It may have kept him out of the action on the pitch. But Premiership football star Stephen Ireland wasn't going to let a broken leg get in the way of achieving his goal of marrying his love of nine years, Jessica Lawlor.
The former Irish international suffered the injury during training two weeks before he walked down the aisle in front of his fellow footballers. But, speaking to HELLO! magazine in an exclusive interview, Stephen said he was determined to get married to his bride.
Stephen Ireland married Jessica Lawlor in Leicestershire
"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.' I just had to man up," says Stephen, 29, of his shattered left tibula and fibula.
Happily, the couple 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 and former England player Emile Heskey, retired England striker Darius Vassell and Aston Villa stars Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott.
In the magazine, the groom told of how moved he felt when he saw his bride in her Suzanne Neville gown for the first time.
"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," he said.
Jessica 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 couple are now looking forward to having more children – Stephen has a son and daughter from a previous relationship and the couple also have son Jacob, eight.
"The kids have been nagging us to get married and now it's, ‘When are you having a baby?'" says Jessica. "I would love another one but Stephen would have a massive brood."