Ben Stokes today blasted ‘crazy’ claims he choked his wife at an awards ceremony and said: ‘I have become used to people making stuff up about me’.
England’s top cricketer was seen with his hand on Clare Stokes’s face at the Professional Cricketers’ Association party in London last Wednesday.
The Guido Fawkes blog then published the pictures and claimed Stokes had grabbed his wife in a ‘chokehold’ shortly before the couple left the event at Camden’s Roundhouse venue a week ago.
But Ben says that the incident has been misrepresented and cheapens the ordeal of genuine domestic abuse victims.
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.
‘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’.
‘Messing about’: Ben Stokes puts his hand on his wife’s face at a cricket awards ceremony in London last week, in what Clare Stokes, left, has described as a playful moment
Mrs Stokes said this moment was ‘Me and Ben messing about squishing up each other’s faces cos that’s how we show affection’
Ben Stokes pictured celebrating being named players’ player of the year at the Professional Cricketers’ Association Awards with a cigarette outside
The couple had been drinking Champagne at the Professional Cricketers’ Association Awards in London with friends, ECB staff and other sportsmen
Ben and Clare got cosy in the bar, enjoying a hug and a kiss over a drink at the black tie bash a week ago
Speak to the hand: Mrs Stokes holds her hand up to her husband as he draped his arm around her while they chat to other guests at the awards ceremony
After leaving the bar their conversation appeared to become more serious with Clare making a point to her husband
The incident last Wednesday night in London, which the couple insist was a joke, took place in front of a friend
Minutes after Ben says he playfully pushed his wife, they looked happy as they left together in a black cab heading for McDonald’s
Clare Stokes tweeted this message today after a photo emerged of her husband with his hand in her face at a cricket awards night last week. She made light of the picture, and even posted her own jokey version, with her hand in her husband’s face
Clare Stokes posted pictured of her birthday celebrations with her husband (pictured left and right). In a reference to the furore today she said ‘not gonna let some idiots ruin what’s been an incredible 30th birthday
He added in a statement to the Mirror: ‘It’s [domestic violence] 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’.
The couple looked happy as they celebrated Clare’s 30th birthday with their two children and friends – but hours earlier they were forced to defend their behaviour on a night out.
Mrs Stokes took to social media to make light of the claim she was choked, branding the story ‘nonsense’ and shared a photo of her playfully squishing her husband’s cheeks.
‘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!’, she wrote on Twitter.
‘And all before we then have a romantic McDonalds 20 mins later!’
Mrs Stokes also shared a photo of her and her husband posing on the red carpet.
Ben Stokes later retweeted his wife’s message, alongside with a kissing emoji, to his 600,000 followers.
Clare followed it up with an Instagram post featuring romantic pictures of the couple.
In the post, she thanked Ben Stokes for arranging a birthday weekend for her and said: ‘Not gonna let some idiots ruin what’s been an incredible 30th birthday.’
‘Had the most amazing birthday weekend! Ben planned it all as a surprise,’ she explained.
