Olympic athlete Rebecca Adlington has opened up for the first time about why her marriage to fellow swimmer and personal trainer Harry Needs ended after just 18 months.
Speaking with the Mirror Online, Rebecca said that she felt that their relationship hadn’t worked because her ex had put her on a pedestal.
‘He was younger than me, he saw Beijing and really idolised me,’ she said, talking about the 2008 Beijing Olympics where she won two gold medals, in both the 800 and 400 metre freestyles.
‘Harry had to step back and say, “I have to figure out whether I like you or whether I like you because of everything you’ve achieved”.’
Despite dating since June 2011, their marriage in 2014 seemed to put extra strain on the relationship, and when baby Summer came along just a year later, this intensified even further.
Rebecca said to The Weekend Magazine at the time, ‘Being a parent is bloody hard work. Harry and I have had plenty of arguments. We’re knackered.’
She also confirmed that they would be delaying having more children, instead choosing to focus on their careers.
‘We just jumped in and we’re so young,’ she said. ‘We’re both still so ambitious so we don’t want to lose ourselves just because we’re parents.’
Despite the split in 2016, the pair remain close friends, and issued a statement at the time of their separation confirming their continued commitment to raising their daughter, which read: ‘It’s after much thought and sadness that we confirm our separation. It is on amicable terms and we still remain close friends.’
‘We move forward with respect for one another and our focus and commitment is on parenting our gorgeous daughter Summer.’
‘This will be our only comment on this private matter. Becky and Harry.’
Since then, Rebecca has made no secret of her support and respect for her ex-partner, and earlier this year posted a touching tribute on Instagram to celebrate Father’s Day.
‘Happy Father’s Day @harryneeds!’ wrote Becky, along with a sweet snap of Summer and her dad. ‘Thank you for everything you do for Summer. She absolutely loves her daddy. We hit the jackpot by having such an incredible child, but she’s very lucky to have you as her daddy.’