Hooper's one and only wife is Constance

(Reprinted from the Trinidad Express newspaper)
Stabroek News
May 18, 2001

They met casually enough seven years ago at a family function in Australia.

She didn't know who he was, but when he told her, all she could manage was a blasé, "Oh, hmmm."

To take her out, Carl Llewellyn Hooper first had to seek her parents'permission.

Australia-born Constance Hooper has been married to West Indies captain Carl Hooper for the last four years. They celebrated their anniversary last February.

Was it love at first sight? "We did not think so then, but when we look back now, it seems we were destined to be together," Constance said in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Express at the Hilton Trinidad.

The couple was spending the Easter weekend in Trinidad. "I am speaking from the heart. As you know, I deeply love my husband. I mean God brought us together and God will keep us together. That is why I feel blessed, he feels blessed and we are very, very thankful." Constance wanted to put to rest "speculative reports over the years" in Caribbean publications that Hooper has more than one wife.

"I am his one and only wife," Constance said.

"He has never had any other and that is how it has always been. I am not too certain where this talk of another wife originated, but this is the time to clear that up. I think they have got him mistaken with another cricketer and that has caused this confusion." In a separate interview, Hooper spoke about his relationship with his wife. "Let me make it very clear that this is my first and only wife. The sort of relationship that my wife and I have, I don't think you can call it love at first sight. Love is something that grows over time. Of course, there has to be something there to initially start it, but you need to be very careful." But it did not take me very long to realise that Connie was a special woman and it sort of took off from there," he added.

Constance's family in Australia has a media background and owns management companies and restaurants. She has a degree in business.

She keeps abreast of her business interests, attending the occasional directors' meeting and the like. She is extremely comfortable in her new role looking after their two-year-old son Carl Junior and his father.

The Hoopers reside in Adelaide, an hour's flight from Melbourne.

A beaming Hooper credited his wife and son for where he is today. "For me, being married to Connie is so wonderful. Now we share the bond of a wonderful child, Carl Junior, and everyday I see him, he seems to grow. And I am so proud of my family and the support they have given me. I would not be able to do any of this without them."Asked to comment on her marriage, the deeply religious Constance replied: "Being married is wonderful in the sense, when you get married in the eyes of God, you become one, wherever your paths lead, they lead together. Carl and I have been through a lot together.

"Her graceful style and model-like good looks she attributed to her ancestry, which is not at all Australian. While she was born in Melbourne, Australia, her parents are from Macedonia and Europe.

Her father died nearly four years ago and she has two brothers: Mark Simon and James Anthony. Her parents travelled to Melbourne when her father was 11 and her mother seven. "Their families grew up close to each other during the years. So I was brought up in the Macedonia culture," said Constance, who speaks Macedonian. Macedonia is famous in the Bible as the birthplace of Alexander the Great and Cleopatra (wife of Phillip II).

It is located in the northern part of Greece in the main, but in the past occupied the boundaries of Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. The question of racial barriers in the Hoopers' marriage slightly puzzled Constance. She talked about Australia's own "melting pot", of the people from Sri Lanka and Pakistan and elsewhere.

"In fact, my father was this major entrepreneur and very much involved in the media. My marriage was given some prominence in keeping with his image. But there was only acceptance and trust and love for Carl in our relationship. People recognise that our love is very strong.

"While admitting at the start of the interview she knew little about cricket, Constance said she was sad when Carl retired, but understood his reasons. The couple went to church for 13 consecutive Sundays when Hooper retired because he wanted to give thanks for the 12 years he had had with West Indies cricket. Constance believes that Hooper always had the concentration witnessed throughout his 954-run 2001 Busta Cup season.

She admitted it was testing for Hooper to watch the West Indies performance since his retirement. She recalled an article that appeared in early November in Australia quoting Hooper as saying that he still had itchy feet for Test cricket, a mere six months after he had retired on April 24. "Whatever he scores, I will be happy," Constance said. She is philosophical about Carl's return to Caribbean cricket and his captaincy. "Honestly, the criticism is like water off a duck's back for Carl.

Carl is so strong mentally. Carl and I believe in the same philosophy. That is, whenever you hear a negative, you turn it into a positive. "The amount of travelling involved in cricket doesn't bother Constance. What's more important is keeping the Hooper family together." We know for a fact we will be based in the Caribbean for most of the time.

Obviously Guyana, as that is where he is from, although both of his parents now live in New York. He hasn't got any immediate family there, but Guyana most of the time and also Trinidad because we have the house here." Carl Junior, an energetic youngster who waves his tiny bat up and down, is the love of their lives. Constance wants their son to know his West Indian roots, to understand his background." He (Carl Jnr) is wonderful. He is a fun-loving little boy. I think it is because we're always talking to him. I read to him every morning," Constance said." He also has a mini-computer with him to teach him the alphabet. And as soon as he sees his dad come out to bat, he says, 'Carl Hooper! Carl Hooper! Carl Hooper'!"