It’s not easy being a WAG! (honest): From the perils of trying to find a lash and nail technician in Saudi Arabia to the raunchy ‘pastime’ that keeps their husbands entertained – new Amazon show lifts the lid on the lives of footballers’ wives

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Footballer’s wives and girlfriends have lifted the lid on what it’s REALLY like to be in their shoes – insisting in a new fly-on-the-wall documentary that their lives are not as easy as they may look. 

Amazon Prime documentary Married to the Game gives insight into the life of lavish parties, luxurious holidays, enormous mansions and designer clothes – and viewers have described the show as ‘TV gold’ and ‘class’. 

Taylor Ward, the wife of Riyadh Mahrez, and Sara Gundogan, Ilkay Gundogan‘s partner, have spoken honestly about how they really felt when the two former Man City stars decided to move to Saudi Arabia and Barcelona respectively. 

From leaving her life in Manchester behind to travelling back regularly to plan her wedding, the series covers Ward’s ‘an emotional rollercoaster’ move. 

With scenes cutting from England to Saudi Arabia, the cultural differences are notable. ‘No lashes, no nails, I’m going to be the biggest tramp when I come home,’ she says.

Meanwhile, Catherine Harding, the fiancée of Arsenal star Jorginho, shows the wild side of being a WAG – including when she sends a party planner on a two-and-half-hour round trip to Watford to pick up 65kg of lemons for her birthday party. 

‘Cat and Jorginho on the “Married to the game” are soo funny. I love that they are so real,’ one fan said. 

Everton defender James Tarkowski and his wife Sam also star in the documentary and reveal how they hosted a three-day wedding in Provence where they surprised their guests with singer Craig David. 

The couple also don’t hold back as they’re asked about their favourite pastime together – bursting into laughter as they admit it’s ‘shagging’.  

Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Matt Turner and his wife Ash are the final couple on the documentary. Ash, who is eight months pregnant when filming, admits that ‘life was fairly simple’ until her husband moved from the US to the Premier League.

Catherine Harding is pictured inside the hyperbaric oxygen chamber in her home with Jorginho as she tries to recover from a facial

Catherine Harding is pictured inside the hyperbaric oxygen chamber in her home with Jorginho as she tries to recover from a facial

Amazon documentary 'Married to the Game' gives an insight into what life is like for WAGs in Saudi Arabia

Riyad Mahrez's wife, Taylor Ward, has little choice but to pack up and move from Manchester to the Middle East

Amazon documentary ‘Married to the Game’ gives an insight into what life is like for WAGs in Saudi Arabia – showcasing Riyad Mahrez’s wife Taylor Ward

Ward is seen going through her wardrobe to decide what clothes are appropriate

Ward is seen going through her wardrobe to decide what clothes are appropriate

She also walks the streets of the country alone before meeting up with a tour guide as she tries to adapt to the different culture

She also walks the streets of the country alone before meeting up with a tour guide as she tries to adapt to the different culture

Catherine Harding, the fiancée of Arsenal star Jorginho, sent a party planner on a two-and-half-hour round trip to Watford to pick up 65kg of lemons for her birthday party

Catherine Harding, the fiancée of Arsenal star Jorginho, sent a party planner on a two-and-half-hour round trip to Watford to pick up 65kg of lemons for her birthday party

Party planners carry a white piano as they prepare for the birthday party of Jorginho's fiancee Catherine Harding

Party planners carry a white piano as they prepare for the birthday party of Jorginho’s fiancee Catherine Harding

Jorginho's fiancée, Catherine Harding (pictured), gets ready for her birthday party

Jorginho’s fiancée, Catherine Harding (pictured), gets ready for her birthday party

Guests at the party were also treated to a show from two Brazilian Samba dancers

Guests at the party were also treated to a show from two Brazilian Samba dancers

Taylor Ward (pictured) discusses throwing a lavish party for her partner Riyad Mahrez when he chose to leave England to move to Saudi Arabia

Taylor Ward (pictured) discusses throwing a lavish party for her partner Riyad Mahrez when he chose to leave England to move to Saudi Arabia

Cat revealed to the cameras that Jorginho would be returning two days later and teased that they were going to spend time alone together and said everyone would have to leave

Cat revealed to the cameras that Jorginho would be returning two days later and teased that they were going to spend time alone together and said everyone would have to leave 

