Girlfriend of Real Madrid newest star shuns limelight

Girlfriend of Real Madrid newest star shuns limelight

If her footballer boyfriend is earning about £300,000 (S$600,000) a week, a typical girlfriend would always be seen in the most expensive boutiques, adding the latest shoes and bags to her already bulging collection.

But it is unlikely that you would see Ms Emma Rhys Jones, 23, the long-term partner of Welsh footballer Gareth Bale, 24, in any one of those boutiques. She shuns the limelight, doesn't have an insatiable appetite for designer goods and is hardly mentioned in the press.

Bale signed for Spanish giants Real Madrid on Monday for about £84 million from English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.

She is more than happy to just put on her pyjamas and curl up on the sofa with a glass of wine, the Mail Online reported.

Friends and relatives of the polite family girl from Cardiff have insisted that living life under the gaze of the media spotlight will definitely not change the 23-year-old.

"Celebrity won't change Emma, no way. She and Gareth are just normal people that something extraordinary has happened to," her neighbour, Ms Theresa Thomas, told the Mail Online.

Ms Thomas remembered Ms Rhys Jones and her brothers and sisters growing up.

She said: "They were all such helpful, friendly kids, nothing was too much trouble. I've never known them to be yelled at or throw wild parties. "Their parents are very lucky. Emma's such a lovely girl. I've seen her and Gareth visiting many times."

Ms Thomas said: "Gareth is not a show-off, even now that he is doing so well. He is quite protective of his family. I don't think fame will affect them at all. They are a lovely, normal couple with fantastic supportive families. It just wouldn't be in their nature."

Proud family

Ms Jones' grandmother, Mrs Grace Rhys-Jones, was quoted by Mail Online saying: "She's a well rounded young woman. We are so proud of her. She has fiery Italian roots - I'm sure if the opportunity to move to Italy ever came up Emma wouldn't say no." Ms Rhys Jones is the second of five children.

She has an older sister, Charlotte, 24, a younger sister, Katie, 20, and twin brothers Robert and John, 19. She first started dating Bale when they were pupils together at Whitchurch High School in Cardiff when they were teenagers.

Friends said she is not interested in nightclubs or the celebrity lifestyle the wives and girlfriends - or Wags - of other football stars lead.

A friend of the pair said: "Gareth is a home bird and Emma's the same - they like a quiet life and their family is the most important thing to them. Emma is from a big family - they are close and supportive, she doesn't like being too far away from them." Another neighbour, Mr William Tout, 83, said he had seen Ms Jones around a fair bit when Bale was a teenager.

Said Mr Tout: "She's a really lovely girl. They'd both say a little hello when they pass by. Same with Gareth's parents. They're great neighbours. Really friendly people."

While football superstars would use their down time to mingle with A-listers around the world, Ms Jones and Bale will no doubt use their holidays to return to their home in Cardiff.

This commitment to their roots has been a massive factor in maintaining their relationship.

After almost 10 years together, the pair are rumoured to be engaged, but Bale keeps his private life a closely guarded secret.

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