Football Legend Remarries His Ex-Wife- Six Decades After The Stroke-Hit Star First Tied The Knot With Her
England football legend Jimmy Greaves has remarried his ex-wife in an emotional ceremony – 59 years after first tying the knot in 1958.
Jimmy and his wife, Irene, divorced in 1977 only to get back together a year later.
The couple, who have four adult children together, finally re-tied the knot in front of family at a church ceremony near their Essex home on Thursday.
Jimmy, a 77-year-old former England and Spurs striker, said he was ‘delighted’ to remarry Irene.
The football legend has been wheelchair-bound since suffering a massive stroke in 2015, which initially left him unable to speak.
But Irene said that he did ‘brilliantly’ and was able to say ‘most of what he needed to say’ through the wedding ceremony last week.
‘It was a lovely day, very poignant and very emotional for the children,’ she told the Sunday People. ‘When we turned around I said, ‘Come on then, husband’, and everyone roared with laughter.’
Irene has been nursing Jimmy, who was part of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning squad, since his release from hospital in 2015.
The football legend, who scored 266 goals in 379 appearances for Tottenham, had previously recovered from a minor stroke in 2012 but the 2015 prognosis was far more damning.
Irene, also 77, said remarrying was something she and Jimmy ‘never thought about’, because ‘as we were concerned we were always married’.
She joked that she’ll likely keep their first wedding date as their anniversary because next year will be the diamond celebration.
Their first big day was on a Wednesday, because Jimmy ‘was always playing football on Saturdays’.
This time around they chose a Thursday and went to the local church with their family. Their two daughters served as witnesses.
The family then went to celebrate at a nearby restaurant, where they had a ‘good time’, Irene said.
‘Jim was offered a brandy but he wouldn’t take it,’ Irene said. ‘He wanted a cigarette but I had to remind him he couldn’t smoke in a restaurant and that we’d have to go outside. It really wasn’t the weather for it though.’
No speeches were given, but grandson Harry raised a toast to ‘Nan and Granddad’ during the meal.
Jimmy was just at the start of his career as a footballer when he and Irene first wed in 1958 – he signed with Chelsea the previous year.
As well as representing Tottenham and England with distinction, Greaves also played for Chelsea, AC Milan and West Ham during his time in professional football.
He’s still fourth on the list of England’s top scorers, behind Wayne Rooney, Sir Bobby Charlton and Gary Lineker.
After retiring from the game, Jimmy, who battled alcoholism late in his career became an award-winning journalist and broadcaster.
The former striker spoke about his illness last year. ‘I remain in a wheelchair and it’s now likely I will stay this way for the rest of my life,’ he said.
‘The doctors have told me I won’t walk again and that I will always need ongoing care.
‘It was devastating to hear them say that but I will never stop trying to get better – and the main thing is that I’m still here fighting all the way.
‘I’m not feeling sorry for myself, I’m just taking each day as it comes and trying to make small improvements all the time.’
His family said shortly after the stroke that the former forward was on ‘a long hard road’ and thanked the football fraternity for their continued support before his release from hospital in June 2015.