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Rebekah Vardy, wife of Premier League star, opens up about childhood as Jehovah's Witness, labels it a 'cult'

Rebekah Vardy, the wife of Leicester City star Jamie Vardy of the English Premier League, opened up about her upbringing and what it was like growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness.

Vardy talked about her childhood as part of a documentary for England’s Channel 4. She took on the role of a reporter and interviewed several other former Jehovah’s Witnesses who have claimed to have had harrowing experiences as a member of the Christian denomination.

The 41-year-old TV personality described the faith as a “cult” in an interview with The Mail on Sunday.

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Rebekah Vardy and Jamie Vardy

Rebekah Vardy and Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy following the Premier League match at The King Power Stadium, Leicester. Picture date: Sunday May 22, 2022. (Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

“People are manipulated, brainwashed, it’s coercive behavior and it is handed down from generation to generation,” Vardy told the outlet. “Once you’re in it, it’s so hard to see the bigger picture, which is that it’s wrong and immoral.

“I spent my childhood fearful, being told we were going to die in Armageddon if we didn’t pray enough. I felt I had to constantly strive for perfection so that God would not be angry with me.

“Jehovah’s Witnesses call someone who’s not a Witness a ‘worldly person’. I am the worst kind of worldly person because I have had the courage — along with all the people brave enough to talk to me for my documentary — to speak out against this religion and say it’s dangerous.”

Vardy said she wasn’t allowed to celebrate Christmas or birthdays as part of being in the religion. It’s just two of the restrictions in the faith. The others include premarital sex, homosexuality, gender transitioning, adultery, drunkenness, drug abuse and blood transfusions. Vardy said if someone cursed on television, the program would be turned off.

Rebekah Vardy in 2018

Rebekah Vardy, wife of Jamie Vardy prior to the FIFA World Cup, Quarter Final match at the Samara Stadium. (Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)

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According to The Daily Mail, Vardy explained in the documentary she was abused by a man known to the family who was not a Jehovah’s Witness when she was 12. She said she told her mother about it who in turn when to a Jehovah’s Witness “Elder” for guidance. Vardy said it was suggested to her that she “misinterpreted” the abuse for affection.

She added in the documentary she was “basically manipulated into believing it wasn’t the best thing to do to take it any further and take it to the police. The impact on me was wild.”

“I just blamed myself,” she told The Mail on Sunday. “I felt I hadn’t been good enough, I deserved it. It all goes back to that childhood pattern of seeking perfection.”

Vardy said the impact had a tremendous effect on her life. She said she attempted suicide at 14 and began to couch surf by 15.

Rebekah Vardy in Russia

Fern Hawkins, girlfriend of Harry Maguire, Rebekah Vardy, wife of Jamie Vardy of England during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Third Place match between England and Belgium at Saint Petersburg stadium on July 14, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Jehovah’s Witness pushed back on some of Vardy’s claims. The religious organization told Channel 4 that elders are told to report any allegations of child abuse to the authorities. The group also rejected the notion that being expelled from the religion can lead to suicidal thoughts.

“Courts have rejected the allegation that disfellowshipping and so-called shunning results in social isolation and discrimination,” the group said. “And it is simply misleading and discriminatory to imply that our religion is controlling.”

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Vardy married the soccer player in 2016. She has five children from three different relationships.

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