In an exclusive interview and photoshoot with HELLO! magazine, England rugby captain Dylan Hartley and his partner Jo Tromans have introduced their baby daughter Thea – who the doting dad credits to turning his life around.
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Following his triumphant Six Nations win, former 'bad boy' Dylan opens up for the first time about how becoming a dad around the same time as landing the captaincy has transformed his life.
England rugby captain Dylan Hartley with his baby daughter Thea
"My world has changed," he said. "I used to come home and stew, thinking about off-field problems or a training schedule. Now, on my hour-and-a-half drive home from training, I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve. All I want to do is see Thea. I see rugby as work now. After a tough game, Thea helps me relax."
Dylan admits he created his own 'bad boy' image after picking up a string of bans on the pitch. But says he tried to 'shut out' the negative headlines when he landed the captaincy and focused on leading his team to victory.
"I look back on my experience, which has been pretty rough because of the back story I created for myself," he said. "I'm fully aware of my bans and misdemenors – all my doing.
"When the negative headlines about me doing this job appeared, I tried to shut them out. From the start I focused on myself as a player, to play well and by playing well – that is, leading by example – captaining the team well."
Talking of his former image, Jo tells the magazine: "It's funny because I would never put Dylan and 'bad boy' in the same sentence. At home he's such a softie. He's very affectionate and kind hearted which people don't see."
Dylan, who was watched by Thea as he lifted the Triple Crown trophy at Twickenham, adds: "I'd like to remember my England career by the things I've won."