Rio Ferdinand opens up about grief

Rio Ferdinand has opened up about grieving for his late wife Rebecca.

Rio Ferdinand. Picture: Facebook.

LONDON – Rio Ferdinand has opened up about grieving for his late wife Rebecca and admitted he drank too much at first.

The retired footballer's 34-year-old spouse passed away in March 2015 following a battle with breast cancer and Rio admitted telling their children Lorenz, 10, Tate, eight, and Tia, five, was "so emotionally draining and testing" and he drank too much in the first five or six weeks after her death.

Speaking to The Times Magazine about his new BBC1 documentary Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad, he said: "You realise playing football was a f***ing walk in the park compared to telling your kids their mum isn't coming back. I've never had to do something so hard, so emotionally draining and testing'.

"Some decisions I made early on I wouldn't make now. At the time you think: 'I'm coping"'. You're sitting there, the kids are in bed, you can't sleep, but you don't want to think about anything. That's when the problems start. I never understood suicide.

"Then you sit there and you can understand how people get that low. It's a lonely dark place. I can easily see why you just slip over that edge."

Although Rio never contemplated harming himself, he admitted: "I wouldn't judge anyone now."

Rio, 38 - who is reportedly dating 'TOWIE' star Kate Wright - revealed one of the reasons he decided to make the documentary was to learn more about counselling and therapy options to deal with his grief.

He explained: "I realised I wasn't connecting with my kids about their mum. Especially the boys. My little girl sleeps with me every night. She will say things. She finds it easy to say, 'I'm missing Mum.' She's young, she hasn't got that mentality of dissecting stuff. The boys will think, 'This might make my dad sad.' I couldn't get anything out of 'em."

"I'm from an environment where talking about your emotions just doesn't happen. You have to show your hard side. Winners are ruthless, hard bastards. That's the way I grew up to be in a changing room. You won't be better than me. I'll do anything to make sure I stay on top.