She's married to the brightest star in the Premier League, lives in a £4million mansion and is one of the hottest properties in TV and modelling.
But new Queen of the WAG Sylvie van der Vaart will never take her amazing life for granted – because she’s in remission after battling breast cancer.
Sylvie, 32, hailed as Holland’s answer to Cheryl Cole and married to Tottenham star striker Rafael van der Vaart, has now been given the all-clear.
Chemotherapy robbed her of her long blonde hair and she now wears a sassy, close-cropped style.
And she reckons the greatest “triumph” of her recovery is becoming the new face of hair care range L’Oreal Professional.
Sylvie – whose mother also fought and beat breast cancer – says: “For a woman who was bald six months ago that’s not so bad. All the luxuries in the world are no protection against that moment when you are told the diagnosis. Then you are just a woman.
“For me, it was as if a bomb had gone off under our lives. Whether you are rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, young or old, cancer knows no boundaries.”
Sylvie’s cancer battle began in April 2009. Her blue-grey eyes cloud over as she recalls: “Rafael and I were cuddled up on the sofa when I felt a tiny lump on my breast. I said, ‘That’s funny, that wasn’t there a few weeks ago.’
“He said, ‘It’s a little bit strange, I’m sure it’s nothing as you’re so young.’ But my mother had breast cancer at 39 so I just knew I had to do something.”
Two days later she went to the doctor and asked for a biopsy – but before the results came back she took the drastic decision of undergoing a three-hour operation to remove the lump. She says: “I just knew this thing didn’t belong in my body. I just wanted it out.”
It was a decision that possibly saved her life – as she discovered when she woke from surgery.
She says: “My husband took my hand and simply said, ‘It wasn’t good.’ Then the surgeon said, ‘I’m so happy you were so persistent. It’s cancer.’ I felt a gnawing fear. Rafael told me, ‘It will all be good. We will fight this. We will survive this.’”
After the removed lump was found to be cancerous, Sylvie had six months of chemotherapy to reduce the risk of cancer returning.
She says: “I told the surgeon I was a judge on a TV show and asked, ‘Can I work through this?.’ He replied, ‘Of course. They make amazing wigs these days..’”
That night, she and Rafael, 27, her husband of five years, lay in bed and cried together for the first and last time.
She says: “He took me in his arms. I asked him, ‘Will you find me attractive when I lose my hair?.’ He said. ‘For me you are always the most beautiful woman in the world.’”
A few weeks later she started chemotherapy, watching a comedy DVD as Rafael lay beside her on her hospital bed. Soon afterwards her hair began to fall out and she booked into a specialist hairdresser, asking them to shave her head. There was just one concession: she asked them to cover their mirrors.
She says: “I knew it would crush me if I saw myself with no hair at that point. I didn’t look down to see my hair on the floor. Then they fitted my wig and after washing and blow-drying they uncovered the mirror.”
It was eight weeks before she took off her wig to inspect her scalp.
“It’s funny, the moment you dread the most, seeing yourself bald, is actually not such a bad moment at all. I asked Rafael if he wanted to see me without hair. He said, ‘Of course, I love you for who you are.’” As she stood, bald, before him he told her: “You’re beautiful.”
Their four-year-old son Damian accepted it without question. She says: “It was simply Mummy with hair and Mummy with no hair.”
Throughout her chemotherapy she commuted from Spain to Germany to work 18-hour days, filming as a judge on Germany’s Got Talent, although she admits there were days when she was “just laying on the sofa recovering from the chemotherapy”.
But, she adds, “It never even for one second crossed my mind I could die.” Her hair started to grow back just as the show’s live stages began. Sylvie says: “It became very emotional for me when Damian stood before me and he gently stroked my head and asked me, “Beautiful hair Mummy, are you happy now?.’ I told him, ‘Mummy is so happy with short hair.’”
She wore her wig throughout Germany’s Got Talent, but when she had a couple of inches of hair she dramatically removed it on the country’s version of Strictly Come Dancing. She says Rafael gave her the confidence to go “wigless” on TV.
She says: “I was at home without a wig and my husband told me, “‘You know what, Sylvie, I just love your short hair. I think you look way more beautiful than with your wig on. You should put wax in it.’
“So he took his wax out of his wash bag, stood behind me in front of the mirror and did my hair. That was one of the most romantic things he has ever done for me. I looked at myself and I thought, ‘You’re right.’”
Soon afterwards she whipped off her wig live on German Strictly – as she danced a waltz.
She says: “I chose Kelly Clarkson’s A Moment Like This as it was a new beginning. Every centimetre of hair was life for me. I’m proud of my short hair. I don’t think I will grow it long again.”
The courageous act won Sylvie, even more fans – and she gained more admirers when she moved to Britain in August after Rafael’s £8million transfer.
Asked about British football’s many sex scandals, she says: “It doesn’t concern me. I don’t think about it.
“In the end if you can’t trust each other what’s the point of being married. And until one of us proves this wrong there’s nothing to talk about.”
Today she’ll be in the family’s box for Tottenham v Chelsea with her husband, who is injured – and looking forward to her first English Christmas.
“Christmas really is about all the clichés: health, happiness and love. A future with my family is the important thing... to stay alive for them.”
love her, love him
BTW, and I cannot stress this enough, ladies PLEASE make sure you do monthly breast self-exams and go to your doctor for screenings and check-ups, and if you think something is wrong, don't wait it out. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and early detection is vital for a successful treatment. See the susan g. komen site for more information. /PSA