Thierry Henry (EXCLUSIVE) I Cried Every Single Day, Dealing With Depression, My Childhood Trauma & Fighting For My Dad's Love!

Summary Notes


In this candid conversation, Thierry Henry opens up about his struggles with pleasing others, his lack of emotional expression, and the impact of his father's expectations on his life and football career. Despite his success, Henry grapples with understanding love and affection, having grown up without these emotional tools. He shares a poignant moment when he felt human and loved for the first time, not for his accolades but for his true self, which led him to prioritize being a better father over his career. Henry's vulnerability highlights the importance of addressing mental health and the pressures men face in society. His journey of self-discovery and healing, sparked by the isolation of COVID-19, underscores his desire to connect with his inner child and find happiness beyond his football identity.

Summary Notes

Early Childhood and Lack of Affection

  • Thierry Henry discusses his lack of affectionate upbringing and its impact on his emotional development.
  • His father's early declaration set the tone for his life, focusing him on football success.
  • Henry's upbringing involved a lack of emotional expression and an emphasis on strength and toughness.

"When I was young, I didn't see a lot of love, affection, hugging. My dad the first time he took me in his arm, said, this baby will be an amazing football player."

This quote highlights the early expectation set by his father for Henry to become a football player, which shaped his life and career.

The Pressure to Succeed and Parental Expectations

  • Henry felt programmed to succeed due to his father's influence and control.
  • His father focused on what Henry did not do rather than his successes, which instilled a fear of failure and a strong desire to please.
  • The pressure from his father continued even during his professional career.

"You're going to fail. That's what shapes you. But I was more scared not to please people."

Henry explains that his fear of not pleasing people was greater than his fear of failure, a mindset instilled by his father's expectations.

Realization of Personal Worth Beyond Football

  • The emotional realization came for Henry when his family showed they cared for him as a person, not just as a football player.
  • He recognized the humanity in himself and others' perception of him beyond his football identity.

"And for the first time, I realized they were crying for me. Not the football player, not the accolades. And I felt human."

The quote captures the moment Henry felt valued for his humanity rather than his athletic achievements, marking a significant emotional realization.

The Contrast Between Childhood and Adulthood Environments

  • Henry contrasts the tough neighborhood he grew up in with the safer environments his children are growing up in.
  • He values the life lessons and diversity his upbringing provided him, despite the hardships.

"I grew up in a modest household... it was the best, because I couldn't compare it to anything."

Henry reflects on his modest upbringing and the perspective it gave him, appreciating it despite not having other experiences to compare it to.

The Impact of Community and Protection

  • Henry was protected by his older brother and the community because of his potential in football.
  • This protection allowed him to avoid many of the troubles that could have derailed his future.

"So I always stayed away from trouble, especially with my parents. But also, I don't know if you had that, but when you have a certain gift and the guys in the neighborhood know that you might do something, you're also protected."

Henry acknowledges the protection he received due to his football talent, which kept him away from trouble and allowed him to focus on his future.

Emotional Learning Within the Family

  • Henry's family lacked emotional expression, which affected his ability to show affection and communicate his feelings.
  • His parents' divorce and the Caribbean cultural context influenced this emotional dynamic.

"I didn't know how to open up talking. I had a problem. Maybe I need help. I didn't know those tools."

This quote reveals Henry's lack of emotional tools to express himself or seek help, which stemmed from his family environment.

Seeking Approval and Attention to Detail

  • Henry's attention to detail and drive for approval were shaped by the focus on his shortcomings rather than his achievements.
  • This mindset, while beneficial in sports, came with a cost to his personal well-being.

"My attention to details comes from the fact that it was always what I didn't do that mattered."

Henry explains how his upbringing led him to focus on what he didn't do, impacting his approach to life and his attention to detail.

Immigrant Experience and Cultural Expectations

  • The pressure to fit in and succeed without making mistakes was a significant part of Henry's experience as the child of Caribbean immigrants in France.
  • His parents' concerns about maintaining their lives in France influenced his mindset and behavior.

