Dele Alli: A Look at the Footballer’s Parents and Childhood Struggles
Everton midfielder Dele Alli has bravely opened up about his challenging early years, revealing that he was sexually abused by one of his mother’s friends when he was just six years old. In an emotional interview with Gary Neville on The Overlap YouTube channel, the 27-year-old also revealed that he was selling drugs when he was eight and was hung off a bridge when he was 11. Alli went on to outline that his difficult childhood played its part in an addiction to sleeping tablets which saw him spend six weeks in rehab in the USA earlier this summer.
As the football world shows an outpouring of support for the player, let’s take a look at his biological parents and his adopted parents who have shaped his life in very different ways.
Who are Dele Alli’s Parents?
Alli was born in Milton Keynes to English mother Denise and Nigerian father Kehinde. According to The Sun, the couple, who met in a nightclub whilst Kehinde was studying for a Master’s at De Montford University, married shortly before Alli was born. However, their marriage only lasted three years and they separated when Alli was a young child. Alli followed his father to Nigeria when he was nine years old but returned from Africa to live with his mother after two years.
In 2016, he elected to change the name on the back of his shirt from Alli to Dele, explaining that he shows no emotion towards his last name. Alli said: ‘I wanted a name on my shirt that represented who I am and I feel I have no connection with the Alli surname. This is not a decision I have taken without a lot of thought and discussion with family close to me.’ Alli is no longer speaking to his parents following public accusations they made against his adopted family when he was 18, which he has said left him feeling ‘betrayed and hurt’.
Who are Dele Alli’s Adopted Parents?
With his mother suffering with alcoholism, Alli moved in with Alan and Sally Hickford when he was 12. The Hickfords were the parents of Alli’s friend Harry, with the two boys going on to play together at the MK Dons Academy. Whilst Alli refers to the pair as his adopted parents, the former Spurs man has never actually been legally adopted by them. The midfielder has credited his foster parents for turning his life around and for the influence they have had on his football career. Alli said in the interview with Neville: ‘If God created people it was them, they were amazing and they’ve helped me a lot. When I started living with them it was hard for me to really open up to them. I felt within myself it was easy for them to get rid of me, so I tried to be the best kid I could be for them. I stayed with them from 12, started playing first team professionally at 16 and it took off from there.’
Who is Dele Alli’s Girlfriend?
Alli is currently dating 24 year-old model Cindy Kimberly. Kimberly, who is half Spanish and half Indonesian, is an influencer alongside her modelling work and boasts seven million followers on Instagram. The couple were first seen together whilst they were enjoying a holiday together in Capri in June 2022. Alli was linked to Pep Guardiola’s daughter Maria last year after the couple were pictured kissing on a rooftop bar following his split from previous girlfriend Ruby Mae.
Dele Alli’s story is one of courage and resilience, as he has overcome a difficult childhood and has gone on to become one of the most successful footballers in the world. His biological parents and adopted parents have all played their part in shaping his life, and it is clear that he holds them all in high regard despite their differences. As he continues to open up about his struggles, we hope that he will continue to receive the support he needs and deserves from both the footballing world and beyond.