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Rio Ferdinand finally talks about his romance with Kate Wright

The former footballer opened up about his girlfriend on This Morning

Gemma Strong

Rio Ferdinand has spoken about his romance with Kate Wright for the very first time. The former footballer appeared on This Morning on Thursday, and told hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield that he is finally happy again following the tragic death of his wife Rebecca in May 2015. Rio, who has kept his relationship with former TOWIE star Kate out of the spotlight, said: "I'm really happy now, the kids are really happy, it's the happiest they've been. I'm in a relationship and it's going well. My kids deserve to be happy, they've had tragedy for the last few years of their lives."

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Rio and Rebecca shared three children together – Lorenz, 11, Tate, nine, and six-year-old Tia - and the sportsman explained that he made sure they were involved in his relationship with Kate. "They have to be part of that conversation," the 38-year-old said. "There has not been one stage of going into this relationship where they've not been involved. Even in terms of introducing – how they want it to be done. As long as they feel they're involved and in the conversation, I think there's a chance they can reach happiness."

STORY: Rio Ferdinand opens up about the agony of losing his mum to cancer two years after his wife

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Rio was on the show to promote his new book, Thinking Out Loud. In an extract from the book, obtained by The Sun, he explained that Rebecca had told her best friend Lisa that she wanted him to find love again after she was gone. "Rebecca told Lisa something in the final weeks of her life. Months later Lisa told me what it was…," Rio wrote. "'It kills me to think of Rio with a new partner, Lisa, you know it does. Of course it does. But you know what kills me even more? Thinking of him alone and lonely. If I don't make it, Lisa, I don't want Rio to be miserable. I want him to be happy.'"

STORY: Rio Ferdinand shares first photo with girlfriend Kate Wright on family holiday

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Rebecca was just 34 when she lost her battle with breast cancer in 2015. News of Rio and Kate's romance emerged earlier this year, and last month Kate, 26, revealed she was stepping out of the spotlight to focus on her relationship with Rio and his three children.