The former Leicester City and Nottingham Forest goalkeeper has been addicted to betting for life and his wife Steph Shilton detailed his recovery in a new BBC interview
He has since recovered and Steph Shilton urged other addicts to seek help in an interview with the BBC.
So what happened to Peter Shilton?
Here’s what you need to know.
Who is Peter Shilton?
Peter Shilton, 72, is a former footballer who played for England, Leicester City and Nottingham Forest.
In a career spanning 31 years and more than 1,000 league games, the goalkeeper has won the Premier League title, won the European Cup twice and been named the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Team of the Year ten times.
Since retiring in 1997, he has had a career as an after-dinner speaker.
How Bad Was Peter Shilton’s Gambling Addiction?
In 2020, Peter Shilton revealed his 45-year gambling addiction in an interview with the Daily Mail.
At the time, the football great said he had “never won at gambling” and found it “scary”.
He announced that he was working with the government to raise awareness of the issues related to gambling, including mental health issues.
Mr Shilton has also worked with the charity Gambling with Lives – an organization set up by surviving parents of gamblers.
In an interview with the BBC published on Sunday (7 August), Peter Shilton’s wife Steph Shilton has revealed more details about her husband’s substance abuse problems.
She said she initially thought he was dating another woman after the couple started dating in 2012.
“He left the room to use his phone; he was quite mysterious,” said the jazz singer.
“I thought he was a gentleman and didn’t play in front of me and it was just a little hobby.”
However, it soon became apparent that her husband-to-be was struggling with a major addiction when she caught him playing horse racing in the middle of the night.
“That’s when I realized it wasn’t a hobby, that something was wrong. I knew he was addicted.”
Steph, who says she previously worked in the NHS, said the retired footballer is “very defensive” and “denies” his condition.
When he first proposed to her, she said she turned it down because of his addiction.
Ms Shilton also said she has separated her finances from her partner.
The first time she got a real sense of the extent of his gambling problem was when she saw his bank statement, which showed he wagered £18,000 a month.
“It was awesome. I was shaken to the core. I was like ‘Oh my god, he’s so sick’. It broke my heart,” Steph Shilton told the BBC.
How did Peter Shilton recover from gambling addiction?
Shortly after Steph Shilton discovered the full extent of Peter Shilton’s addiction, she miscarried.
Her partner had become even more withdrawn and looked visibly uncomfortable, she said.
One day Ms Shilton said she was sleeping in the couple’s guest bedroom in Mersea, Essex.
The next day, Peter Shilton decided to seek help for his gambling problem.
The footballer had to go through “complete withdrawal” over a period of several months before his addiction wore off.
Despite reaching out to Betfair – the company where Mr Shilton placed bets – to at least limit her partner’s account, Steph Shilton said the company “didn’t do anything at all”.
The gambling company told the BBC it has now changed its policy, making it easier to suspend or pause suspected addicts’ accounts.
More than seven years later, Steph Shilton says her husband – whom she married in 2016 – has fully recovered from his addiction and says he’s the happiest he’s ever been in his personal life.
Steph Shilton has since become a fully qualified therapist and also works as an Ambassador for ARA – Addiction Recovery Agency – on her Six to Ten Project.