London, Feb 21 (ANI): Ashley Cole did all he could to cover up his affair with American lover Ann Corbitt and did not even shy away from using an unsuspecting Chelsea club official to help gag the story.
Panicked at the thought of his affair going public Cole bombarded Corbitt with phone calls begging her to keep mum.
"Ashley was calling me all day, almost every night and then three, four, five times a night. Sometimes I remember it was all night on the half-hour," the News of the World quoted Corbitt, as saying.
She went on: "He would literally beg me not to tell anyone what happened between us then repeat the strategy, 'If you don't say anything, the newspaper has nothing to print.'
"Then he would repeat how horrible this was for him, how he hated the press and how sorry he was for getting me into it."
Cole also asked a Chelsea executive for help, who provided media and legal coaching for Corbitt on how to fight off a newspaper investigation.
Cole's desperate cover-up plan went into action moments after a female reporter, tipped off about the July 18 fling, called the intercom of Corbitt's Seattle apartment four days later.
"This woman's voice started saying, 'I know this is really awkward and you don't know me... ' and I thought for a minute, 'It's Ashley's wife!' Instead she started documenting my night with Ashley exactly as it happened. I was so shocked the first thing I did was call Ashley," Corbitt said.
Cole knew he had to make sure Cheryl, who was in Los Angeles at the time, did not find out.
Corbitt said: "He picked up right away then when he heard what was up immediately passed me over to someone called Steve Atkins, who was travelling with him." Atkins is Head Of Communications at Chelsea, a respected official who had no reason to believe Cole had cheated on his wife and was acting in good faith. On the basis of what Cole told him he helped the footballer and Ann make sure details were not published.
According to Corbitt, Cole then told her to lie to the reporter. She said: "He was demanding that I go out and deny I had sex with him. I told him I wasn't comfortable because it wasn't the truth." But she said nothing.
Cole continued calling Corbitt requesting her not to reveal anything.
Meanwhile Atkins exchanged a string of emails with Corbitt on Cole's orders to hush up the story, even recommending the services of celebrity lawyers Schillings.
At the time Corbitt was happy to go along with the coaching from Atkins because she did not want the scandal to come to light.
At 11.06pm on July 22, 2009, Atkins wrote: "Hi Ann, just making sure I've got the right email address. In which bar did you meet the boys the other night?" Ann replied three minutes later: "Hi Steve. This is Ann's email. We met the Chelsea players at Amber. If you need more details please let me know."
At 11.40pm, Atkins wrote: "Thanks Ann, you should be able to back the newspaper off by asking the lawyer to put the paper on notice with a letter along the lines of:
"My client is disgusted by the behaviour of the paper and journalist as they are trying to bribe her into lying about Ashley Cole.
"That the version of events they put to her were untrue.
"Our client did meet Ashley Cole with friends, was not alone with him and has not now, or at any time, had any form of a sexual or other relations with him."
By the end of that week, Cole believed he had got away with it.
On Friday, July 31, 2009, at 10.54am, Atkins wrote: "Hi Ann. It is all quiet on the media front our end. Were you approached again by that reporter or anyone else for that matter? Are you any wiser as to where the story may have originated? Hope all is well with you there. Warm regards, Steve."
At 11am, Corbitt replied: "No, that particular reporter never contacted me again, which I find odd. Do you have any new indications that they WON'T run the story or the pictures?" Atkins replied at 12.06pm: "Ann, I don't find it too strange that she didn't come back again. She didn't have a story without corroboration.
"It would appear it has gone away but if anything moves again at this end and we get a sense something is going to appear I won't hesitate to get in touch. Best, Steve."
Corbitt wrote at 12.09pm: "Great, thank you Steve. Crossing my fingers Ann."
But Cole kept calling Corbitt.
She said: "It got to the point where he started being really annoying. He would tell me, 'I don't want to be famous. I just want to play football'.
"Then he should just do that, because the mess he was now in was all his own fault, all his own wrong-doing." Ann is still horrified by the extent of Chelsea's involvement in her liaison with Cole. She said: "I was taken to Ashley's hotel in the official Chelsea team van they were using on their trip to Seattle.
"The following morning Ashley asked me if I wanted someone from Chelsea to walk me out the back of the hotel. God knows how these players' wives and girlfriends must feel. God knows how Ashley's wife must feel. I thought a lot about what that poor girl must go through."
It was only when Corbitt heard this week about Cole's sex texts with glamour girl Sonia Wild that she decided to come out in the open.
The texts included an invitation to Sonia to go to the US last June, just weeks before Cole slept with Corbitt.
Corbitt said: "He seemed to have got away with it so I was shocked beyond belief when I read about him sending pictures of himself to a model and inviting her to join him in America.
"I immediately fired off a text to him. I told him, 'Wow! Are you kidding me, Ashley? If you're going to be a cheating pig at least be an original cheating pig!' I didn't hear anything back but I knew he got the text because he immediately contacted a friend who knew about the fling.
"The friend stormed to his girlfriend, 'Why does Ann still have Ashley's number? She's going to cause problems with his wife.
"I asked back, 'Why didn't Ashley change his number?' And the friend came back with, 'Because it's his BlackBerry number and what would he tell his wife?' "
Corbitt said: "Since then people have been trying to contact me through friends making thinly-veiled threats to try to stop me speaking out. They claim they know people who are going to try to smear me and ruin my career." (ANI)