Rio Ferdinand has bravely opened up about his wife’s tragic death, admitting that he turned to drink to help him cope with the pain of losing Rebecca to breast cancer two years ago.
The former England footballer also revealed that he gained a new understanding for suicidal people as he struggled to raise his and Rebecca’s three children, 10-year-old Lorenz, eight-year-old Tate and five-year-old Tia alone.
Opening up about his loss for the first time, Rio poignantly shared: “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.
“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.”
The 38-year-old star added that he ended up downing whisky and brandy to help him get through the first weeks, with the star set to retire from football the same month that Rebecca died.
Rio continued to Times’ Weekend Magazine that he’d been looking forward to being “a complete family man”, explaining: “We built our life around my retirement. This time in my life now, I’d be spending with her.
“When I was playing I had tunnel vision about being successful. I saw my team-mates more than my missus.”
The pair met in the late 90s and went on tie the knot in 2009.
Now Rio has teamed up with the BBC for a new documentary about being a widowed father, with footage showing Rio try to help his grieving children understand what happened to their beloved mother.
Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum And Dad is set to air on March 28th – just two days after Mother’s Day.