Beverley Turner says she has "grown to admire" some of the changes in her husband James Cracknell's personality after his life was transformed in a road accident.
She said the man she married "did disappear" after he was hit by the wing mirror of a lorry while cycling across America in July 2010.
Speaking on an ITV4 documentary tomorrow, Cracknell said the injury left him with epilepsy and he ha s lost feelings like empathy and motivation.
He said he wanted his old personality to return so his wife can say, 'You're back'.
The former Olympic rower said: " After a brain injury you react differently to situations - my kids had one dad for six years and a different one for the last three."
Turner said she was trying to stay positive, adding: "T here are elements that I have grown to admire about who he is now that I probably wouldn't have done if the accident hadn't have happened. There was a lot about the old James that I wasn't very keen on, to be honest."
:: James Cracknell: Sports Life Stories is on ITV4 at 10pm tomorrow.