How darts' millionaires spend their time away from the oche

A rising star catching up with his rap idol 50 Cent, the former world no 1 living it up in Ibiza… and the Dutchman who works on an aubergine farm! How darts’ millionaires spend their time away from the oche

  • The Darts World Championship gets underway at Alexandra Palace on Friday
  • The sport’s biggest stars will be battling to win the Sid Waddell Trophy
  • Some of them also have some fascinating hobbies away from the oche 

Fancy dress. Iconic walk-on music. Oh, and 180s galore. That’s right, the World Darts Championship is back in town.

The latest edition of one of the biggest events on the sporting calendar gets underway at Alexandra Palace on Friday, with Michael Smith looking to retain the title he won for the first time back in January.

He will not have things all his own way, though, with last year’s beaten finalist and three-time-champion Michael van Gerwen looking to get back on top, while former winners Gerwyn Price and Gary Anderson will also fancy their chances.

Then you’ve got England’s Luke Humphries, who has won two recent TV tournaments to rise through the rankings and establish himself as a major contender.

But it’s not all about the darts for these players. They also have some fascinating hobbies away from the oche, and Mail Sport has picked out some of the best before the sport’s biggest stars head on down to Ally Pally. 

The World Darts Championship will return to Alexandra Palace later this week

Michael Smith is the defending champion after beating Michael van Gerwen in last year’s final

Van Gerwen kicks back in Ibiza

Van Gerwen hardly spends a week away from the oche as he continues his quest to go down as one of the greatest players to play the game.

The 34-year-old has not won the World Championship is almost five years, but remains a force to be reckoned with after triumphing in the Premier League this year for the seventh time.

When he does pull himself away from the dartboard, Van Gerwen enjoys a trip abroad, and he treated his wife Daphne to a holiday in Ibiza in August to celebrate their ninth anniversary.

The couple were joined by their two children on the Balearic island as they went on a boat trip and hit the beach in the blazing sunshine.

Van Gerwen has also shown himself to be a decent cook, and showed off his culinary skills on Instagram earlier this year as he grilled a huge chicken. 

He was clearly keen to taste his food, captioning the picture: ‘TIME TO EAT! Nice weather to turn on the grill outside today.’

Michael van Gerwen took a boat trip on his family holiday in Ibiza earlier this year

Van Gerwen also hit the beach with his wife Daphne and their two children

He also posted himself grilling a huge chicken in his garden over the summer

Price throws himself into rugby  

Gerwyn Price is a multiple major winner and will be searching for his second world title this year after claiming darts’ biggest prize in 2021.

The Welshman isn’t satisfied with playing just one sport, though, and has also tried his hand at rugby.

It turns out he is actually pretty good at it, having played for Welsh rugby union clubs Neath and Cross Keys, plus Scottish outfit Glasgow Warriors.

He has also switched codes, representing rugby league side South Wales Scorpions.

He ended his rugby career in 2014 to focus on darts, but this may explain why ‘The Iceman’ is always ready for a battle on stage in the biggest events, having been involved in one of the most physical sports in the world.

Price never takes a step backwards, and that approach has turned him into world-beater in recent years.

Gerwyn Price (left) also played rugby to a high standard, but now focuses on darts

Van Duijvenbode is an ‘Aubergenius’ 

Dirk van Duijvenbode is an eccentric character, as shown by his choice of walk-on music – ‘Just Like You’ by Dutch hardstyle DJ Radical Redemption – that immediately gets the crowd pumped for the action to get underway.

He also has a quirky job away from darts: working on an aubergine farm.

The Dutch star has previously explained that he has had the job since he was 15, meaning he has worked on the farm for over half his life.

It has earned him the nickname ‘Aubergenius’, although he is often introduced at darts events as ‘The Titan’. We’ll let you decide which one is better.

Van Duijvenbode is happy to publicise his love for aubergines, and famously brought one on stage at the 2021 World Championship, although this was sadly played behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning fans could not join in the fun.

He also had an aubergine thrown in his direction during a match against fellow Dutchman Danny Noppert earlier this year. Van Duijvenbode saw the funny side as he smirked before refocusing on the job in hand. 

Dirk van Duijvenbode (pictured) has worked on an aubergine farm since he was 15

Humphries holidays with young family  

Humphries has had a breakthrough year in 2023, winning the World Grand Prix and Grand Slam of Darts.

Away from the board, his focus appears to be on raising a young family with his partner Kayley Jones.

The couple have a nine-year-old daughter named Gracie, while son Rowan was born in October 2022.

Humphries shared snaps of a family holiday at a swanky hotel on Instagram in August.

He posed for pictures with Rowan in the pool, showed off the food on offer at the hotel, and the family went to a funfair. 

The 28-year-old labelled it an ‘amazing holiday’, but is now fully focused on continuing his stunning form to become a world champion for the first time.  

Luke Humphries (right) went on holiday with his young family over the summer, and has been in stunning form in recent months

Aspinall found ‘In Da Club’  

Nathan Aspinall has shot up the rankings in recent times, and capped off his rise by winning the World Matchplay in Blackpool this year.

He also rubbed shoulders – literally – with a rap legend last month when he went to see a 50 Cent concert.

The American musician, whose real name in Curtis Jackson, has been touring the UK to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his iconic first album Get Rich or Die Tryin’, which featured the memorable hit ‘In Da Club’.

Aspinall attended one of the gigs and even got to meet 50 Cent after the show.

The unlikely duo posed for pictures backstage, with Aspinall giving a glowing reference of the night on Instagram.

Alongside of the image of himself and 50 Cent stood back-to-back, Aspinall wrote: ‘What an unbelievable night watching @50cent. He was unreal. What a show and even better we got to meet the legend after the event and he was a sick guy. Best night ever.’

Nathan Aspinall (right) posed for a picture with rap legend 50 Cent (left) after seeing his gig last month

Aspinall said it was an ‘unbelievable night’ as he saw 50 Cent up close and personal

Smith ‘completes’ life 

Smith is the reigning world champion and was only too happy to remind everyone of his achievement when he visited Las Vegas in April.

The St Helens-born star posted a video on social media of him kicking back and relaxing in an outdoor jacuzzi alongside the caption: ‘World champ, world number 1 and now life. Completed it mate.’

He accompanied the video with a picture of himself smoking a giant cigar.

Smith also has an interest in horse racing, and has started to get involved in the sport.

He owns a horse named HipFlask as part of a syndicate with close friend Shane Peckover, fellow darts star Chris Dobey and Bournemouth midfielder Joe Rothwell.

Smith has been seen at the races over the years, and was at Uttoxeter to cheer on his horse back in May.

A post shared by Michael BullyBoy Smith (@michael180smith)

Smith posed with a giant cigar while on holiday in Las Vegas after his world title win

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