed, the couple had to put their celebrity lifestyle on hold, with Nicola admitting there were some days she didn't have enough money to go and buy a pint of milk.
Tom revealed as the gambling debts rolled in, he stopped paying the mortgage and household bills.
Fit: Nicola and actress Chelsee Healey competing in the Virgin Active London Triathlon on Saturday
His growing debt only prompted him to go for higher stakes in the hope of winning back money to pay them off.
It's now been 18 months since Tom last gambled and he is hoping he can stay in control of his addiction, which he admits it a huge unspoken problem in the footballing community.
He told The People: 'It's a private thing, you totally keep it to yourself. I had the money but I was bankrolling my gambling.
'I was earning good money so I should have been able to buy cars, houses, anything I wanted, but I gambled it away instead.'
Fortunately, Tom is now in control of his addiction and has fixed the family's finances.