EXCLUSIVE Rio Ferdinand: ‘Kate and I don’t have time for date nights’

Rio Ferdinand talks romantic gestures, slippers and his wife's roast dinners

rio and kate red carpet

by heatworld |
Published on

Rio Ferdinand rose to fame as one of England’s most talented footballers for Manchester United and the national team. But it was his marriage to former TOWIE star Kate Wright in 2019 that put him in the spotlight once again.

Now, as well as being a football pundit, he’s a podcast host, mental health advocate, fitness influencer and father of five to Lorenz, 17, Tate, 15, and Tia, 13, from his first marriage to late wife Rebecca Ellison – who tragically died from cancer in 2015 – as well as Cree, three, and Shae, ten months with Kate.

Here, Rio, 45, chats family holidays with Peter Crouch and Abbey Clancy, and Kate’s incredible roast dinners...

Kate Ferdinand and Rio Ferdinand
Kate Ferdinand and Rio Ferdinand ©Photo by Jim Dyson/Redferns

There’s often a macho image attached to men’s sports – does that clash with being an advocate for mental health?

As somebody who’s been in dressing rooms full of alpha males – it’s very much an environment where you’re not encouraged to show your vulnerable side. That’s why I’m really excited to be a part of McDonald’s new mental health campaign – which removed the iconic smile from the Happy Meal box to show that it’s OK to not be happy all the time – because I think the impact that it can have for young people is huge.

Is it important for you to talk to your kids about mental health?

One hundred per cent. I want them to know that it’s OK to be vulnerable and feel sad, and have those moments where you don’t have to be strong.

Your eldest son Lorenz is following in your footballing footsteps...

I’m delighted, especially because it’s not something that I’ve forced him into. He’s chosen to go on this journey of trying to be a footballer, and so we’ll support him as a family 100 per cent. But if he doesn’t make it, I’ll support whatever else he decides to do. As long as my kids want to get up, go out and work, I’m happy.

You’ve got five now – how are you balancing fatherhood with your busy career?

You need a good wife to make sure everything works well. Kate is just incredible – I couldn’t do it with out her. Also, they’re five great kids, which really helps.

Do you and Kate still manage to find time to go on date nights?

We try, but I don’t think we do it as often as we would like, as we’re both busy working and raising five kids. We were in Antibes for [PrettyLittleThing founder] Umar Kamani’s wedding recently and we were celebrating a few nights away from the kids, as much as their marriage!

Who's more romantic?

Probably Kate. I try – I have my moments.

Rio and Kate
Rio and Kate ©Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Everyman Cinema

You now work with your England pal Peter Crouch. Any double dates with him and Abbey?

All of our families went to Portugal on holiday – it was either last year or the year before, but time flies when you have kids. That was a lively one, we took over half the beach.

Rio and Kate are good friends with Peter Crouch and Abbey Clancy
Rio and Kate are good friends with Peter Crouch and Abbey Clancy ©Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images

It’s yours and Kate’s five-year wedding anniversary this year. Any plans to celebrate?

Not yet, but we’ve started thinking about it. Again, with five kids, how do you plan something so that they all can be there?

Do you try to do things like family meals or is it just too difficult with schedules?

With the boys playing football, it can be a bit sporadic, but we try to have family meals on a Sunday when everyone’s there. Kate cooks an incredible roast– it’s such an ordeal cooking for so many of us, but she nails it.

Father's Day is coming up – how are you hoping to spend it?

I’m expecting loads of presents and to just be like treated like royalty for 24 hours!

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