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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 April 2004, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Bests granted 'quickie' divorce
George and Alex Best
George Best and wife Alex in happier times
Soccer legend George Best and his estranged wife Alex were granted a "quickie" divorce at the High Court's Family Division on Wednesday.

The divorce was granted on the grounds of George Best's adultery with an unnamed woman.

Neither of the Bests were at the hearing before District Judge Richard Harper.

The couple's nine-year marriage hit the rocks after Best began binge drinking, not long after a liver transplant.

Marriage troubles

Alex, 32, confirmed they would be divorcing when she appeared on reality TV show I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!

The former air hostess described how Best, 57, smashed her car windows when she came home late following a magazine shoot.

After confirming she wanted a divorce, Alex told fellow contestant Jordan: "I haven't caused it which is another nice thing to know. It's not my fault.

"It's a shame. It's really sad but c'est la vie."

Life 'intolerable'

In a question and answer style court document, Alex Best was asked to "state your reasons for saying that the respondent (George Best) has committed the adultery alleged".

She answered: "I found the respondent in the bed of the women concerned at her home."

She was then asked the date on which she first knew Best had committed the alleged adultery and gave the answer as 28 November, 2003.

Asked if she found it "intolerable" to live with the respondent, Alex Best, who gave her address as Homefield Farm, Reigate, Surrey, replied: "Yes."

She says that since 28 November, 2003, she has not lived in the same household as her husband.

'I found the respondent in the bed of the woman concerned at her home.
Alex Best

She announced the marriage split in September last year after he continued going on drinking binges despite being told they could kill him.

At the time, she said in a statement: "I have always supported George and always will, but for the present we will be living separate lives."

Best, who has been described as the greatest footballer of his generation, was finally ordered to stop drinking in 2000.

But even after a life-saving liver transplant operation in July 2002 and vowing to give up alcohol, the former Manchester United star started drinking again.

In February, he was banned from driving for 20 months after pleading guilty to a drink-driving charge.

The court was told that Best had been trying to drive himself to a health farm when he was stopped, having realised he needed to resolve his problems.

'Fifth Beatle'

Best, who was voted European Footballer of the Year during his brief career, turned his back on a top level career after just nine years, retiring at the age of 26.

"I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered," he famously said of his lifestyle.

The Belfast boy made his debut for Manchester United at the age of 17 and immediately enchanted fans.

A first trophy - the league title - came two year later in 1965, and within a year Best had been dubbed the "Fifth Beatle".

The nickname was given to him by the Portuguese press after he had almost single-handedly dismantled an experienced Benfica side in the European Cup.

His United career ended in 1974 when he failed to turn up to training and the manager, Tommy Docherty, finally sacked him.

He finally retired from the game in 1983, but many say his career had effectively ended when he left United.

Best banned for drink driving
02 Feb 04 |  England
Best admits drunken fights with wife
10 Oct 02 |  4x4 Reports
Best 'doing well' after treatment
23 Aug 02 |  Northern Ireland
Simply the Best
08 Dec 02 |  Sports Personality 2002


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