"You so don't speak Creole. Make sure you speak French well. Don't do this, don't do that. We need to fit in."

Henry describes the strict cultural expectations placed on him by his parents to assimilate and succeed in France without causing any issues.

Football as a Predestined Path

  • Henry was pushed towards football from a very young age by his father, who had declared his future success in the sport.
  • This predetermined path left little room for Henry's personal choice or exploration of other interests.

"I was programmed to succeed. So whatever. What was going to happen was always going to happen."

The quote encapsulates Henry's sense of inevitability about his football career due to his father's early declaration and subsequent pressure.

Relationship with Father Centered Around Football

  • Henry's relationship with his father was largely based on football, and his desire to please his father was tied to his performance on the pitch.
  • His father's expectations influenced Henry's sense of self-worth and need for approval.

"I was on the mission to fulfill his dream, to please him. And by the way, don't get me wrong, at the time, I don't know how much I liked it. I don't know. All I knew is I didn't hate it."

Henry reflects on his complex feelings towards football and his father's dream, acknowledging that his personal desires were secondary to fulfilling his father's expectations.

The Cost of Athletic Success on Personal Development

  • The focus on athletic success came at the expense of Henry's personal and emotional development.
  • Henry's early departure from home to pursue football further limited his opportunities for a normal childhood.

"The human being was missing almost everything. But you need to understand, Stephen, like, I started to left my house. I was 13."

Henry highlights the sacrifices made in his personal development due to his early focus on football and the pressures of professional sports training from a young age.

Thierry Henry on Parenthood and Personal Growth

  • Thierry Henry discusses the impact of his children on his life.
  • He credits his children with teaching him to be a better father and opening his eyes to new perspectives.
  • Henry notes that his kids are helping him navigate aspects of life he previously didn't know how to handle.

"My kids save me. They are saving me. Every day. Every day I see something new. They're teaching me to be a dad. A better dad, not a better dad than my dad."

Thierry Henry is expressing gratitude towards his children for their role in his personal development. He feels they are guiding him to improve as a father and as a person.

Transition from Professional Athlete to Regular Life

  • Henry talks about the difficulty of transitioning from being a professional athlete to normal life.
  • He describes the end of an athlete's career as a form of death, as it signifies the end of competing at the highest level.
  • Henry reflects on how being an athlete allowed him to avoid personal problems, which he now has to confront.

"You die when you stop the athlete, a competitor dies. I can never play again in the prem. I can never play for France anymore. That part of me died."

The quote highlights the emotional and identity crisis that Henry faced upon retiring from professional sports, equating it to a kind of death of his athlete persona.

The Struggle with Identity Post-Career

  • Henry discusses the challenges of losing the identity of an athlete.
  • He compares the experience to actors who become so immersed in a role that they lose a sense of themselves.
  • He emphasizes the vulnerability felt when the "cape" of being an athlete is removed.

"And when you wear that cape, you feel different responsibilities. When you leave that cape, it's like you're naked. Like, oh, wait, I'm going to admit it now. They see my weakness."

Thierry Henry is describing the protective layer that being an athlete provided him, and how retiring stripped him of that, exposing his vulnerabilities.

Relationship with Arsène Wenger and Personal Independence

  • Henry discusses his relationship with Arsène Wenger, who became a substitute father figure.
  • He describes the difficult process of distancing himself from his biological father to pursue his football career independently.

"How do you tell your dad that he needs to step aside in order for me to have my career? It's my life."

This quote conveys the conflict Henry felt in needing to assert his independence from his father to advance his professional football career.

Parental Expectations and Performance Pressure

  • Henry reflects on the pressure of pleasing his father and the impact it had on his sense of achievement.
  • He shares a specific memory of scoring six goals in a game but still not meeting his father's expectations.

"I scored six goals. And on our way back... Silence... You happy?... You missed that thing. You missed that control. You missed that cross."