Riyad Mahrez and his partner Taylor Ward (left) also have roles in the documentary

Riyad Mahrez and his partner Taylor Ward (left) also have roles in the documentary

Ilkay Gundogan and his wife, Sara (right) will be in the show after welcoming their first child last year

Ilkay Gundogan and his wife, Sara (right) will be in the show after welcoming their first child last year

USA and Arsenal goalkeeper Turner and wife Ashley welcomed their baby son Easton last year

USA and Arsenal goalkeeper Turner and wife Ashley welcomed their baby son Easton last year

James Tarkowski is pictured with his wife Samantha. They are one of the five couples on the show

James Tarkowski is pictured with his wife Samantha. They are one of the five couples on the show

Married To The Game, which was released on Amazon today, has given access to the lives of wives and girlfriends of some of the biggest stars.

Within the first two episodes, viewers are given a glimpse of Cat Harding’s fancy birthday party and Taylor Ward’s leaving bash which she threw for Mahrez when he departed City to join Al-Ahli in Saudi Arabia last summer.

Throughout the series, Ward opens up about not wanting to move to Saudi Arabia – including how challenging it was to find a house and her shock over woman not being allowed in the hotel pool – even though she doesn’t like swimming or getting her hair wet.

Ward reveals in episode one: ‘I’ve said to Riyadh from the beginning, the thing that scares me the most is him moving abroad. I’ve always lived in Manchester. 

‘Luckily Riyadh plays in Manchester so I’ve never had to move away, my biggest fear is having to move to a different country, make new friends be away from my family.’

But later on in the episode, Mahrez’s move to Saudi Arabia is confirmed and Ward’s life is thrown upside down as she plans to leave Manchester with their daughter Mila.

She explains: ‘I just found out the news that we are moving so this obviously wasn’t planned for. Riyadh’s already gone, me and Mila obviously still here in Manchester at the moment but its not going to be long before we move.

‘I suppose that’s the brutal thing about football. There is literally no warning. There’s just so much to think about and I’ve not even had a minute to comprehend the news never mind start organising everything and work out a plan going forward.’ 

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‘Most people when they move, they’ve planned to move or they want to move so they think about these things before they do it but that’s not the case for us it’s like literally just been thrown on me. Never thought this is the situation we’d be in.’

Ward plays with her daughter Mila after learning that her husband Mahrez will be moving to Saudi Arabia

Ward plays with her daughter Mila after learning that her husband Mahrez will be moving to Saudi Arabia 

Riyad Mahrez and Taylor Ward's daughter was seen playing with her mum's Louis Vuitton bag

Riyad Mahrez and Taylor Ward’s daughter was seen playing with her mum’s Louis Vuitton bag

Ward instigates a 'diet coke cheers to that' after the pair discuss rings for their wedding

Ward instigates a ‘diet coke cheers to that’ after the pair discuss rings for their wedding

The influencer is a social media sensation

She has nearly 3million followers on Instagram

The influencer – a social media sensation with nearly 3million followers on Instagram – said she had been on an ’emotional rollercoaster’ after being told she was moving to Saudi Arabia

Ward first married Mahrez in 2022 after the pair met in Manchester before tying the knot again last year

Ward first married Mahrez in 2022 after the pair met in Manchester before tying the knot again last year

Breaking down into tears, she adds: ‘I just feel like everyone’s going to be all over the place. It’s going to be so hard. Life’s going to be so different. It’s not that I don’t like it, I just don’t have a choice.’

Ward later reveals that Mahrez is living in a hotel because they haven’t found a new home. ‘He didn’t want us to go out there when we’re in a really small hotel room – it’s too hot at the moment to go outside,’ she says.

‘And obviously we don’t really know the area. So I’m just going to go back and forth for a bit until we’ve got somewhere stable to move.

‘I don’t think people understand the stress of it. I think it’s a lot easier for the boys than it is for us. They move to Saudi, they move into a football club, they’ve got friends.’

‘For me for example you literally have to start all over again in a different country or place where you don’t know anyone and it’s not always easy just to make friends and adapt.’

In episode two, she opens up about being given the news by her husband that they were leaving her hometown of Manchester. ‘Riyadh rang me and basically said we’re moving to Saudi which is wild,’ she said.

