THE mugshot said it all. Disgraced and dejected, Wayne Rooney stares impassively into the police camera following his arrest by the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority for public intoxication and swearing.
Six months after his American dream began, the question is being asked: are the Rooneys washed up in Washington?
Sources close to the family this week said they are ‘bored’ with their new American life and struggling to adjust to a diminished social scene.
So what is the truth about the Rooneys great American adventure? ALISON BOSHOFF reports…
The Loudon County Sheriff’s Office booking photo of footballer Wayne Rooney after he was arrested for public intoxication and swearing, 16 December 2018
WAYNE’S WORLD … A LIFE OF ANONYMITY IN Washington
Rooney’s American adventure began at the end of June 2018. He left Everton, the club he has supported since he was a boy, and signed as the star striker of struggling Washington-based soccer team DC United.
One rather sniffy headline ran: ‘Rooney taking a pay cut to play for one of the worst sides in the U.S.’ But the rewards are good: it is thought he is being paid a staggering £300,000 a week over the three and a half years of his contract.
Rooney is renting a house in the suburban Bradley Hills Grove neighbourhood of Maryland — a 50-minute drive from Washington DC — with wife Coleen and their four sons, Kai, nine, Klay, five, Kit, two, and baby Cass. The brand new pillared pile is a whopper — 12,000 sq ft, with seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms and parking for four cars — and costs £12,600 a month.
But while their domestic set-up is suitably luxurious, their social life and status are not what they used to be. A source said: ‘Wayne and Coleen are really bored over there. She has no friends and is at home with their kids all the time. They are in Maryland, which is really quiet, so if they do go out it’s bowling or cinema with the kids.’
Gone, too, is Wayne’s famous profile. In America, he is barely known. He flies economy with the rest of the team when they play away games and has to share his modest hotel room with another member of the squad — an almost unthinkable circumstance.
He told an interviewer: ‘I share with our centre-half Steve Birnbaum. If we’re watching something, he leaves his laptop on when he goes to sleep, which is a bit annoying.’
He said it was a novel experience to be treated like any other member of the public. ‘Here, you can go out. People still recognise you but approach you in a different way.
‘I’ve always felt in the U.S. they celebrate success a bit more than England. That’s not having a go at people back home, it’s just a different mindset.’
BYE BYE PARTYING … HI PLAYSTATION
Curiously, Rooney has only been seen twice in local bars over the past seven months. Although he has a driver — he would have to retake his test to drive in the U.S. — getting out for a night n the town seems to be the rarest occurrence.
In fact, parted from his friends, and far away from the ‘booze-birds-and-Bentleys’ British football culture, his social life seems to have dwindled to nothing.
Every now and then he has gone out with team-mates — dining on lobster rolls at The Salt Line restaurant in Washington over the summer — but it seems that none of the Washington players are up for ‘big nights’ involving buckets of alcohol and nightclubbing.
Luxury living: The family’s’ rented home, an impressive seven-bedroom mansion. Top, Rooney’s police mugshot and, right, Coleen pops out for a spa treatment
At home, his partners in crime were former Manchester United team-mates Wes Brown and Phil Bardsley but he has not found anyone cut from a similar cloth. Instead, he is glued to the Premier League every Saturday — guaranteed to make him miss his glory days — before playing in his own matches, which are at an evidently lesser level. His chief hobby is playing FIFA on his PlayStation. Wayne grumbles that the time difference means his pals are online just at the time when he’s wanted to help with the children.
Perhaps he boozed it up on the private jet in December as a reaction to the dull regularity of his new life, where he is deprived of the superficial glitter he has been used to since he was a teenager.
IN THE DC DOGHOUSE
Off the pitch, Rooney is in the habit of going from scandal to crisis, and although both he and Coleen have tried hard to present their American adventure as a shiny, fresh start, a fall from grace seemed inevitable.
A source said: ‘Wayne and Coleen are really bored over there. She has no friends and is at home with their kids all the time’
Last September, a couple of months after settling in Washington with her husband of ten years, Coleen popped out for a tarot and crystal reading with a psychic known as Mrs Jessica to find out what her future might hold. From her rooms above a milkshake parlour in Georgetown, Washington DC, Mrs Jessica delivered a prediction of ‘troubles in the marriage’ yet to come.
It wasn’t what Coleen, homesick and desperately missing her parents, wanted to hear. But anyone who has followed Rooney’s fortunes — the prostitutes, the party girls, the boozing and the gambling — would have thought her forecast a decent guess. And within months Rooney, 33, was in hot water.
Exiting a private jet flight from Saudi Arabia after a business trip without his wife on December 16, he was apparently so hopelessly plastered that he triggered a door alarm while going through Washington Dulles airport.
He was arrested for public intoxication, held at a detention centre, and released after paying a fine.
Coleen, 32, seems to regard her husband as a fifth child. A source now claims that she ‘sees the funny side’ of the incident in which Rooney was arrested for public intoxication
HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU?!
