Samantha Tarkowski and Catherine Harding have opened up about the difficulties of dealing with how they think people should be a footballer’s wife.
The couple are two of the stars of the new Prime Video series Married to the game, which follows the lives of five football WAGS, aiming to give insight into the reality of dating a top footballer.
Tarkowski recently married Everton defender James, while Harding got engaged to Arsenal’s Jorginho in December, with the 33-year-old teasing her partner about popping the question in the show’s early episodes.
The series details various journeys of the women and their husbands, with bodily imagination being a major topic of discussion, leading to a variety of emotions being shown, particularly in Tarkowski and Harding when they can be seen talking about their daughters.
In episode two of the series, Tarkowski can be seen getting emotional in a gym when she talks about her desire to help her daughter feel empowered by a strong mother.
Samantha Tarkowski (left) and Catherine Harding (right) have opened up about their struggles with body image expectations while dating a footballer.
Tarkowski married Everton defender James (left) last year and they began dating in 2015.
Meanwhile, Harding is engaged to Arsenal midfielder Jorginho after the Italian popped the question in December.
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“Everyone seems to think that a footballer has to be with a very stereotypical, super thin, really glamorous and beautiful woman, when in reality he’s just my husband, to me he’s just James,” says Tarkowski in the second episode of the six-episode documentary series. . “I don’t consider him a footballer at all.
“You’re constantly fighting people who want to bring you down, it’s hard work and social media plays a huge role in that.”
‘It’s so dangerous and being a mother of a daughter, that makes me feel… I want to keep her away from that as much as possible. I want to make her feel empowered, and that was actually… I’m getting emotional, I’m sorry, I don’t know why I’m crying.
‘When I had Ivy, I wanted even more to be this empowered woman to show her how important that is. I can’t speak, I’m sorry.
“It is very important to be a strong woman, to know that in reality your appearance is very small compared to who you are and I think having a daughter changed everything.”
Tarkowski collapsed in a gym while talking about her desire to help her daughter “feel empowered”
The defender’s long-time partner admitted that social media “plays a very important role” in “fighting people who want to bring you down.”
She stated that “it’s very important to be a strong woman” and started crying after working out.
Footballer James reassured Samantha, with the couple starring in the new Amazon series ‘Married To The Game’
Her husband James, who has made 71 appearances for Everton after arriving from Burnley, where he spent more than six years, in 2022, stepped in to support his teammate.
The couple tied the knot in mid-2023 after being together since 2015, with Samantha following her partner from Brentford to Burnley and then Everton.
“I don’t think Sam realizes how amazing he is both physically and internally,” he can be seen saying in a scene outside the gym, with Samantha by his side. “I think he’s opened his eyes a little more over the years, but I think initially when we met he had no self-love or self-esteem, but over time he’s realizing it more and more.
“I’d like to think that people’s perception of me isn’t important to me, but it is,” Sam says early in the series. “I want to be liked, I put a lot of pressure on myself in terms of my fitness and my body, because I want people to think: ‘Yes, she looks good, I would like to look like that.’
“I struggled for years with eating disorders, low self-esteem and poor body image – there is still a part of me that still struggles with that. I am a woman in football, it is hard work, it is hard, because the only thing What people want is to tear you down.
Meanwhile, Harding says he feels there is pressure for footballers’ partners to “look a certain way”.
She can be seen with a doctor deciding whether to have “some skin injections with needles or some skin tightening.”
She is then seen lying down receiving treatment, and the 33-year-old talks about her desire to “look good.”
Meanwhile, Harding can be seen getting help changing her appearance as she debates what kind of facial she wants, torn between “some needle injections to tear off the skin or some skin tightening.”
She explains her frustration over Jorginho sharing a photo she accidentally took with her more than three million Instagram followers, saying she has to “be pretty good at taking a joke or our relationship would have ended a long time ago.”
“I think there’s a lot of pressure on soccer players’ partners to look a certain way,” he says. “I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to try to look good.
Harding speaks openly about the “really worrying” scenario of girls “growing up” with modern beauty standards.
“It bothers me a lot because I have a daughter who is eight years old and sometimes I look at the filters and certain things that people use, and you can’t even tell that they are using that filter and it completely changes their face.” .
‘You think: “How are boys and girls going to grow up thinking that this is the standard of beauty they should look like?” “It’s actually really worrying.”
Married To The Game will be available exclusively on Prime Video on February 23