BEN Stokes has rubbished claims he “choked” his wife at an awards bash after pictures emerged appearing to show his hands round her neck.
Pictures from the Professional Cricketers’ Association Awards, where Stokes won the Players’ Player of the Year awards, were posted on the Guido Fawkes website yesterday.
Soon after they were published, the cricket star’s teacher wife Clare branded allegations of a bust-up “nonsense”.
Following Clare’s denial, Stokes released a statement to the Mirror calling the claims “irresponsible”.
He said: “I have become used to people making stuff up about me, but of all the topics not to mess with domestic abuse has to be at the top of the list.
“It’s an incredibly serious issue for thousands of women – and men – who do suffer domestic abuse.
“For it to be toyed with for cheap headlines in this way just damages the cause of those who are abused.
“Clare is a strong, independent woman who can speak for herself.
“We have a wonderful relationship and I never tire of saying how lucky I am to be with her.
“We both had a great night at the PCA Awards, ending with us dining out at McDonald’s together.
“To falsify and spread these kind of allegations so willingly is totally irresponsible.”
Wife Clare took to Twitter to deny the claims – and posted a snap of her lightheartedly grabbing Stokes’ face in a car alongside a posed up picture from the night.
She wrote: “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!”
Stokes had taken to Instagram to share multiple pictures from the bash that showed him carrying a large takeaway bag from the fast food restaurant.
Tom Harrison, CEO of the ECB, 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.’’
The couple, who have two children together – six-year-old son Layton and daughter Libby, four – tied the knot in Somerset in October 2017.
Speaking about his relationship previously, Stokes revealed Clare caught his eye at a match between Lancashire and Durham in 2010.
They got engaged in 2013 after a long distance relationship and now live in County Durham.
Stokes played a starring role England’s World Cup success in July and delivered a stunning performance in the final against New Zealand.
The all-rounder then hit 135 not out to steer England to a thrilling one-wicket win over Australia in the Third Ashes Test at Headingley.
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Gushing about wife Clare after the performance, Stokes said: “Clare has been brilliant and so supportive throughout the years.
“Your family go though everything with you, good and bad, so it is great to be able to celebrate with them at times like this.
“That is the thing for our partners who have to live the ups and downs with us and cope with the various stages we’re at.
“I love playing cricket, but you need to be able to get away from the game and that is where your home and your family keep you grounded.”
Ben kisses wife Clare after winning the World Cup[/caption]