Tragic Details About Mike Tindall

Mike Tindall may have climbed the ladder into the royal family by marrying Zara Tindall (née Phillips), Queen Elizabeth II's eldest granddaughter, but he didn't come from a well-to-do family himself. He was born in 1978 and was raised in a market town in Leeds called Otley by his mother, a social worker, and his father, a banker. Tindall fell in love with rugby at just 7 years old, as his father and uncles were already well acquainted with the sport, and played for many years before he joined Bath Rugby. Over time, his fame grew and he became a recognized rugby player with a career that spanned over 17 years, but not without a few hiccups along the way.

Despite his modest background, he once spoke to Hello! Magazine about marrying into the royal family, saying, "It wasn't such a leap for me to enter [Zara's] world." Tindall was well versed in the world of fame, so it's no wonder he felt right at home within the royal aristocracy, but he's not always had luck on his side. Now that he's retired from rugby and taken on the role of doting husband and father, Tindall has continued to make headlines, but not always for the most uplifting reasons.

He's had many ups and downs throughout his career, but before you get too sad, he at least seems to be doing very well these days. So, let's dive into the most tragic details about Mike Tindall.

Mike and Zara Tindall have struggled in their marriage

Like any married couple, Zara and Mike Tindall have had their highs and lows. They first met on a night out in Australia in 2003, announced their engagement in 2010, and finally married in 2011. After more than a decade of marriage, Tindall opened up about the struggles they've had in a "Loose Women" segment in 2021 (via Us Weekly), saying, "A marriage or long-term relationship can't always be roses and rainbows." He continued, "When you have children, that is a massive ... change to your system that you've never experienced and there is going to be those rocky roads. There are things that are thrown at you that have to test both of you and that will test that relationship ... You have to work through it together." Tindall also claimed that he's the first to try to resolve conflict in their relationship, as Zara will stay angry while he prefers to hug things out.

This is all, of course, coming after Tindall's alleged cheating incident back in 2011. He and his rugby team had been out partying in New Zealand when cameras captured several flirtatious moments between Tindall and a woman who was clearly not his wife. A source told the Daily Mail, "She is a friend of both Mike and Zara and has known Mike since university days." The incident was largely brushed under the rug, but the couple seem to be going strong today.

He and his wife suffered two miscarriages

Zara and Mike Tindall share three children: Mia, Lena, and Lucas. However, before little Lena and Lucas came along, the Tindall couple had been devastated by two miscarriages between 2016 and 2017. Mike Tindall spoke with The Times in 2017 about the hardship he and his wife had gone through, and how their daughter Mia helped them cope. He said, "One thing you learn is how many other people have had to go through the same. The saving grace for us has been Mia."

Zara also spoke candidly about their experience when she was interviewed by her husband for his podcast, "Mike Drop." She was invited by Tindall to discuss her Olympic equestrian career, but she also spoke about coping with the loss and feeling mom guilt. "You feel guilty as a mother leaving your child to go and do something else ... I had to ring you everyday to make sure you were doing the right thing," she added with a laugh. When asked if she was able to give everything to her riding after the miscarriage and then having two more children, she said, "There's times I look back on and maybe shouldn't've gone to certain places," but that she hopes the experience has made her a better mother.

Their dialogue around the subject has been considered a move in the right direction towards reducing stigma, much like when Meghan Markle opened up about her miscarriage.

His father was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease

Mike Tindall has been vocal about his father's diagnosis for years. In 2018, he became a patron of Cure Parkinson's, a UK charity working to find a cure for the debilitating disease. In an interview with BBC Breakfast, Tindall described the regrets he feels around his own father's Parkinson's diagnosis. "He was the guy who taught me how to play rugby ... And then in 2003 when we're out at the World Cup, dad said he's had these twinges in his hands and finding it slightly more difficult to write," he said. "It took him two years before he actually went and got it checked." Tindall said at the time, he didn't pay much attention to the issues his father was having. "That's one of the things I sort of regret is not putting a bit more pressure on him to do more back then."