‘When he rang me to tell me the news, it was already out in the press. Everyone knew, I had people texting me, even close friends saying I can’t believe you haven’t told me.

‘I found out same time as everyone else I had no idea. Literally turned my phone off for two days.

‘I can’t tell people the news when I haven’t comprehended it myself, it was such a shock. It was so stressful. We haven’t even got a house, I don’t know where we’re going to be living, I’ve never even been to Saudi Arabia.’

Ward also discusses her struggles with acclimatising to the culture and having to dress more modestly.

‘No lashes, no nails, I’m going to be the biggest tramp when I come home you’re not even going to recognise me,’ she tells friends while looking round a wedding venue.

'No lashes, no nails, I'm going to be the biggest tramp when I come home you're not even going to recognise me,' she tells friends while looking round a wedding venue

‘No lashes, no nails, I’m going to be the biggest tramp when I come home you’re not even going to recognise me,’ she tells friends while looking round a wedding venue

Ward (centre) was in the midst of preparing for her wedding with Mahrez before his transfer was announced

Ward (centre) was in the midst of preparing for her wedding with Mahrez before his transfer was announced

Ward also has her sister, Darby (pictured) to offer a hand when it comes to babysitting and general advice

Ward also has her sister, Darby (pictured) to offer a hand when it comes to babysitting and general advice

The British model was in the midst of preparing for her wedding with Mahrez, but the winger’s shock move to the Middle East caused a change of plans as she revealed how she wanted to lay on a separate party to celebrate his happy memories in England. 

While prepping for Mahrez’s leaving party she admits to having a ‘freak out’ after the hotel in Saudi Arabia told her that only men could use the swimming pool.

She explains: ‘I had a bit of a meltdown. It kinda just hit me. I know it’s stupid I don’t even like swimming, I don’t like getting my hair wet.

‘I’m not even bothered about swimming, it’s just the reality check, you’re not moving to Spain or somewhere – it’s a very different way of living. I didn’t even realise when Riyadh first told me that you couldn’t drink over there.’

In the fourth episode of the series, Ward attends one of Mahrez’s games in Saudi Arabia and sits alone in a private box.

‘I’m a Riyad Mahrez fan, not a football fan,’ she says, explaining that she won’t continue watch football when her husband retires from playing.

Mahrez adds: ‘She doesn’t watch the game really, she sits on her phone.’

‘I do,’ Ward responds. ‘You’re a liar. He can’t drop the fact that once he scored and it was straight after half time and I was still sat inside the box. He came over to the box to celebrate to us all. I was watching it on the TV and I ran straight out.’

‘I want to get involved in the chants but I can’t understand them,’ Ward says as the episode cuts back to inside the stadium.

The 26-year-old cuts a lonely figure as she watches her husband in action, a far cry from her experiences at the Etihad.

‘At Man City we had a box, Riyad always brought a few friends and I’d bring my friends as well, course the kids and whoever else,’ she says. ‘My family, whenever they were home they used to come.

‘I better get used to this because I have no mates. All my friends are my primary school friends and high school friends. I’ve not really had to make new friends since then, which is crazy. It’s a crazy thought that I’m going to have to start trying to make new friends.’

Ward grew up in Manchester, with Mahrez moving to the City when he signed for the club from Leicester in 2018

Ward grew up in Manchester, with Mahrez moving to the City when he signed for the club from Leicester in 2018

Ward’s good friend Sara Gundogan also opens up about finding out she has to leave Manchester for Barcelona.

Sara, famous in her own right for her work as a TV presenter in Italy, says in episode one: ‘They just told me OK we’re moving. And I was like OK. It happened that quick that I didn’t realise.

‘Life for us is going on and then you just get a call and you get informed after  one hour that you have to go pick a flight and go and change your life.’

Gundogan, who famously criticised Manchester and the quality of food in October 2022, admitted on the show: ‘Even if people think I don’t like Manchester, I do really like Manchester.’

Ward replies: ‘Sara, I never thought I’d hear those words come out your mouth.’

Within the first 10 minutes of the series, Sara is invited to a lavish party to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Vogue. 

She attends the party donning a stunning all-white dress as she posed for photos, greeted Vogue Portugal’s editor-in-chief Sofia Lucas and danced the night away to live music.

Later in the episode, Sara is attempting to pack her husband’s things as he is already in Barcelona. The camera pans to all of his trophies as the pair are on Facetime. 

