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Rio Ferdinand admits he turned to booze after the death of his wife and had 'panic attacks' over the school run

Mirror logo Mirror 22/03/2017 Jessica Gibb

Credits: Enterprise News © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Enterprise News Rio Ferdinand has opened up about how he struggled to cope with his wife Rebecca's death.

The former footballer – who has three young children – lost his wife to breast cancer in March 2015.

And now the former England defender has admitted that he was in a daze after his wife's death and even doing the school run alone caused him to have a "panic attack".

The 38 year old admits that he turned to booze and was a "car crash" in the first painful few months.

"At the beginning I was drinking a lot at night. We've got a lady who lives with us. She'd go to bed and I'd come down in the middle of the night and drink too much in the first three or four months," he told The Sun . 

"It was a car crash. I was just lucky I had my kids, if I'm honest.

But although his children Lorenz, 10, Tate, 8, and Tia, 5, have got him through, he did struggle taking over his wife's role in the family.

"When they first went back to sfhool I woke up in the morning scrambling around," he said.

Credits: PA © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: PA "It was the first time they've ever been late for school but I was having a panic attack on my own in the house.

"I had to go into a room on my own and sit there and think, 'What happens now?' Then I've got one of them in the car going, 'Mum wouldn't do this'.

"You don't know what to do. You sit there."

Rio met his wife when he was just 21 when she worked as an accountant and he was an up-and-coming footballer.

Credits: Getty © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty The pair welcomed their first child, a son, Lorenz, in 2006. A year later he proposed to her on a holiday to Las Vegas and they tied the knot in 2009 in an intimate ceremony on the luxurious Peter Island.

In a new BBC documentary, Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad, the 38-year-old reveals he planned their life around his retirement from football in May 2015.

Rebecca died the same month - just 10 weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.

Credits: Rex © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Rex "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," he told the The Times Magazine.

Speaking about how his kids are coping with losing their mum, he said his little girl is finding it easier than the boys because they're worried about how it will impact him.

“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.

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc "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.”

Rio, who is now rumoured to be dating TOWIE star Kate Wright , also reveals he drank a lot for a month or so after losing his wife.

“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.”

Following Rebecca's death, Rio issued a short statement on the QPR website.

He said: "My soul mate slipped away last night. Rebecca, my wonderful wife, passed away peacefully after a short battle with cancer at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.

"She was a fantastic loving mother to our three beautiful children. She will be missed as a wife, sister, aunt, daughter and granddaughter. She will live on in our memory, as a guide and inspiration.

"Myself, my parents Janice and Julian, along with Rebecca's parents Lesley and Stephen, would like to thank our families, friends and my club colleagues who have rallied around in these desperate days, weeks and months."

*Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum And Dad is on March 28, BBC1 at 9pm

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