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Mike Tindall shares wife Zara's honest thoughts on his mental health struggles

Mike appeared on Loose Men to mark International Men's Day

mike tindall
Bridie Wilkins
Senior Health & Fitness Writer
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Mike Tindall opened up about his mental health journey on Loose Men, as the Loose Women panel was taken over by himself, Vernon Kay, TV and radio presenter Ore Oduba and comedian Iain Stirling to mark International Men's Day on 19 November. Mike said he struggled after retiring from rugby as he was left with little motivation, but while he believes he came out the other side after six months, wife Zara, Princess Anne's daughter, says it was "more like a year".

SEE: Mike Tindall to open up about mental health on Loose Women special

"I went to work every year for 17 years with 35 to 40 of my best mates," Mike began. "Just used to hang around with them, be typical blokes and then one day, you wake up and your six months isn’t planned, it’s not on your fridge so your wife can see it and it’s like, ‘I don’t need to get out of bed, I don’t need to go to the gym’. Suddenly it’s quite a lonely place to be. It doesn’t matter how successful your career is."

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He added: "There was a point where I was saying yes to everything, whether I wanted to do it or not, because I was used to having my days filled. It was like six months where I really didn't know what I wanted to do – Zara would probably say it was more like a year – I ended up going and doing Bear Grylls so that I was away when the Autumn Internationals were on, so I didn't have to watch the rugby when they played. I wanted to have a break from it."

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mike tindall loose men© Photo: Rex

Mike Tindall appeared on Loose Men to mark International Men's Day

When his co-hosts asked whether avoiding rugby was a "conscious decision", Mike said yes.

"With sport, you have to be slightly selfish," he explained. "And probably for the first six, or as Zara says, 12 months, I was a bit selfish trying to work out what was best for me which was why I turned away from [rugby] while the Autumn Internationals and the Six Nations were on. It was a strange period."

Mike was a World Cup-winning England centre rugby player, and announced his retirement in 2014, aged 35. 

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