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Boys Don't Cry

20th Mar 2019

Former Marine JJ Chalmers explains how his wife helped him overcome horrific IED injuries

Wil Jones

Brought to you by ASOS

“I wouldn’t be here without her”

Before becoming a television presenter and athlete, JJ Chalmers served as a Royal Marine. In 2011, he was involved in a horrific IED blast –  receiving facial injuries, losing two fingers and destroying his right elbow.

After leaving the Marines in 2016, he went on to present Channel 4’s coverage of the 2016 Paralympic Games. He also won a gold medal for Britain in cycling at the Invictus Games in 2014.

JJ Chalmers was a guest on this week’s episode of Boys Don’t Cry, and spoke about how the dangers of his job put him off committing to a long term relationship.

“So I was in the Marines, it was in 2011 that I got blown up. I was with my girlfriend, now wife, at the time,” Chalmers explained. “But I remember the years that led up to that, I couldn’t keep a relationship. Ultimately, it was because I knew I was going to Afghanistan, I could be dead next year.

“And that was both a sense of ‘better live life’ and all that kind of nonsense, but really not wanting to put somebody through that. It’s just a cruel thing to put somebody through.”

Yet he said it was his partner who ultimately got him through his life-changing experience.

“Having said that in the end, of course, it was my girlfriend, when I woke up in a hospital bed who dragged me through all this nonsense. I wouldn’t be here without her.

“But it takes something like that to realise that.”

Chalmers and his wife now have a daughter – but he said he couldn’t imagine being in the Marines while leaving a child back home.

“The Marines is a young man’s game. It’s a lot of time away from home. The divorce rates are quite high.

“I remember being there with some of the more senior blokes, and they had families. I remember thinking that must be bloody hard.

“Yes, my girlfriend would have been devastated [if I was killed], But I wasn’t leaving kids at home. I didn’t feel like anyone really depended on me. If the worst was going to happen… I wasn’t going to ruin a kid’s life by them not growing up with their father.”

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