Rio Ferdinand has opened up about how he dealt with his wife Rebecca’s death and how his young children are coping with their loss.
The former footballer, who has children Lorenz, 10, Tate, 8, and Tia, 5, lost his wife to breast cancer in March 2015.
The pair met when Rio was just 21 when she worked as an accountant and he was an up-and-coming footballer.
The pair welcomed their first child, a son, Lorenz, in 2006. A year later he proposed to her on a holiday to Las Vegas and they tied the knot in 2009 in an intimate ceremony on the luxurious Peter Island.
In a new BBC documentary, Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad, the 38-year-old reveals he planned their life around his retirement from football in May 2015.
Rebecca died the same month – just 10 weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.
“You realise playing football was a f***ing walk in the park compared to telling your kids their mum isn’t coming back. I’ve never had to do something so hard, so emotionally draining and testing,” he told the Times Magazine
Speaking about how his kids are coping with losing their mum, he said his little girl is finding it easier than the boys because they’re worried about how it will impact him.
“I realised I wasn’t connecting with my kids about their mum. Especially the boys. My little girl sleeps with me every night. She will say things.
“She finds it easy to say, ‘I’m missing Mum.’ She’s young, she hasn’t got that mentality of dissecting stuff. The boys will think, ‘This might make my dad sad.’ I couldn’t get anything out of ’em.”
Rio, who is now rumoured to be dating TOWIE star Kate Wright, also reveals he drank a lot for a month or so after losing his wife.
“At the time you think,‘I’m coping.’ You’re sitting there, the kids are in bed, you can’t sleep, but you don’t want to think about anything. That’s when the problems start. I never understood suicide.
“Then you sit there and you can understand how people get that low. It’s a lonely dark place. I can easily see why you just slip over that edge.”
See Photos Of the Lovely Couple