Premiership footballer Stephen Ireland has told how he refused to let a broken leg stop him walking down the aisle.
The former Irish international shattered his left tibula and fibula during training two weeks before he was due to marry his love of nine years, Jessica Lawlor.
But Ireland, a midfielder for Stoke City, told Hello! magazine he was determined his injury wouldn’t force the couple to delay their nuptials.
“We had been waiting to get married for so long and I was getting better each day, so I thought, ‘I can pull this off,’ he said.
“I just had to man up.”
Ireland, 29, and Lawlor tied the knot in the Church of St Mary Magdalene inside Stapleford Park country house hotel in Leicestershire earlier this month.
Guests included Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, former England player Emile Heskey, retired England striker Darius Vassell, and Aston Villa stars Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott.
Ireland said of seeing his bride in her Suzanne Neville gown: “I was absolutely gobsmacked at how beautiful she looked.
“To see her in her wedding dress, with our families there and the choir, was really emotional.”
Ms Lawlor added: “When I saw Stephen I was really happy, emotional and excited to be getting married.
“No matter how much you see a person day-to-day, there is something different on your wedding day — you see them in a different light.
“The choir started singing Whitney Houston’s ‘My Love Is Your Love’ and I just kind of lost it. I felt really overwhelmed.”
The newlyweds said they are now looking forward to having more children — Ireland has a son and a daughter from a previous relationship and the couple also have son Jacob, eight, together.
Ms Lawlor said: “The kids have been nagging us to get married and now it’s, ‘When are you having a baby?’
“I would love another one but Stephen would have a massive brood.”
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