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Kate Wright opens up about being compared to Rio Ferdinand’s late wife

The reality TV star married the widowed former professional footballer in 2019.

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Rio Ferdinand and Kate Wright (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Rio Ferdinand and Kate Wright (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Rio Ferdinand and Kate Wright (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Kate Wright has said she felt she could not live up to the memory of her husband Rio Ferdinand’s late wife.

A BBC film crew followed the former footballer, 41, and The Only Way Is Essex star, 28, as Wright became a stepmother to Ferdinand’s three children.

The pair have been in a relationship since 2017 following the death of Ferdinand’s wife Rebecca in 2015 at the age of 34 after she was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time.

Wright said she had been “constantly compared” to Rebecca and that she felt judged by friends and family for every mistake she made.

She said: “I just felt like I wasn’t accepted. Before I met Rio and the children, people took me how I was. No one really judged me that much.

“And I felt really judged. I just felt like I couldn’t live up to the memory of Rebecca. I was constantly compared and I wanted to be able to be me.

“I made a lot of mistakes at the beginning because I wasn’t a mum, and I felt like every mistake I was making I was being judged. I found that really difficult.

“It just felt like I couldn’t be me and without being me I couldn’t look after the children properly.

Soccer – Manchester United Player of the Year Awards – Old Trafford
Rio Ferdinand with his late wife Rebecca (Martin Rickett/PA)

“I felt like I didn’t get any help. I didn’t know what the children liked to eat. I didn’t know anything about them.

“Like, when we go to the doctors, have the children had chickenpox before? I don’t know because no one has told me.

“I just felt really out of my depth. I needed help but I was just getting compared constantly.”

Rio And Kate: Becoming A Stepfamily also explores the challenges Wright deals with in being both a partner to Ferdinand and a new stepmother to three grieving children.

Ferdinand said it had been “very difficult” for Rebecca’s family to adjust to Wright becoming part of their lives.

He said: “Rebecca’s family even… It was very difficult at the start. It was hard for them to accept someone new coming in.

“We understand that – they are grieving. Everyone has grieved to different rates and different points.

“But where it was then, when it was very difficult, again fast-forward to now and we are at a very different stage now, where they were around for Sunday dinner the other day at our house.

“Everyone was sitting there having a drink. The kids were flying about like a normal family.”

Wright said she had been judged for appearing on reality TV but said she hoped the new programme would change the public perception of her.

She said: “We all judge everyone, and I have come from a reality TV show. There is a lot of drama and I don’t think you could always see the real me on there. Definitely, I was judged for that.

“And also, people didn’t really know me. You just see what you read in the papers and that always isn’t true.

“That (the Towie character) doesn’t look like the perfect person to look after three children. But once everyone got to know me and everyone got to know each other, it’s a different view.

“I think also that is a big part of doing the documentary because I think, even to this day, people don’t know what our family life is like, and we struggle to share a lot of that on Instagram.

“So people have got an idea of what we are like or what I am like as a step-parent. Hopefully this documentary helps with that.”

The film follows the football star’s previous Bafta-winning documentary in 2017, Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum And Dad, in which he came to terms with the effect of losing his wife while caring for his young family.

Rio And Kate: Becoming A Stepfamily airs tonight on BBC One.

PA