Henry recalls an instance that exemplifies the constant pressure he felt from his father to perform perfectly, regardless of his achievements.

The Values Underpinning Success

  • Henry discusses the values instilled in him by his father and other influential figures in his life.
  • He talks about the importance of never giving up, doing more, and the necessity of hard work.

"But there's something that was missing that I understood late. And I think for me, the best leader, you can be, the leader or the greatest leader, do have that. And I was missing that for a very long time, which in sport, because you have to play a game and you're not here to... You have a problem, more or less have a talk about it."

Henry acknowledges that while he had many values that contributed to his success, he later realized the importance of vulnerability and empathy, which he had previously overlooked.

Reflections on Happiness and Achievement

  • Henry questions whether he was truly happy during his career, despite his professional success.
  • He reflects on his continuous pursuit of pleasing others, particularly his father, and how that influenced his ability to enjoy his accomplishments.

"I never asked myself that question. I couldn't care less. I just couldn't care less like you saw it. I mean, you saw me play, so I couldn't care less."

The quote reveals Henry's indifference to his own happiness during his career, highlighting his singular focus on performance and seeking approval.

The Challenge of Relationships and Personal Life

  • Henry talks about the lack of guidance in his personal life and relationships.
  • He shares the struggles he faced during his divorce and the impact it had on his sense of self and performance.

"Nobody. You deal with it. You learn, you fail again."

This quote underscores Henry's acknowledgment that he had to navigate relationships and personal challenges without guidance, learning through trial and error.

End of Transcript (Incomplete)

  • The transcript ends abruptly with a mention of a podcast sponsorship, indicating an incomplete conversation.

(Note: The transcript provided ends mid-conversation, and therefore the study notes reflect the content up until the point of interruption.)

WHOOP Wearable and Personal Health Management

  • Steven Bartlett discusses his preference for WHOOP as a health and fitness wearable.
  • He highlights WHOOP's non-invasive design, unique analytics, and evolving membership model.
  • WHOOP's impact on behavior change is emphasized, particularly its influence on Steven's sleep and stress management.
  • Features like the WHOOP coach, journal, and weekly planner are credited with helping maintain consistent health and fitness habits.

"But WHOOP for me stands out for several reasons. A because of its non invasive design, b because of its unique analytics, and c a membership model that continually evolves with the product. But the biggest game changer for me, which is reason d is WHOOP's ability to foster meaningful behavior change for me, with WHOOP, I've been more attuned than ever before on how my daily activities can impact my sleep and stress levels."

This quote explains the four main reasons Steven Bartlett prefers WHOOP: design, analytics, membership model, and its effect on behavior change related to sleep and stress.

Huel Products and Personal Endorsement

  • Steven Bartlett is an investor in Huel and uses the platform to promote the brand.
  • He introduces the "Huel Steven Bundle," which includes his favorite Huel products.
  • The bundle is designed to appeal to both new and existing customers, featuring high-protein options, ready-to-drink products, bars, and a t-shirt.
  • Steven speaks to the convenience and nutritional completeness of Huel products, especially during busy times.

"And what I've done for you is I've put together for those people especially that haven't yet tried huel, but for all of those also that have, but haven't tried my favorite products, I put together what I call the Huel Steven Bundle, which is a selection of my favorite products from heel, including the black edition salted caramel flavor, which is super high in protein and has 17 servings per container."

Steven Bartlett describes the contents of the Huel Steven Bundle and emphasizes the high-protein content and his personal preference for the products.

Thierry Henry's Realization of Retirement

  • Thierry Henry shares the moment he realized his playing career was over due to chronic pain.
  • His inability to play with his daughter due to Achilles pain was the defining moment.
  • He discusses the necessity of embracing pain as an athlete and the difficulty when it becomes unbearable.

"So I'm at home with my daughter and she comes close to me and she touches me and she goes, you it? And she ran. I wanted to run. I couldn't. I wanted to run, I couldn't. I looked at her, I said, hey, you won. I couldn't chase her."

