WOLVES and Scotland striker Leigh Griffiths has revealed how internet abuse targeting his children drove him to the brink of suicide.
In an interview with The Scottish Sun, the 23-year-old recalled how months of online abuse - including people wishing death on his unborn son - left him in a ‘bad place’.
Griffiths, who spent last season on loan at Hibernian, said: “Someone on Twitter wanted my kids dead. I then thought about suicide because I’d had enough.
“I didn’t tell anyone what I was thinking. Some of the abuse myself and my kids have had to suffer has been utterly sickening.”
The Scotland international also revealed how staying with his brother Paul and sister-in-law Sarah helped him to deal with the onslaught of abuse.
And Vikki Burns, mother of the footballer’s daughter Kacie, told how a ‘farewell’ text message from the Edinburgh-born striker prompted her to contact the star’s family for help.
Griffiths and Vikki are separated but remain on good terms, and she added: “[Leigh] texted me saying, ‘Tell Kacie I love her, give Kacie a kiss from me’.
“It was just the way he wrote it - I knew there was something wrong.”
The striker himself admits that sometimes he went ‘a bit over the top’ whilst playing for boyhood heroes Hibs, but stressed that the normal banter crossed a line.
He added: “Of course [the abuse] affected me, you never want to see anything negative said about you.
“But it affects everyone I’m close to - Paul, Sarah, their kids and the mothers of my kids. I was a boyhood fan playing for my team, I wanted to give as much as I could.
“I admit I went a bit over the top sometimes and that’s why I got some stick. I can laugh banter off but it upsets me when it affects my family.”
Griffiths also hailed the support offered to him by club bosses at Easter Road, adding: “I spoke to the doctor and manager Pat Fenlon who was an absolute God-send. I could talk to him about anything.
“He would give me days off training to let me relax.”
The striker, who netted 28 goals in all competitions last season for Hibs, is playing regularly for English League One side Wolves, where he was named player of the month for August.
He said: “I’m fortunate I earn a decent wage and can give my kids and my brother’s kids presents and help them out.
“I’m doing this to make my family proud. All I want to do is make them happy - and that makes me happy.”