Matching ‘I love you’ tattoos, a blockbuster Mallorcan wedding at a 17th century fort… and competitive Uno b – Daily Mail

7 minutes, 42 seconds Read
  • Adams and White married last year after becoming engaged in June 2022 
  • Defender has close family ties and prefers to relax away from game’s ‘intensity’
  • Why a defeat against Arsenal will be curtains for Man City’s title defence – Listen to the It’s All Kicking Off podcast 

While many England supporters and professional footballers might fail to understand exactly why Ben White has seemingly turned his back on a career with his national team at just 26, there are few who would doubt his quiet belief in his decision. 

There has been no public back-and-forth between the two parties. Speculation about whether the Arsenal defender had fallen out with assistant coach Steve Holland rumbled before being briefly but firmly denied by Gareth Southgate. And White has refused to comment, leaving his team-mates to step into the breach

‘The only thing I can say is it’s Ben’s life,’ said Declan Rice when asked about his choice on Monday. ‘It’s Ben’s decision. We can’t argue with him, with what he wants to do.

‘At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is what he thinks and at this moment in time, he obviously doesn’t want to play for England.’

With time in his schedule not filled with making up the squad and featuring in uneven performances against Brazil and Belgium at Wembley, White instead jetted to Dubai with his wife Milly Adams. Her Instagram post evoking an Uno match on a sun lounger between the two of them drew ire from those who still can’t fathom the right-back’s snubbing of a national team call-up, but spoke volumes about the player’s priorities. 

The pair have been married for nearly a year after tying the knot before the end of last season

White's wife Milly shared a picture of the pair playing Uno

The Arsenal defender has jetted off to a picturesque setting on holiday during the international break

At heart, White – who has spoken often about his lack of interest in watching football recreationally – is a homebody, and has a very close relationship with his tight-knit family, and wife of nearly a year Adams. 

The pair are believed to have started their relationship at some point in 2022, but shared their first hint on social media in February, when both White and Adams posted the same picture of themselves holding hands. 

In April, the 27-year-old first shared a picture of the pair together, with a cameo appearance from one of her – now the couple’s – dogs. 

With the relationship appearing to move at a clip, it was only just over a month later that White popped the question, getting down on one knee in June during a holiday at a mystery location, complete with a villaside infinity pool and jaw-dropping vistas. 

‘I got you for life,’ Adams shared alongside pictures of the idyllic setting, a phrase she later had embroidered onto her wedding veil. She also added a butterfly emoji, which has become synonymous with the pair’s relationship in subsequent posts. As well as an ‘M’ pendant, White has at times sported a butterfly necklace too, underscoring the theme. 

To mark the proposal, Adams also showed off the matching tattoos the couple inked in commemoration of their love – ‘I love you’, added to the inside of their wrists, written in one another’s handwriting. 

Both Adams and White have been open about their relationship, and the strength of their feeling for each other, on social media, with the former frequently showing her support for her then-boyfriend both in her pictures and their captions. 

Adams shared the first picture of the duo as a couple in April 2022 shortly before their engagement a month later

White and his wife used time off from football to travel widely, one of the defender's interest

As well as wearing an 'M' pendant, White also shares matching tattoos with his wife

As well as wearing an 'M' pendant, White also shares matching tattoos with his wife

His butterfly necklace could reference a tattoo that Adams had before the couple were an item

The 27-year-old once referenced her partner's jersey number with a stylish spot of nail art

In one, Adams even tipped a hat to her partner’s shirt No, getting a ‘4’ painted on one nail as part of a manicure – even though the blue tones of her nail art may have looked a little jarring to interested Gooners. 

But there has been a mutual awareness of when to keep things private, as they showed when White made the decision to leave the England camp at the 2022 World Cup in Doha. 

The FA released a statement at the time citing the defender’s decision to leave the training camp at Al Wakrah for ‘personal reasons’, and with no further details, rumours as to what might have befallen the White family ran rampant. But neither White nor Adams have ever directly commented on his decision – and don’t seem likely to any time soon. 

One year on from his proposal, White and Adams held their legal ceremony at Marylebone Old Town Hall, just one day after White featured in his team’s 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. But with the title in Manchester City’s grasp after Arsenal had fallen out of a bitter title race weeks earlier, there was little time for langour, and White could enjoy the day – with Adams sharing intimate snaps from the civil ceremony with the caption ‘married by best friend’. 