The happy couple at the start of the evening at the Professional Cricketers’ Association party in London last Wednesday
Ben Stokes poses for the camera with the Reg Hayter Cup after winning the NatWest PCA Players Player of the Year
English Cricket Star Ben Stokes pictured celebrating being named players’ player of the year at the Professional Cricketers’ Association Awards in London
The cricket star makes sure thee Cricket World Cup was safely tucked away in its case before beginning the celebrations with his wife and guests
Ben Stokes enjoys a drink at the award ceremony in London on Wednesday, while his wife clinks her glass with another guest and chats after his awards victory
Ben opened the bottle of Champagne he won with his award last night, sharing it with his wife and friends
He also had a pint on the go and toasted the group surrounding the cricket star with Clare close behind him
In separate pictures, the couple were pictured kissing at the bar of the Camden venue, and seem to be having a good time
Ben Stokes looking pensive as he pours himself some bubbly at the bar, while his wife shares a joke with other guests
Ben Stokes shares a joke with the other guests at the award ceremony where he was pictured putting his hands on his wife’s face
The pair were also pictured arm in arm at the event in Camden last Wednesday night. Clare Stokes earlier shared a photo of her playfully squishing her husband’s cheeks
Ben Stokes and his wife Clare Stokes share a kiss as they celebrate his brilliant sporting year. They eventually left the venue in a taxi
Ben Stokes dodges a drink tumbling to the floor during the event to celebrate Professional Cricketers’ Association Awards in London
Ben Stokes in full celebration mode with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth after he bags the players’ player of the year at the Professional Cricketers’ Association Awards in London
Ben Stokes whispers into his wife’s ear while they perch at the bar, during the awards ceremony in London last week
The cricketing star has taken off his jacket and holds his wife’s hand while they talk at the bar during the awards event
Clare Stokes places an arm on her husband’s lower back as they drink and celebrate his successful sporting year
Time to celebrate: Ben Stokes uncorking the champagne after winning an award for players’ player of the year
Pointing the finger: Now Clare points the finger at her famous cricketing husband as the awards ceremony
The couple in an animated conversation with another award ceremony guest in London last Wednesday
Face to face: The couple at the Professional Cricketers’ Association bash in London last week in animated conversation
‘Got all my best friends and family there including flying people over from America and Australia!!!! Cried my eyes out! It was an incredible night and I’m so grateful to Ben for organising and to everyone who came.’
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: ‘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.’
Ben Stokes is heavy favourite to be voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year and has even been tipped for a knighthood after his heroics on the field this summer.
The 28-year-old helped England win the Cricket World Cup for the first time in July in a madcap final against New Zealand, the country of his birth.
The couple have a bit of time away from other guests after Mr Stokes wins an award at the ceremony in London last Wednesday
The couple at the Roundhouse venue in Camden where one report claimed the cricketer had his wife in a ‘chokehold – but Clare Stokes has laughed it off
The couple chatting more privately after previously being surrounded by guests at the Roundhouse venue on Wednesday
Cricketing star Ben Stokes holds his hands up while having a conversation with his wife at the awards ceremony
Ben Stokes and his wife appeared to be in an animated discussion at the awards venue on Wednesday, away from other guests
Ben Stokes and his wife Clare Stokes have an animated discussion at the awards ceremony on Wednesday last week
The couple have a private chat at the awards ceremony away from the other guests prior to Mr Stokes grabbing his wife’s face
Ben Stokes appearing to grab his wife by the face at the awards ceremony. Mrs Stokes quickly made light of the claim, branding the story ‘nonsense’ and sharing a photo of her playfully squishing her husband’s cheeks
The Ashes star was seen with his hand on Clare Stokes’s face at the Professional Cricketers’ Association party in London last Wednesday
The couple hop into a cab at 2.25am and appear happy. They later arrived at their hotel. Today Mrs Stokes revealed they had a romantic late-night McDonald’s
Mrs Stokes said they went for a ‘romantic McDonald’s’ after the event. They were later pictured returning to their hotel
Just weeks later Stokes played one of England’s greatest Test innings of all time to pull off a stunning comeback victory against Australia in the Ashes series.
His 135 not out led England to a thrilling win and he finished the five-match series as England’s most prolific run-scorer.
At last week’s ceremony he was awarded the Reg Hayter Cup for player of the year.
His exploits this summer marked a turnaround in Stokes’s fortunes less than 12 months after he was put on trial for affray.
Raising a glass: Clare Stokes shared these cheerful photos of her 30th birthday celebrations and said she would not let ‘idiots’ ruin the festivities
So in love: The couple celebrating Clare’s 30th birthday days after the cricket award ceremony
Clare Stokes gets emotional after her husband Ben Stokes throws her a surprise birthday weekend
The loved up couple gaze into each others eyes at Clare Stokes birthday, all organised by her cricketing hero husband
Stokes’s career was in jeopardy after the brawl outside a Bristol nightclub in 2017, but he was found not guilty.
The couple married in 2017 and the pair live with their two children, Layton and Libby, in the North East.
His parents have moved back to their native New Zealand along with his brothers.