Ben Stokes' wife hits back at 'nonsense' claims of 'choke hold' by England star during award ceremony
Pictures that were claimed to show Ben Stokes hitting out at his wife at an awards ceremony have been branded "unbelievable" and "nonsense" by the couple.
The Media Guido website, which published the images, claimed Clare Stokes was held in a "choke hold" by England's World Cup cricketing hero during the Professional Cricketers’ Association Awards 50th Anniversary party last Wednesday.
"Something happens and Clare tells Ben she doesn’t want to hear it, speak to the hand," the website claimed. "All of sudden Stokes grabs his wife Clare in a choke hold and then she either falls back, pulls away or is pushed back by him."
However, in a vehement denial, the couple have said he was playfully showing affection for her in the images showing him with his arm raised.
Earlier in the evening Stokes had paid glowing tribute to Clare, who turned 30 the following day, during an acceptance speech for the player of the year award at the Roundhouse in Camden, north London.
Unbelievable what nonsense these people will make up! Me and Ben messing about squishing up each other’s faces cos that’s how we show affection and some pap tries to twist it in to a crazy story! And all before we then have a romantic McDonalds 20 mins later! @benstokes38pic.twitter.com/1HmPV1ZfxG— Clare Stokes (@clarey_11) October 8, 2019
Less than two hours after the Guido story was published, wife Clare wrote, in a message shared by her husband, on Twitter: "Unbelievable what nonsense these people will make up! Me and Ben messing about squishing up each other’s faces cos that’s how we show affection and some pap tries to twist it in to a crazy story! And all before we then have a romantic McDonalds 20 mins later!"
Media Guido had claimed earlier that the story of their alleged confrontation had been covered up by sports journalists, but several attendees at the event said they had no knowledge of a confrontation and the couple had been in good spirits.Credit: Getty images
Stokes, who was cleared of affray at Bristol Crown Court last year following a street brawl, is currently the bookmakers' favourite to be BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
The England and Wales Cricket Board said it had spoken to Stokes and his wife, as well as others at the awards, and was satisfied with "the innocent context" behind the pictures.
Chief executive Tom Harrison said in a statement: "We have spoken with both Clare and Ben - as well as others in attendance - who have all clarified the innocent context behind the still photographs taken at last week's PCA Awards.
"Whilst it is not the case here, we recognise that for the millions who are impacted by domestic violence, this is a very real and serious issue."