In a BBC Breakfast film, Tindall visited with several families who had been affected by Parkinson's to raise awareness around how everyone's symptoms can be slightly different, in hopes of raising awareness around the disease. "My mom also is basically a primary carer and sort of puts her own things aside, which she shouldn't be doing," Tindall said, relating to one of the families in the film. He said that his family now receives more support from people who will have a chat or play chess with his father.

Mike Tindall suffered a life-threatening injury

Rugby players are known to suffer some pretty severe injuries throughout their careers. Mike Tindall was even nicknamed "The Fridge" during his rugby days, given his solid frame. As tough as he was, Tindall was unfortunately the victim of a calamitous tackle in 2008 that forced him to miss the rest of England's Six Nations tournament and even could have killed him.

Spectators, including Zara, watched as Tindall collapsed in pain after his Welsh opponent, Mark Jones, tackled him. Speaking with the Daily Mail a week after the injury, Tindall explained that he initially thought that he had only sustained a couple of broken ribs. However, when he felt that he "was struggling desperately to breathe," he was taken to a hospital, even though he didn't exactly realize the condition he was in yet. "It turns out I had a big tear in my liver. It was more than an inch wide and about an inch deep and my condition was compounded by air released between the lungs and ribs from the hole in my lung. The biggest concern was my internal bleeding. I lost two pints of blood into my membrane. Luckily it clotted and stemmed the flow."

He spent three days in the ICU before he was discharged to continue recovering at home. Now, more than a decade later, Tindall seems to have thankfully made a full recovery.

His drinking has gotten him into trouble

English football and rugby culture often centers around pubs, pints, and "lads just being lads." But unfortunately for Mike Tindall, it's been his drinking that seems to have gotten him in more trouble than anything else. Granted, Tindall and Zara first met in a pub and according to a source for the Daily Mail, "They both used to drink ferociously." However, in 2009, this "ferocious" drinking of Tindall's resulted in a three-year driving ban. He had been driving over the speed limit on his way to support his teammates at a Six Nations match he wouldn't be participating in (due to his liver injury). While he claimed he hadn't had anything to drink on the day in question, he had at least a dozen drinks the night before.

This wasn't the first conviction he's received, as in 2000, Tindall was banned from driving for 16 months after a similar run-in with the authorities. This time, though, he could blame his blood alcohol level on his "reduced liver function" from his injury.

Aside from his driving ban, Tindall's drunken antics have also cost him a lot in his career, his relationship, and financially. But, according to the Daily Mail, he's ready to leave these days behind. Now retired from rugby and a full-time father, Tindall has reportedly cut down on his drinking.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Mike Tindall can no longer smell after breaking his nose several times

With a 17-year-long rugby career, it would be remarkable if Mike Tindall left it unscathed. Of course, there was the unfortunate liver injury he suffered in 2008, but another injury he probably got used to over the years was a broken nose. 

Tindall first broke his nose in a bumper car incident when he was 5 years old, and would go on to break it at least another eight times. In fact, he was known well for his crooked nose for many years, as he'd never bothered to get it fixed until 2018. Tindall said he was pressured constantly by the royals (particularly Zara Tindall's mother, Princess Anne) before his wedding, to get a nose job.

He finally straightened the crooked bridge of his nose after sporting his iconic tough-guy nose for over a decade. But sadly, the surgery did little for the actual function of Tindall's nose, as he says he can no longer smell out of it. In 2022, he appeared on "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!" where he was challenged to drink a disgusting smoothie made from Nuni, also known as "cheese fruit" or "vomit fruit," due to its pungent aroma. In the clip, before he takes a big swig of the concoction, Tindall says, "Fortunately I can't smell anything through my nose anyway." At least his lack of smell comes in handy in some capacity.

He was thrown out of the England rugby squad

Mike Tindall has gotten in trouble many times for his drunken antics. But there was at least one instance where his misfortunes caught up to him, and he paid big time. The Rugby Football Union had Tindall's back when he had been seen flirting at a bar with a blond woman after a team victory against Argentina, but he'd been dishonest with reps about what had transpired. Tindall also reportedly took part in a "dwarf-throwing contest" that same night.

