Rio Ferdinand has opened up about the moment he introduced Kate Wright, who he wed in 2019, to his children for the first time. The dad-of-three introduced Kate as a 'friend of a friend' to Lorenz, 13, Tate, 11, and Tia, eight, to begin with, two years after their mum, Rebecca Ellison, sadly passed away from cervical cancer.
WATCH: Rio Ferdinand and Kate's love story
Speaking at a screening and Q&A for their new documentary, Rio and Kate: Becoming A Stepfamily, the former professional footballer told HELLO! and other reporters: "Initially, Kate was a friend of a friend. That's how the kids met Kate." He continued: "Obviously, I'd known Kate before, but we went round a friend's house and Kate was just plonked on the sofa with Ronnie the dog, and [I said] 'that's one of Daddy's friends', and it was just a subtle kind of introduction."
Rio, who bravely opened up about the loss of wife in his BAFTA winning documentary Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum And Dad, went on to explain how the transition was made from friend to girlfriend. "After that, we [him and Kate] discussed that we want to make it a bit more formal and the kids have got to start understanding and knowing that you're [going to be] about."
MORE: Take a look inside Rio Ferdinand and Kate Wright's stunning family home
Rio and Kate speak candidly in their new documentary
The footballer also opened up about the moment he went to his kids for advice, and their sweet and funny reaction. "I said [to the kids] 'We'll take Kate to a café and I'll ask her out, what do you think?'" He continued: "And they said 'Oh my god, no, it's going to be embarrassing for you, she's going to say no!'"
Much like when he asked Kate to be his girlfriend, the father-of-three was keen to involve his children in the next steps of his and Kate's relationship. "I was asking them all the time do you think that we should get married? And they were going mad [saying], 'Yeah go on, we've got to get married, where are you going to do it' and giving us scenarios, 'ask her here, ask her there.'" He continued: "We were away and [I said] 'Listen, guys I think I'm going to ask her', [and they said] 'Woah, woah where's the ring?' They wanted to know all the details, while they're part of that they find it exciting and they're proud, they were saying to Kate afterwards 'Daddy told us here, this is what he said he was going to do we told him to change it!'"
MORE: Rio Ferdinand reveals emotional first look at 'personal' documentary series with wife Kate
The new documentary airs Monday evening
The documentary takes a look inside Kate and Rio's journey of becoming a blended family and the challenges they've faced along the way. Kate, who speaks candidly in the film, explained how she felt 'constantly judged' at the start of their relationship. The 28-year-old told HELLO! and other reporters at the Q&A: "I felt really judged and I just felt like I couldn't live up to what was the memory of Rebecca and I was constantly compared. And I wanted to be able to be me."
Rio and Kate: Becoming a Stepfamily airs Monday at 9pm on BBC One.
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.