Rio Ferdinand has spoken about his romance with reality TV personality Kate Wright for the first time, after months of speculation about their relationship.
Wright, a former cast member on The Only Way Is Essex, is thought to have been dating Ferdinand for several months, and is the retired footballer’s first partner since the death of his wife Rebecca in 2015.
Ferdinand, 38, told ITV’s This Morning that he has found happiness again, and that his three children have been involved in the big decisions involving the relationship.
He told presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby: “I’m really happy now, the kids are very happy, the happiest they’ve been.
“I’m in a relationship and it’s going well.”
He added: “My kids deserve to be happy, they’ve had tragedy for the last few years of their life.”
Schofield said that bringing Wright, 26, into their family must have included decisions about getting the “balance right”.
Ferdinand said: “(My children) had to be part of that conversation, there has not been any stage going into this relationship where they’ve not been involved.
“Even in terms of the introducing – ‘how do you want it to be done?’ – basic stuff you’d take for granted.
“As long as they’re involved and they’re in that conversation, there’s a chance you can get to that place of happiness.
“But I will always make sure they are at the beginning of any conversation to do with anything that can have an effect on their life, and this is having a positive effect.”
While the couple have kept their relationship largely low-profile, Ferdinand posted a picture on Instagram of himself sitting next to Wright while with a group of friends in August.
In September, Wright shared a photo on her Instagram page of the two of them exercising together, in which she joked about their synchronised gym gear.
The former Manchester United and England captain’s wife Rebecca died aged 34 in 2015 after being diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time.
The sports star recently released a book, Thinking Out Loud – Love, Grief And Being Mum And Dad, in which he discusses dealing with the death of his wife and raising their children – Lorenz, 11, and Tate, nine, and six-year-old daughter Tia – as a single parent.