Thierry Henry recounts the poignant moment with his daughter that led to his realization that he could no longer handle the constant pain, signaling the end of his athletic career.

Post-Retirement Transition and Self-Reflection

  • Thierry Henry describes his feelings of relief and contentment upon retiring on his own terms.
  • He acknowledges the challenges of transitioning from being a competitor to finding a new identity.
  • The end of his career prompted a deep self-reflection about his impact on others and his personal growth.

"I was, in a way, happy. I'll tell you why. Because I stopped. Some people stopped because of injuries, some people stopped because of different stuff. I stopped, it was on my terms."

Henry expresses contentment with retiring on his own terms and the absence of regret in his decision to retire, despite still being capable of playing.

Dealing with Post-Career Identity and Mental Health

  • Henry opens up about his struggle to cope with the loss of his athletic identity and the mental challenges that followed.
  • He talks about the internal battle with his younger self and the need for self-acceptance.
  • The conversation delves into societal expectations, particularly the pressure to conform to certain appearances and behaviors.

"Everything came at once, especially during COVID time. Because that's when I really stopped. Because again, I was trying to find a way to find that cape."

Thierry Henry discusses the convergence of personal struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced him to confront issues he had been avoiding.

Vulnerability and Emotional Release During COVID-19

  • The COVID-19 pandemic and isolation led to an emotional release for Henry, as he found himself frequently crying without a clear reason.
  • He reflects on the importance of acknowledging and expressing emotions rather than suppressing them.
  • This period of vulnerability allowed him to confront his feelings and the need for approval that had been neglected since childhood.

"Me crying almost every day for no reason. Tears were coming alone. Why? I don't know, but maybe they were waiting for. They were there for a very long time, crying for everything."

Henry describes the unexpected and frequent crying during isolation, suggesting that these emotions had been suppressed for a long time and needed to be released.

Self-Discovery and Healing Post-Retirement

  • Henry discusses the journey of self-discovery and the challenges of understanding and healing oneself without external help.
  • He emphasizes the body's ability to adapt and heal, drawing parallels to mental resilience and self-care.
  • The conversation touches on the balance between acting with the heart and the brain, and the ideal of harmonizing one's inner child with adult decisions.

"Why can you not heal yourself alone, mentally, to a certain degree? Because you need help. I understand that, but this is what I'm saying. If you exposed to something for so long it would have an impact on you."

Henry ponders the possibility of self-healing mentally and the impact of long-term exposure to certain environments or conditions on one's mental state.

Mental Health Awareness and Societal Pressures

  • Henry addresses the societal pressures and expectations placed on men, contributing to mental health issues and high suicide rates.
  • He shares a personal anecdote about how his children's emotional response to his departure made him feel seen and loved for who he is, not just the athlete.
  • This moment of recognition and affection from his family was transformative for his mental health and self-perception.

"This is not the sexist thing or whatever. I don't want to enter the battle. Men, woman. This is not where I'm going. But it's not easy to be a man. That sheer pressure. And it is."

Henry speaks to the unique pressures faced by men in society, which can lead to mental health struggles and the alarming statistics surrounding male suicide.

The Power of Recognition and Love

  • The emotional support and recognition from his family provided Henry with a sense of humanity and belonging outside of his professional achievements.
  • He reflects on the importance of being seen as an individual rather than just for one's accomplishments or persona.
  • This newfound perspective and emotional nourishment from his loved ones were critical in his journey towards self-acceptance and mental well-being.

"For the first time, for the first time, and I know people say, oh, my God, sherry, for the first time. Because at that moment, it was the little me that felt it. I'm like, oh, they see me, not the football player, not the accolades."

Thierry Henry shares a powerful moment when he felt truly seen and loved for who he is as a person, not just as a footballer, which had a profound impact on his sense of self-worth and happiness.

Personal Growth Through Vulnerability and Empathy

  • Thierry Henry discusses how the Covid-19 pandemic led to a newfound openness to vulnerability, empathy, and understanding emotions.
  • He mentions a moment of realization and resonance with these emotions, suggesting that similar experiences may have occurred before but were not felt as deeply.

