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Brutally Honest with Jermaine Pennant

Former professional footballer, Jermaine Pennant, speaks with House of influence about his brand-new podcast Brutally Honest. Where he opens up about childhood traumas and how leaving the past hurts unfixed can lead you down difficult paths.

Jermaine Pennant had a 25-year career as a professional footballer. A product of the Notts county and Arsenal FC youth and becoming a Liverpool FC legend.

His talent is undeniable, yet this was often overshadowed by his behaviour off pitch.
From scandalous headlines to stupid mistakes. Jermaine wants to open up and talk in depth about his childhood which left him unguided and unable to understand who he was. Now thirty-nine years old he has started to unpick the destructive cycles and really find himself. His brand-new podcast, “Brutally honest” is not only a chance to help other people listen and take note from his mistakes but also for Jermaine to talk it out with guests on the podcast to really get into depth on the subject to create more lightbulb moments for himself.

Jermaine, you had a difficult upbringing, can you tell us about this and how you think that affected your career as you grew up?

Looking back, it was very difficult, if you don’t know any difference, you assume it’s the norm. My upbringing was never stable, we moved from home to home and my mother wasn’t around so I never had maternal love, I had multiple stepmoms before I turned 9.

My father was young and on benefits trying to provide as best he could until he turned to drugs. Crime and gang culture was always in my life from when I could remember, I saw my fair share of firearms as a young teenager. I never had guidance. I kinda took care of myself, took myself to primary school at the age of 8-9 and took myself to football.

It certainly had an impact on my life and my career, in decision making, going off the rails when I was at my low point, feeling like I was alone and with no support. Subconsciously craving attention to fill that void that was left from never having a mother around to lead to multiple mistakes throughout my life and career. I found if things were going well for me in my career or life, I would self-destruct as I didn’t understand that feeling of safety so to sabotage it and send me back to chaos which was something that felt familiar, I think as humans we subconsciously always seek out what is familiar rather than what is good for us. I cannot remember a time where my childhood was great. I just knew survival mode.

You have launched your new podcast ‘Brutally Honest’, how did this come about?

The podcast is something I’ve always wanted to do and I thought the time was right. I listen to alot of podcasts and sometimes I can’t get out of the car till the episode finishes. You can learn alot listening to other people’s stories. I know, now that I am older, my upbringing led to a lot of bad choices and therefore I hope my story may help other people to understand themselves and make better choices rather than acting out from unhealed traumas, the podcast is also helping me grow as a person and learn more about important issues as i have some incredible guests that have suffered terrible traumas but have used it to better themselves and their lives. Everyone who we’ve had so far have been truly inspirational with incredible stories. We can all learn so much from each other and podcasts are a great way of doing that.

Do you have any advice for youngsters coming from disadvantaged or traumatic backgrounds?

Whatever the issue is that makes you either shut down, seek validation, or mask the pain or even self-destruct. Do not be ashamed, speak to people, speak to professionals, it doesn’t make you weak, if anything it will make you stronger. No matter what your upbringing has taught you or made you feel about yourself. Know that you are worthy and have every right to a better future.

At HOI we love to get behind people who have learnt from the past and seek better futures, especially those using their own traumas to help others. Jermaine really is the epitome of that. Check out his brand-new podcast, ‘Brutally Honest’ launching on May 3rd, here:

Artwork by Erika Straub
Anxiety + Trauma Coach