Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand on how he came to terms with loss of his wife in new documentary

Sharnaz Shahid

Following the death of his beloved wife in 2015, Rio Ferdinand was left to raise his three young children alone. In a new BBC documentary, Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad, the professional footballer opens about the difficulties of grieving and the challenges he has faced being a single parent. In a clip from the upcoming show, the 38-year-old explains: "This is one of the only things in life that we're going to go through together where I haven't got the answers for them. That's quite a worryingly, daunting thing."

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Rio talks about the moment he told his children their mum had died

Rio's life changed forever when his wife Rebecca passed away from breast cancer in May 2015, aged just 34. The couple first met in 2000 and were married nine years later. They went on to have sons Lorenz, ten, Tate, eight, and five-year-old daughter Tia. Speaking about the struggle to rebuild his life for his children, he added: "When they don't speak it's kind of difficult sometimes because you're sitting there going like, 'What are they thinking? Where are they? Are they worried, are they happy, are they sad?' I'm desperate to know but I don't want to scare them. I want the best case end scenario for my kids and so the only way I see that happening is for me to ask questions. I need help. I do need help, I know that."

rio-2aVIEW GALLERY

Rio lost his beloved wife Rebecca in May 2015

Rio admits he hasn't given himself time to grieve

The one-off documentary also shows how Rio went from thinking that asking for help was "weak", to seeing the benefits of sharing your feelings and not bottling them up. "You don't want people feeling sorry for you," he said of his former views. "In the macho changing room culture that I was in, when someone's felt sorry for, that means they're weak. And you don't want to have people like that in the changing room, because that's a weak link. If I thought someone was looking for a bit of sympathy, I'd be like, 'Get him out. Don't want him in there.' I couldn't be around people like that. I hated it. I didn't respect them at all."

Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad - Tuesday 28th March, 9pm on BBC One

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