'Didn't want to hide': Football star dating niece after splitting with wife of 12 years

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Brazilian football star ‘Hulk’ has confirmed he is dating his former niece after splitting with his wife of 12 years.

He reportedly separated from wife Iran back in July - whom he has three children with - but is now in a relationship with their niece Camila.

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Hulk’s representatives have spoken publicly to defend the couple.

“Hulk called Camila’s parents and brother to tell them the truth. They began dating in October,” they told Brazilian website UOL Esporte.

“It was Hulk himself who made the news public because he did not want to hide anything. His position is transparent.”

Hulk celebrates after scoring a goal for Shanghai SIPG. (Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images)

‘Very hard to face all this’

Camila has also taken to social media to confirm the news and defend herself amid backlash.

"Aunt Iran, I first want to tell you that this message is not an explanation or justification of anything,” she reportedly told The Sun.

"I needed to tell you some things that unfortunately circumstances do not allow me to say personally.

"Although it is irrelevant to you now, I love you very much and care about you, so I am speaking here.

"I really want you to know things that maybe everyone will talk about differently, mere speculation, but I don't really judge them because outsiders know absolutely nothing and most of the time just want the situation to be worse.

"It's been very hard to face all this, but I wouldn't do it if it wasn't true."

Iran has also spoken publicly about the scandal, telling UOL columnist Leo Dias: "It is deeply regretted that Mr Hulk, not content with ending a marriage of more than 12 years, he then did not respect the pain of the one who always devoted love, affection, respect and consideration to him - as well as his children, whose supreme interests should be preserved by their father.”

Hulk, real name Givanildo Vieira de Sousa, currently plays for Shanghai SIPG in the Chinese Super League.