derick hougaard, loftus, springbok

Derick Hougaard’s dramatic life after rugby.
Images via Facebook: Derick Hougaard/ Louis Liebenberg

From ‘darling’ to downward spiral: Derick Hougaard’s dramatic life post-rugby

After abruptly hanging up his boots in 2015, former Springbok and Loftus ‘darling’ Derick Hougaard’s life spiralled out of control.

derick hougaard, loftus, springbok

Derick Hougaard’s dramatic life after rugby.
Images via Facebook: Derick Hougaard/ Louis Liebenberg

While Derick Hougaard is fondly known as the “Liefling of Loftus,” his actions off the pitch as a celebrated former Springbok and Blue Bulls player has become the source of much scrutiny.

In the years since hanging up his boots in 2015, Derick has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. This includes his self-confessed addiction to prescription pills, heavy drinking, and his high-profile failed romances.

This week, Derick’s representatives confirmed that he had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Last year, the 41-year-old spent several weeks in a coma after contracting respiratory pneumonia. It’s unclear what cause the health setback.


According to the Citizen, Derick Hougaard is set to spend a lengthy period of time in a Gauteng psychiatric hospital over his pain and sleeping pill addiction.

The publication claims that the former Springbok had been living with controversial diamond dealer Louis Liebenberg’s home in an attempt to stay clean. 

Derick reportedly relapsed, forcing his family to take drastic measures.

His legal representative, Walter Niedinger, said: “Where he is now, he is completely cut off from the outside world. He does not have access to a mobile phone. We can’t contact him either.

“It is in his best interest that he gets the necessary medical help now. His team of doctors keep us informed”.

Derick is set to undergo extensive tests and scans to determine any brain damage after years of substance abuse.


Messy break-ups

Derick Hougaard and Karlien were married from 2013 – 2015. Despite being considered the darlings of celebrity couples, their marriage was nothing short of a rollercoaster ride, the singer later said.

In a Facebook post in 2018, Karlien claimed that her ex-husband had a “pill and alcohol addiction” and had been “in and out of rehabilitation centres several times”.

She added that Derick had not paid for the children’s upkeep.

She continued: “Since I divorced Derick, I do everything in my power to give the boys a good life despite the fact that Derick has not been paying maintenance for years.”

derick hougaard, karlien van jaarsveld
Derick and Kalien in happier times. Images via Facebook: @derick.hougaard.5

Earlier this year, Derick also split from girlfriend Nadine, who is also a singer. According to Nuusflits, the break-up was over his alleged “dependency” on the entertainer.

In 2019, their relationship made headlines when images of Derick in bed with a mystery blonde woman went viral, reported Jacaranda FM.

‘Missing children’

In 2018, Derick Hougaard courted controversy after his ex-wife Karlien reported their twin boys, Eliah and Daniel, missing. At the time, the boys were in the custody of their father during a night out.

She shared on Instagram alongside a picture of them: “We can’t find my sons. Derick is drunk; we don’t know where the children are! This is how they look. Please help to search!”.

Karlien revealed that her children had been “found” an hour later. Derick took to Twitter to clear up the confusion, posting a picture of his sleeping children with him at a restaurant.

He later admitted that he had “too much to drink”, but that his children were “never in any danger”.

Substance abuse

In the 2023 KykNET docuseries Hougaard: Liefling van Loftus, Derick admitted to heavy drinking and dependency on sleeping pills and pain medication.

He also claimed he had spiralled into a deep depression after his rugby career was cut short. Derick famously made his debut at Loftus Versveld at 19 years old.

In the self-titled 2023 biography Derick Hougaard, author Brendan Nel wrote about the player’s long history of addiction. In one particular interview, the rugby player confessed to “mixing booze and pills”.

The 100k wedding ring

After their divorce, Derick Hougaard made headlines in 2016 for demanding his R100k  wedding ring back from Karlien.

The singer’s brother Bobby van Jaarsveld also waded into the drama, telling Derick to stop “harassing” his sister.

According to TimesLive, Derick responded by saying; “Imagine what R100 000 over 20 years could mean for the twins? The right thing to do would be to invest the money for the twins, instead of just laying in a drawer”.