Gundogan, perhaps referencing the astonishing amount of silverware he has, tells his wife: ‘To do this all on your own, it’s not easy. It’s going to be hard to do.’

Sara Gundogan (right) opens up about finding out she has to leave Manchester after her partner Ilkay Gundogan signed for Barcelona

Sara Gundogan (right) opens up about finding out she has to leave Manchester after her partner Ilkay Gundogan signed for Barcelona

Sara opened up on her glamorous lifestyle which included meeting Vogue Portugal's editor-in-chief at the bash in Lisbon

Sara opened up on her glamorous lifestyle which included meeting Vogue Portugal’s editor-in-chief at the bash in Lisbon

Ilkay Gundogan's wife, Sara (pictured) poses for a photo at Vogue's 20th anniversary party

Ilkay Gundogan’s wife, Sara (pictured) poses for a photo at Vogue’s 20th anniversary party

Viewers are also given behind the scenes access to the lavish house parties that the footballers and their wives throw.

Jorginho’s fiancée, Cat Harding, organised a summer garden party for her husband, and pulled out all the stops. It included a seemingly endless supply of Moet champagne bottles, dancers wearing flamboyant outfits, a giant harp, a balloon arch and 65kg of lemons to top things off.

One of the party planners reveals: ‘We needed extra lemons. So I had to drive to Watford. That was a two-and-a-half hour round trip. I came back with 65kg of lemons.’

As she got ready for the big event, Harding practiced a song in Italian, with Jorginho’s childhood friend, Kique, playing the guitar, all while she was wearing a dressing gown with a towel on her head. 

As she gets ready for the party, she tells the cameras: ‘It does feel like it’s all coming together I just feel a little bit under pressure, because the time’s getting close and my hair i’m supposed to be getting it done now he’s arriving any second.’

The documentary also gives viewers a glimpse of Mahrez’s leaving do – which he said all his teammates were going to attend.

‘We’ve decided to throw him a big leaving party just to celebrate all the good times, get everyone together for one last big party, and just enjoy it because they’ve got so much to celebrate as a team, and I think it’s nice that he gets to say goodbye properly to all his team-mates,’ Ward explains.

The party planners said they were spending ’20 hours a day’ trying to prepare for the event at the last minute. 

A massive dance floor, disco balls, quotes from Mahrez and big picture frames are seen as decorations at the party. 

The show also gives viewers a look inside the homes of the footballers and their partners, and it was evident that there had been no expense spared. 

Harding was seen stepping into a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, a machine designed to aid muscle recovery, and Tarkowski’s wife, Sam, who is a personal trainer, used the couple’s state-of-the-art gym to keep herself in prime condition. 

As she uses the oxygen chamber to help her bruises from a facial, she jokes to the cameras: ‘I had a facial the other day and I’ve got all these like little bruises so this machine is supposed to help healing. All the footballers use it and now me, I need this for recovery for top athletes.’

Jorginho and his partner were left in fits of giggles as they explained how they communicated when they first met on a dating app

Jorginho and his partner were left in fits of giggles as they explained how they communicated when they first met on a dating app

Harding practices an Italian song while wearing a dressing gown and towel on her head, as his childhood friend, Kique, plays the guitar

Harding practices an Italian song while wearing a dressing gown and towel on her head, as his childhood friend, Kique, plays the guitar 

In episode two, Harding forgets about the amount of holidays that the couple have been on over the summer, perhaps giving a glimpse of the luxury lifestyle they have.

She says: ‘We went to New York, then we went with the family to I’m trying to think Marbella, then we went to Portugal. We also went to Italy. I think we went somewhere else but I can’t remember.’

At one point, Harding sent the Married To The Game filming crew out of her house for an hour when Jorginho returned home.

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She said: ‘J’s coming home in two days in the evening. He’s actually said we’re having an hour together in the afternoon so I don’t care who is here they need to get out of our house for an hour.

‘So if you’re filming on Friday you have to get out for an hour!’

The show is not just about partying, though, and it also showed the softer side to the footballers and their partners as they played with their children.

Ward and Mahrez had a daughter together named Mila in July 2022, and she has already got a taste of the luxury lifestyle her parents enjoy.