"Vulnerability, empathy, understanding those emotions. So the doors were there suddenly when that happened. Oh. I was like, oh, that door. Well, that's a new door. That's nice. Open. Boom. Done before. Maybe that happened before, and I never felt it, if you know what I mean."

  • The quote highlights the impact of the pandemic on Henry's emotional awareness and the sudden recognition of emotional vulnerability as a transformative experience.

Career Transition and Emotional Discovery

  • Henry describes his immediate decision to quit working in Montreal after a significant emotional realization.
  • He draws a parallel with Patrice Evra's experience of unlocking emotions when asked a poignant question by his partner.

"Yeah. Straight away."

  • Henry's succinct response to quitting his job in Montreal reflects the decisiveness of his action following an emotional epiphany.

Perception and Reality

  • Henry contrasts his ability to see solutions on the football field with his brain to his more limited perspective in life, which he viewed with his eyes.
  • He emphasizes the importance of visualizing solutions rather than focusing on obstacles.

"I used to see the game with my brain, not with my eyes... I see life with my eyes. And eyes that can be pretty deceiving."

  • This quote reflects Henry's distinction between his strategic and clear vision in football and his more obstructed view of life's challenges.

Self-Reflection and Therapy

  • Henry acknowledges the importance of connecting with one's inner child and understanding oneself to navigate life more effectively.
  • Despite not having been to therapy, he has always been aware of a disconnection with his younger self which influenced his approach to football and life.

"Since I'm young, I always knew that I was disconnected with my little self."

  • The quote underscores Henry's long-standing self-awareness and his recognition of the inner child concept without formal therapy.

Challenging Authority and Seeking Understanding

  • Henry shares anecdotes from his football career and education, where he consistently questioned authority and sought deeper understanding.
  • He expresses the need for explanations and understanding, which has led him to seek professional help.

"I was always challenging my coaches. Always I needed to know, why are we doing this drill?"

  • This quote exemplifies Henry's inquisitive nature and desire for meaningful explanations, both in his football career and personal life.

Processing Knowledge and Understanding

  • Henry discusses the process of not only having answers but truly understanding and digesting them to move forward.
  • He outlines the stages of knowing, understanding, and implementing change, highlighting the challenges of each stage.

"No, I'm trying to deal and digest with what happened because now I have the answers. But it's not because you have the answers sometimes that you understand what happened."

  • The quote conveys Henry's current focus on not just acquiring knowledge but fully comprehending and integrating it into his life.

Family Life and Personal Development

  • Henry reflects on the complexities of being a father, balancing work, and his personal development.
  • He discusses the struggle to be present at home and to find a comfortable role as a father, given his lack of a paternal example and his professional commitments.

"It's tough because like I said to you, it's not about not getting a good example. It's not the word, but I didn't have an example."

  • Henry's quote reveals his struggle with fatherhood due to the absence of a parental role model and his continuous professional obligations.

Legacy and Impact

  • Henry expresses a desire to be remembered not just for his football achievements but for his personal growth and ability to inspire others.
  • He emphasizes the significance of being honest and open about struggles to help others and to leave a lasting, meaningful impact.

"For me, what matters right now is how you transcend people, what you transmit, and how you can help people."

  • Henry's quote reflects his aspiration to have a transformative effect on others through honesty and sharing his personal journey.

Reflections on Childhood and Regrets

  • When asked about potential regrets from childhood, Henry asserts that he does not regret anything because his experiences shaped him.
  • He advises his younger self to enjoy life's journey, acknowledging that he often forgot to do so.

"I always say when people ask me that, I'll say, enjoy the ride. Enjoy the ride. And I insist on enjoy because I forgot to enjoy the ride."

  • This quote highlights Henry's perspective on life as a journey to be enjoyed and his recognition of the importance of savoring experiences rather than just enduring them.

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