But the London ceremony was merely a precursor for a much larger affair, this time held in Spain’s Balaeric Islands – in lieu of taking part in England’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Malta, held just a day before on June 16. 

Built in the 17th century with the intention of defending Mallorca’s bay of Pollenca from pirate raids, the Albercutx Fortress is now home to one of the country’s most extravagant wedding venues, Villa La Fortaleza, and Adams and White picked the historic site for their special day – as Gareth Bale and Rafael Nadal had done before them. 

The lavish site comes with an equally lavish price tag – £34,000 (€40,000) per day to rent the 87,000 square metre property. But the cost will likely have been worth it, with the bride describing it as ‘the best day of her life’. 

White proposed in a mystery location nearly two years ago just months after taking their relationship public

The couple inked matching 'I love you' tattoos in one another's handwriting to commemorate the special news

Later married during England's Euro 2024 qualifiers in the summer of 2023, Villa La Fortaleza also played host the weddings of Rafael Nadal and Gareth Bale

Adams described her June wedding as the 'best day of her life' in an Instagram post

Adams described her June wedding as the 'best day of her life' in an Instagram post

But Adams isn’t the only family member that White shares a close bond with. His mother Carole is believed to attend every Arsenal match, home and away, as she has done since the start of his career at Brighton, and throughout loans to Newport County, Peterborough, and Leeds. 

Having picked up his lack of interest in watching football for fun from his father – who is said, to this day, to rarely watch a match on television – White instead shared insight into his bond with Barry by admitting that if he wasn’t a footballer, he would work alongside him. 

‘I’d probably be working with my dad if I wasn’t a footballer. He used to be a gardener,’ he wrote in Arsenal‘s matchday programme last year. ‘I think that’s why there was never any pressure on me growing up, because I would have been very happy with that.’

White has previously seen his family unit described as ‘very, very lovely’ by Brighton’s head of player recruitment Mark Anderson, who attested to the support the player received from his parents at every stage in his career. 

This encouragement and emotional support may in part stem from White’s childhood, which was largely defined by an immune deficiency that meant that he was constantly unwell. 

‘His immune system was not working,’ his mother, Carole, told The Athletic. ‘If somebody sneezed, he would end up with pneumonia.’

‘He had appendicitis and he didn’t come around from that for a while. He had six or seven different infections. He was in hospital for much of his young life, for months at a time.

‘He was seven when he had his appendix out. He was on antibiotics twice a day until the age of eight from 18 months old. He had massive allergies. We carried an Epipen (adrenaline auto-injector) everywhere. It would be the only way to save him.’

After being treated and making a full recovery, he was thrown into games and exercise on specialists’ advice, but his early awareness of the febrile nature of his health may have played a role in shaping his attitude to football’s intensity. White is supremely focused on the pitch and has described himself as obsessive in training, but off it, he’s been open about his keenness to unwind. 

‘Football is so intense,’ he told Sky Sports. ‘You come in every day giving 100 per cent. All I want to do is go home and not think about it, then come in in the morning fresh and ready to give 100 per cent again.’

He would later describe his enjoyment in being ‘a normal person’ with the chance to ‘relax’ away from the rigours of the Premier League.

White is devoted to his dogs, in particular his 'sprollie' - a springer-collie mix (pictured right)

The White household is one of constant competition with Uno and other games on the relaxation agenda

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For White, that means walking his dog – a ‘sprollie’, springer-collie mix, and his ‘prized possession’ – enjoying nature, and globetrotting, once revealing that if given a month away from football, he would want to ‘go travelling’. 

Playing games with Adams – like Uno – is also high on the agenda, even if sometimes his competitive streak does get the better of him. 

‘I want to win everything that I do,’ White admitted. ‘My missus and I play a lot of games at home and I won’t be letting her win. We play bat and ball a lot, Uno, this magnet game…’

But if Adams were to start winning, White revealed cheekily that ‘the ball gets lost’. 

England may lament missing out on the talents of a player with such an innate desire to win, even with the lowest of stakes. But White has made it clear a number of times that he knows what balance is best for him – and for the time being, that doesn’t include earning his international stripes. 


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