According to the Mirror, these incidents led RFU professional rugby director Rob Andrew to state: "Mike Tindall's actions reached a level of misconduct that was unacceptable in a senior England player and amounted to a very serious breach of the EPS Code of Conduct. Whilst we acknowledge his previous good character it needs to be made clear that what he did will not be tolerated." With that, Tindall was thrown off the England rugby squad and issued a £25,000 fine.

A team spokesman told The Guardian, "Like all the lads he plays for England with a massive amount of passion and he was relaxing after a tough match." The manager of the bar that night said, "There was no scandal by any of the English rugby players that we saw. They were great lads, not throwing the midgets, it was all light-hearted good humored fun!" Luckily, Tindall's career was far from over, and he continued to play professionally for several more years.

Mike Tindall has loads of regrets around the Queen's passing

As Queen Elizabeth II's grandson-in-law, Mike Tindall would have had many opportunities to pick the queen's brain, but the fact that he didn't is just one of his many regrets surrounding her death in 2022. On Tindall's podcast "The Good, The Bad & The Rugby," he and his co-host took time to pay their respects by discussing Queen Elizabeth II's incredible reign and how Zara was coping with her grandmother's death. Tindall said that he felt like the world had lost its grandmother when the queen died.

Tindall added, "I have loads of regrets about not asking her so many more things. Having that nervousness when you sit down to talk, you get that lucky seat of being sat next to her." When his co-host asked him what he would ask the queen now if he could, Tindall replied, "Just going back through history and everything that she's possibly seen. Obviously, 15 prime ministers. I don't know how many Presidents it is, but to go through everything. You know, when she's meeting dictators she has to stay neutral. She has to just perform her duty."

Still, to have the privilege to sit and talk with Queen Elizabeth II would have been an incredible honor for Tindall, and he nonetheless seemed grateful to have known her in the capacity that he did.

He's stuck his foot in his mouth on several occasions

When it was announced that Mike Tindall would be appearing on the reality show "I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!," rumors circled around how this could be a bad move for the royal family. And it would seem that, given Tindall's tendency to stick his foot in his mouth and say the wrong thing, they might have been right.

On the television show, Tindall went on a rant about how all politicians are "f***ers," which Richard Fitzwilliams, a royal author, told the Daily Mail was unwise. In an earlier episode, Tindall told a story about how he split his trousers in front of Princess Anne, which Fitzgerald has deemed "extremely embarrassing." He continued, "Now he's making ill-advised comments about politicians, when he knows perfectly well royals must be above politics and avoid such comments ... It's not protocol he needs lessons in, it's common sense as he is playing to the gallery in a hugely popular reality series and looking extremely foolish."

This reality show stint has gossipers insisting it was a bad move and that he should have gotten permission from the royal family before appearing on the show, but apparently he did. Tindall confirmed that, while it wasn't necessary, he asked Prince William for his blessing to appear on the show. Prince William said yes, so at least someone had faith that Tindall wouldn't go too far in his very public storytelling.

Mike Tindall struggled with ending his rugby career

Anyone who has had to give up their career knows the pain and struggle behind making this big decision. Mike Tindall was no different when he retired from his rugby career. 

In speaking on a "Loose Women" segment in 2021, he said, "There's a point I was saying yes to everything, whether I wanted to do it or not because I used to have my days filled. I thought it was like six months where I really didn't know where you wanted to go. Zara would say it was probably more like a year. I ended up doing Bear Grylls and so I was away when the Autumn Internationals were on, so I didn't have to watch ... I wanted to have a break about it."

Tindall admitted it was a conscious decision to avoid rugby for a while. He said that in sports, one needs to be a little bit selfish — and in this instance, he "was probably a little bit selfish again about trying to figure out" the best course of action for himself. Tindall now seems to be doing much better, having been retired for many years, but there's little doubt that deciding to leave his rugby life behind was a tragic struggle he had to overcome.