Kate Ferdinand has transformed herself from The Only Way is Essex’s girl-about-town to a doting wife and stepmum. Newly-wed Kate, 28, married former footballer Rio Ferdinand last September, four years after his wife Rebecca died from breast cancer aged 34.
She was a TOWIE favourite from 2015 to 2017 but quit the show after meeting Rio to focus on her stepchildren Lorenz, 13, Tate, 11 and eight-year-old Tia. Now Kate has stepped back into the spotlight with book Fitter Happier Healthier, which is about the battles with anxiety and body dysmorphia that blighted her teens and early 20s.
When our sister publication Woman’s Own chats to Kate, she tells us about her life as a stepmum, how she copes with anxiety, and how her stepchildren are desperate for another baby in the family…
Kate, many congratulations on your marriage! How was your dream wedding?
It was amazing. We had a beautiful time with our family and friends and it was everything I could have dreamt of. The kids were happy, I was happy, it just felt like a perfect special moment that we’ve got to where we are.
When you’ve said that you and Rio ‘saved each other’ what did you mean?
Rio was having a difficult time – he’d lost his wife and was a single dad and I wasn’t enjoying who I was and was having really bad anxiety. We met and it felt like someone above had sent us together and it was just meant to be, and we saved each other. That’s as simple as it is. I feel like it was fate. Rio and the kids have taught me the importance of life. Just being in the house with everything they’ve all been through, we realise what’s important and what isn’t.
What’s it like looking after a houseful?
It was a big adjustment for me at first because I had been single and I didn’t even know how to cook! Rio taught me and I picked stuff up, but it’s not always successful – one night I made fajitas but I got the hot spice mix and it was too hot and they hated it. Our household is full of banter. We’ll take the mick out of each other. All of us are lunatics – my friends call it the mad house because we run around and have a good old laugh.
What are most of the arguments about?
I’m super organised. I used to be a PA and organise events so I run a tight ship, as Rio would say. I’m a clean freak and I hate mess. They needed the organisation. You know what men are like – they leave all their stuff everywhere. It annoys me when he leaves his pants on the floor or his shoes at the bottom of the stairs. I’m sure I annoy him in many ways as well.
Are you and Rio thinking of having kids?
Potentially in the future. I’m an only child and I lived with just my mum and I always wanted to have a big family – I just never envisioned myself getting it like this! The kids would love us to have a baby – the boys would like a brother and Tia would like a sister, but we’ll see.
Why did you write the book?
I feel like I haven’t really shared much about myself before, so I thought this was a good way to do that. People see you on social media and think, ‘Their life’s great,’ but you don’t really know who someone is or their struggles. With the book I thought I could lay it bare and be me and it felt a bit like therapy.
How do you manage your anxiety now?
A new thing of mine in 2020 is that if there’s an article about me, I won’t click on it. Reading something about me isn’t going to benefit me, because I know who I am.
Fitter Happier Healthier: The Ultimate Body Plan by Kate Ferdinand (£16.99, Michael Joseph)