Mike Phillips is a former professional rugby player who dated Welsh singer Duffy for approximately two years, from 2009-2011. Phillips is also Welsh, and played at the scrum-half position in rugby until he retired in 2017.
According to online publication Wales Online, Duffy and Phillips dated for 20 months before calling it quits in May 2011.
A source said, “It is a very unfortunate and sad situation but things had been deteriorating for quite a few months. The arguments were increasing as the uncertainty surrounding Mike’s career increased. They tried to reconcile things on several occasions and were both keen to make it work but it is now over once and for all.”
“It’s all very amicable,” the source added. “It is just unfortunate the way things didn’t work out.”
In the years following, Duffy’s career went quiet. Then, on February 25, 2020, Duffy re-emerged on social media to say she’d gone through a grueling experience which led her to disappear for a while. She wrote,
Many of you wonder what happened to me, where did I disappear to and why. A journalist contacted me, he found a way to reach me and I told him everything this past summer. He was kind and it felt so amazing to finally speak. The truth is, and please trust me I am ok and safe now, I was raped and drugged and held captive over some days. Of course I survived. The recovery took time. There’s no light way to say it. But I can tell you in the last decade, the thousands and thousands of days I committed to wanting to feel the sunshine in my heart again, the sun does now shine. You wonder why I did not choose to use my voice to express my pain? I did not want to show the world the sadness in my eyes. I asked myself, how can I sing from the heart if it is broken? And slowly it unbroke. In the following weeks I will be posting a spoken interview. If you have any questions I would like to answer them, in the spoken interview, if I can.
Duffy has not indicated who her abuser was, or if she ever plans to share that information.
However, given the shocking news, many people might be wondering what happened to Phillips, too, after all these years.
After his relationship with Duffy ended, Phillips continued to play rugby for a spattering of years at a number of organizations before retiring in 2017. He has since married, though the identity of his wife remains unknown. To Wales Online, Phillips explained that his wife “prefers the quiet life.” He and his wife now life in Dubai, with their baby son.
Here’s what you need to know about Phillips:
1. Phillips’ Father Is a Dairy Farmer; He & His Brothers Were Raised on a Farm
According to a 2009 profile of Phillips in London’s The Times, the rugby player was raised on a farm in west Wales. His father, Trevor Phillips, is a dairy farmer, and his mother, Morfydd, is a retired teacher. Phillips has two older brothers, Mark and Rob.
Phillips said of his upbringing to the publication, “It’s not an area known for producing great rugby players but I’m grateful for the years at Whitland, playing with my mates, spending time in the clubhouse afterwards and developing a love for the game. I’ve always had great support from the people of St Clears, Whitland and Bancyfelin.”
David Walsh, the writer for the publication, described Phillips as a slightly unexpected personality, given his aggression on the field. “There is quietness about him, a reticence you don’t expect,” Walsh wrote. “How can he be so aggressive on the pitch and so quietly spoken and mellow off it? Well, that’s the way he is.”
2. In 2008, Phillips Was Attacked Outside a Nightclub; He Chose Not to Pursue Charges
In 2008, Phillips was attacked outside of a nightclub in Cardiff city center, to the point that he needed to be hospitalized as a precaution. According to BBC, he suffered facial injuries, but was discharged later on that same day. Per eyewitnesses, Phillips appeared to have been knocked out after the attack.
Phillips was playing rugby for Ospreys at the time. A spokesperson for Ospreys told BBC, “The matter has now been reported to the police and we await the outcome of their investigations.”
Several days later, though, a police spokesperson said that Phillips didn’t want to proceed with the investigation.
3. Phillips Was Suspended From Separate Teams on Two Occasions for Various Breaches of Misconduct
In June 2011, a month after his breakup with Duffy was confirmed, Phillips was involved in a “late night incident” near a fast food restaurant, which led to his being taken away by officers. He wasn’t arrested, according to BBC, but the altercation still led to his suspension from the Welsh Rugby Union, where he was playing at the time.
An executive for the rugby club gave the following statement, after Phillips’ suspension:
“The player has been suspended due to a clear breach of the standards which we expect to be maintained by someone involved in one of our national squads.
Discipline and acceptable behaviour are issues which run to the core values of the Welsh Rugby Union and we cannot tolerate any compromise of those standards.
Mike Phillips is an exceptional player, but there is irrefutable evidence … that he was engaged in behaviour which falls below the standards we set.
It is vitally important that we send out a clear and unambiguous message to one and all concerning our views on matters of this sort.”
Then, in 2012, Phillips was playing for Bayonne, a French rugby team. He was suspended for the second time in his rugby career, according to a report by BBC at the time. He was reportedly suspended for “off-field behavior,” according to a spokesperson for the team.
That spokesperson continued, “Mike has a meeting with the board of the club and head coach, Christian Lanta, at the start of next week and they will talk about his suspension. All the players have to be responsible and have a professional attitude at the club.”
4. Phillips’ Two Brothers Are Also Impressive Athletes
Phillips’ two older brothers have impressive athletic accomplishments under their belts, as well. According to the profile of Phillips in The Times, Phillips’ older brother Mark was a Welsh amateur boxing champion who went on to play professionally for a period of years. Phillips’ other older brother, Rob, was a “decent scrum-half with Whitland,” the publication reports.
5. Phillips Now Lives in Dubai With His Wife & Child
In June 2019, Wales Online caught up with Phillips, who had retired from the sport of rugby and was now living in Dubai. He runs a rugby academy in Dubai now, he explained, noting that his goal was to keep himself busy during retirement.
He explained, “It is difficult for some players, but you have to keep busy. I’m trying to do lots of things and see which one I want to do next.”
Phillips also chose to address his history of suspensions and questionable behavior. He told the publication, “I think it was me perhaps not dealing with the pressure that I put on myself and the pressure that came from coaches and external stuff.”
He added, “People make mistakes and I made a few bad decisions… Obviously, I’d love to go back and change some things but I’d always protect my family, myself and my team-mates.”
“Sometimes I should have just walked away,” he said, “but that’s the way it is.”