Cape Town - Code-swopping rugby star Sonny Bill Williams is officially off the market – and his wife is a 20-year-old part-time model said to be of South African descent.
Williams – or SBW to legions of his adoring fans – married Alana Raffie in August last year after a whirlwind six-month romance but the nuptials only came to light on Saturday. The 28-year-old, who now plays rugby league for the Sydney Roosters in Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL), married Raffie in a secret ceremony just before last year’s NRL grand final, but the couple reportedly only departed on a short honeymoon on Saturday due to his sporting commitments.
Williams posted two photos of the happy couple this week, including one that showed the sweethearts snuggling on a couch, but when news of the nuptials broke on Saturday, fans were left in despair with one tweeting “I refuse to like this picture”, with the hashtag #truthhurts, while another simply wrote: “I’m heartbroken.”
It is understood only Williams’s immediate family and a handful of his closest friends, who were sworn to secrecy, attended the wedding.
Williams is a devout Muslim. Raffie, also a Muslim, was born in Australia but is said to be of South African descent.
Williams, in his time playing Super Rugby for the Crusaders and Chiefs, had built up a huge fanbase in Cape Town.
According to media reports, even his Roosters teammates and his close friend, boxer Anthony Mundine, were left in the dark. The star’s controversial manager, Khoder Nasser, was one of the few who attended the ceremony.
The couple reportedly refused a six-figure sum by selling the rights for coverage of the wedding to television and glossy magazines in Australia and New Zealand.
The couple now share a four-storey home in Sydney’s south with Williams’s family.
Williams is widely regarded as one of the finest rugby football players on the planet, known for his explosive running and ability to offload in the tackle, but has soured his public image by his decision to continually swop codes.