Ben Stokes' wife has dismissed a report of a physical altercation between the couple at the Professional Cricketers' Association awards in London last week.
All-rounder Stokes played a starring role in England's maiden World Cup win before repeating his heroics to help salvage an Ashes draw with Australia.
On Tuesday, pictures emerged of Stokes and his wife Clare appearing to become involved in a physical confrontation during the event at the Roundhouse in Camden.
However, Clare Stokes swiftly defended her husband in a Twitter post, which included a photo of her "squishing up" the cricketer's face as a sign of "affection" as well as one of them together at the awards night.
"Unbelievable what nonsense these people will make up!" she said on Twitter.
"Me and Ben messing about squishing up each other's faces cos that's how we show affection and some pap tries to twist it in to a crazy story!
“And all before we then have a romantic McDonalds 20 mins later!"
Unbelievable what nonsense these people will make up! Me and Ben messing about squishing up each other’s faces cos that’s how we show affection and some pap tries to twist it in to a crazy story! And all before we then have a romantic McDonalds 20 mins later! @benstokes38 pic.twitter.com/1HmPV1ZfxG— Clare Stokes (@clarey_11) October 8, 2019
Stokes slams ‘irresponsible’ allegations
Stokes later gave a statement in response to the allegations and took the opportunity to pay tribute to the "wonderful relationship" he and his wife enjoy.
"I have become used to people making stuff up about me, but of all the topics not to mess with domestic abuse has to be at the top of the list," the England all-rounder told the Daily Mirror newspaper.
"It's an incredibly serious issue for thousands of women - and men - who do suffer domestic abuse.
"For it to be toyed with for cheap headlines in this way just damages the cause of those who are abused.
"Clare is a strong, independent woman who can speak for herself. We have a wonderful relationship and I never tire of saying how lucky I am to be with her."
"To falsify and spread these kind of allegations so willingly is totally irresponsible. The way that this has come across is so far removed from what it was.
"It was a stressful 45 minutes for us when we found out, but we wanted to address it as quickly as we could."
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison also shut down the allegations.
"We have spoken with both Clare and Ben - as well as others in attendance - who have all clarified the innocent context behind the still photographs taken at last week's PCA Awards,” Harrison said.
"Whilst it is not the case here, we recognise that for the millions who are impacted by domestic violence, this is a very real and serious issue."