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Mike Tindall praises 'brilliant' wife Zara for her support since father's Parkinson's diagnosis

The former rugby star spoke in an emotional TV interview 

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Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
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Mike Tindall has opened up about his father's diagnosis with Parkinson's and how his "brilliant" wife Zara has supported him in a rare TV interview.

The former England rugby union player, 42, spoke to BBC Breakfast on Wednesday as he visited his father Philip for the first time this year for his dad's 75th birthday. 

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WATCH: Mike Tindall opens up about his father's diagnosis with Parkinson's

Appearing on the programme, Mike spoke about his father being diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2003: "Didn’t really dawn on me what Parkinson's was, if you looked at people who were prevalent with Parkinson's at the time, you'd say Muhammed Ali, and you looked at my dad and you looked at Muhammed Ali, well it's not the same person, surely it's not the same disease. Or I don't know how Michael J Fox was back then but another name that sort of sprang out, who you knew who had it.

"And then you know, life went on. You know, I was 25. Rugby was going really well, you were sort of focused on that. And then when we got married in 2011, somewhere around there, things were starting to— you could see the effects grow on him, in terms of he's a much smaller man than he ever was at the moment. Curvature of the spine, he had to have surgery on that. Slowly from that sort of point, over the last ten years, there's been loads of other problems that have come across because of it."

MORE: Mike Tindall shares 'happy' personal news ahead of daughter's birthday

MORE: Zara Tindall, Princess Anne and Duchess Camilla step out for day one of Royal Ascot

During the emotional interview, Mike said: "My dad is used to being this strong, was an athlete, played rugby, played all sports. Now suddenly he struggles to pick up a pen."

When asked about how much support Zara has been able to give him, Mike replied: "She's been brilliant. She sort of gets it and she sort of keeps me on my toes a little bit with it. And where we are in terms of finding out more about new drugs that are coming out and new trials and everything else."

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Mike is patron of Cure Parkinson's

Mike has been patron of Cure Parkinson's since 2018 and has shown support for the charity for a number of years, hosting fundraising events and taking part in cycling and running challenges.

Last year, the Rugby World Cup winner took on the Raid Local challenge, the charity's first ever virtual cycling event amid the pandemic. Participants cycled 137km with a gruelling 3700m ascent in their local area to help raise funds and awareness for Cure Parkinson's.

Mike and Zara welcomed their son, Lucas Philip Tindall, on 21 March and are also parents to Mia, seven, and Lena, who turns three on 18 June.

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