Coleen — yet again — was furious and reportedly yelled at him: ‘How many times do you need to be told?’ She then said he wasn’t to go out of the house again without her supervision. You can see why she would be so annoyed as the latest disgrace follows hard on the heels of his arrest for drink-driving.
He was stopped nearly three times over the limit in September 2017, driving the car of a girl he had picked up in a bar in Alderley Edge, Cheshire.
But Coleen’s curfew has clearly been lifted, as this week Rooney was spotted wandering around the Bethesda suburb of Washington on his own, muttering to following photographers that he was ‘doing fine’.
Coleen Rooney puts on a brave face as she treats herself to a day out in Washington, DC
The family presented a united front this week, going out shopping at their local mall.
The bottom line is that Coleen has forgiven him. Again.
Indeed Coleen, 32, seems to regard her husband as a fifth child. A source now claims that she ‘sees the funny side’ of the incident.
FITTING IN WITH THE LOCALS
Within a week of landing in the States in early August, Coleen was pictured hitting the shops wearing a casual pair of denim cut-offs and baby pink Gucci loafers. The family enjoyed a shopping spree at Washington’s premium outlet store Saks.
Since then the family have become regular sights at their neighbourhood Starbucks. Rooney often drops in for a coffee after doing the school run. They are also sometimes seen at the nearby Burger King for an after-school treat. Coleen goes for blow dries locally, and to the gym, carrying a £2,700 Chanel Deauville tote.
She seems to be a fan of green juice from one of the city’s many health food cafes, too.
Not that she’s shunned the family’s beloved fast food completely — she was recently seen picking up Nando’s and McDonald’s take-aways.
‘In England, I had to plan and make sure everything was right before we went. I can spend more time with my children, rather than looking over my shoulder. I can be more relaxed’, Rooney said
PUTTING THE FAMILY FIRST
The Rooneys’ three school-age boys have been enrolled at a private establishment in Washington. Fees start at $13,000 annually (£10,000) for the nursery, and go up to $34,000 (£26,000). ‘The school they are in is good, they are enjoying it. It is a British school,’ Rooney has said.
He is also finding he sees more of them. ‘I picked my kids up from school yesterday and took them to the shopping mall and there was no bother,’ he said recently.
‘I’d promised Kai a computer to play Fortnite on. Then we went bowling and to the cinema.
‘In England, I had to plan and make sure everything was right before we went. I can spend more time with my children, rather than looking over my shoulder. I can be more relaxed.’
The Rooneys’ three school-age boys have been enrolled at a private establishment and Rooney is said to be seeing more of them than he did in England
The family have also visited the Six Flags adventure park just outside Washington for Halloween and celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday in Disneyland, California. In December, the Rooneys were guests of honour at the White House Christmas Party and were given a guided tour of the building. President Trump’s 12-year-old son Barron plays for DC United’s youth team and is a huge football fan.
Rooney has also taken the boys to an ice hockey match and has joined a fantasy NFL league. He’s also learning about baseball in an effort to fit in and have something in common with team mates.
Up to a point, then, their lives have an American flavour. Coleen said: ‘My youngest one is going to be learning to talk in America.
‘They’ll all have a bit of everything accent-wise when they come back. I don’t think it will affect us as a family — as long as we are all together, we can take on anything.
‘When Wayne signed, there was no doubt in my mind that we wouldn’t go. We are a family.’
HOMESICK…AND HOME ALONE?
Coleen’s parents Tony and Colette went to the U.S. to spend August with the family. Her brothers have also visited.
Tony took Rooney, who like Coleen is religious, to the Washington National Cathedral. Coleen was apparently very homesick when they went back. ‘She’s hoping things will get better,’ said a source. Coleen said in August: ‘It’s hard not being able to pop down the road — an eight-hour flight is a long distance. You can’t just nip over for a cup of tea.’
As soon as Rooney’s playing season finished, the family came back to the UK for a Christmas break.
Coleen seems to have been particularly overjoyed to return. Building works on their huge mansion in Cheshire have finally been completed, meaning the family were able to spend the festive season at home.
They spent New Year at the ultra-plush Soho Farmhouse in the Cotswolds before returning to Washington.
Barron Trump (right) with Wayne Rooney (left), Lucas Sarvas (2nd left) and Matthew Matos (2nd right) at the White House
Rooney is due back in training in the last week of this month ahead of the season starting in March.
Sources say Coleen is rather gritting her teeth and making the best of the move, and found it ‘a wrench’ to leave her home in England behind again.
Although Rooney has signed a three and a half year contract with DC United, he and Coleen have agreed that she will spend only two years with him in Washington.
By September 2020 she will be back in their Cheshire mansion with the boys.
Kai will be starting senior school and they have agreed that it is a priority to have him start at his favoured establishment in the UK.
Rooney will, then, have to be trusted on his own for 18 months.
With a history which includes gambling away a reported £500,000, visiting prostitutes and getting too drunk to remember his own address, one has to wonder if that will be a good idea.