In episode one, Mila played with her mum’s Louis Vuitton designer bag while sitting on the floor, with Ward also laying down a Chanel purse and a sparkling silver bag for her daughter to gaze at.

Ward also lifted the lid on the help she receives from others, with her sister, Darby, being on hand for babysitting duties and to offer advice, which was gratefully accepted as Ward tried to come to terms with Mahrez moving to another country.

But it is not all glitz and glam for the partners of Premier League footballers, as they opened up on the difficulties they have faced by dating high-profile sportsmen.

Samantha (pictured) uses the state-of-the-art gym that she has at her home with Everton defender James Tarkowski

Samantha (pictured) uses the state-of-the-art gym that she has at her home with Everton defender James Tarkowski

Samatha Tarkowski was reduced to tears when discussing the abuse she has received online over the years

Samatha Tarkowski was reduced to tears when discussing the abuse she has received online over the years

Harding revealed her relationship with Jorginho struggled to get off the ground after he ‘tricked’ her into thinking that he spoke fluent English.

The couple met on a dating app, and the Gunners star admitted he had to ‘copy and paste’ into Google Translate to figure out exactly what Harding was saying.

As they explained how their relationship worked, Jorginho joked: ‘We can’t speak, we can’t communicate, OK!’ as he threw his hands up in the air, before Harding added ‘What else are we going to do? Speak the language of love!’ which drew more laughs.

That initial stumbling block has been dealt with, but other partners admitted to having to overcome challenges on a daily basis.

Samantha was reduced to tears in the second episode as she explained how hard it has been to cope with people commenting on her body online over the years, claiming it is only since having her first baby that she has finally been able to change her perspective.

She reveals: ‘I struggled for years with eating disorders, low self esteem, poor body image. There is still part of me that struggles with that. I’m a woman in football. It’s hard work, it’s tough because all people wanna do is bring you down.’ 

In a more positive revelation, the couple told how they had their wedding in Provence, with food and drinks on the Friday, the ceremony on Saturday and a pool party on the Sunday.

Sam reveals: ‘We surprised our guests with Craig David. Everyone just lost it.’

Everton defender James Tarkowski (left) and his wife Sam (right) also star in the documentary and reveal how they hosted a three-day wedding in Provence where they surprised their guests with none other than singer Craig David (centre)

Everton defender James Tarkowski (left) and his wife Sam (right) also star in the documentary and reveal how they hosted a three-day wedding in Provence where they surprised their guests with none other than singer Craig David (centre)

Tarkowski married Everton defender James (left) last year, having started dating in 2015

Tarkowski married Everton defender James (left) last year, having started dating in 2015

Everton star Tarkowski and wife Samantha certainly didn’t hold back when asked about their favourite pastime together in a racy moment on Married To The Game.

The loved-up couple are seen in the third episode of the Amazon series hosting a wedding party for friends and family, two months on from their big day.

Cuddling up together on the sofa, the Tarkowskis are asked: ‘What’s your favourite thing to do together?’

Samantha asks cheekily, ‘what time is this show going out?’ before Everton defender James asks, ‘past the watershed?’

Samantha then shouts out ‘shagging!’ As the couple burst into fits of laughter.

She then adds: ‘Do you remember when we were younger and we used to get in bed and I was like ‘this is my favourite part of the day’?

‘Just getting in bed at the end of the day, just us two. And then shagging. But I do quite like it….’

 

Matt Turner's wife, Ashley (left) revealed she had to leave her charity work behind when he moved to England to join Arsenal in 2022

Matt Turner’s wife, Ashley (left) revealed she had to leave her charity work behind when he moved to England to join Arsenal in 2022

Elsewhere, Turner’s wife, Ash – a former NFL cheerleader – also discussed how she had to leave her life behind and give up her charity work after her husband left the US to join Arsenal in 2022. 

She tells the cameras: ‘Life was fairly easy and simple. But then getting a transfer across to a different country…

Turner interrupts: ‘…and give up your job and give up your charity work for the time being. She literally left her whole life behind.

Ash, who moved to UK when she was eight months pregnant, added: I didn’t realise how difficult it was going to be.’ She later goes to a pregnancy scan with her mother-in-law, with Turner on Facetime.

Turner admits later: ‘Missing scans and appointments is tough but to be honest I’ve missed so many things in my life I’m a little bit numb to it in some ways.’

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