Kate Ferdinand has spoken of the heartbreaking struggle she experienced as a stepmother to her husband Rio’s children after they lost their mother.
The former TOWIE star, 31, co-parents Lorenz, 14, Tate, 12, and Tia, 10, who Rio, 42, had with his late wife Rebecca Ellison, who tragically died from breast cancer in 2015 aged 35.
She has since welcomed son Cree, two, with the footballer and is pregnant with her second biological child, a baby girl.
But Kate battled strong emotions while bonding with her stepchildren, claiming she felt as she was ‘walking in the steps of someone else’s life’ as her relationship with former footballer Rio blossomed.
In her new book How To Build A Family, extracted by The Sun, she wrote: ‘If I could bring Rebecca back, I would in an instant because of the pain I’ve seen in them.
Difficulties: Kate Ferdinand, 31, has spoken of the heartbreaking struggle she experienced as a stepmother to her husband Rio’s children after they lost their mother
‘A child losing their parent is horrendous.
‘You want to scoop them up and bring their mum back to make them happy, but you can’t.
‘As a step-parent coming into a bereaved home, you can sometimes find yourself in situations where you feel like you’re walking in the steps of someone else’s life.’
She went on to say how she felt as if she herself was grieving Rebecca even though she had never met her, with other step-parents experiencing the same.
Television personalty Kate admitted she felt guilty for the emotions she felt ‘because it wasn’t about me’.
And she came to realise she had a connection with Rebecca as they were both mothers to the children, realising how it must have felt for Rebecca to leave her children behind while wanting to do the best for them.
It comes after Kate said she feels ‘secure’ in her bond with her husband Rio’s children, as she candidly discussed life as a step mum.
Things haven’t been all smooth-sailing, with Kate previously admitting she cried in secret while learning to be a stepmother.
Adapting: Kate battled strong emotions while bonding with her stepchildren, claiming she was ‘walking in the steps of someone else’s life’ as her relationship with Rio blossomed
She told The Sun: ‘It takes a while to get to know people after so much trauma and everything that has gone on.
‘Becoming a parent is not built in big, sweeping moments. It’s lots of small things you do all the time. And it takes time to build that bond and relationship. But now I feel secure.’
Kate added: ‘I love them all exactly the same, but the love is formed in different ways. It’s hard to explain, but because I’ve worked so hard for their love, it’s an extra-special love.’
It comes after the reality star recalled being mistaken for her husband Rio’s late wife Rebecca as she discussed their early relationship.
Kate admitted she ‘felt like a side chick’ when they first began dating in 2017, two years after Rebecca tragically died from breast cancer aged 35.
Speaking on her Blended podcast, Kate and Rio spoke of her difficulties when everyone would mention Rebecca when the footballer spoke of his wife.
She explained: ‘I’m secure but what used to happen is I was dating you, we might have been engaged but I wasn’t your wife. So whenever you talk about your wife everyone would say Rebecca.’
Recalling how a famous person called her Rebecca recently, Kate said she ‘felt like a side chick’ at the start of their relationship.
Blended family: Kate co-parents Lorenz, 14, Tate, 12, and Tia, 10, who Rio, 42, had with his late wife Rebecca Ellison
Upsetting: Rebecca Ellison tragically died from breast cancer in 2015 aged 35
She added: ‘I kind of felt like I was this side woman, I felt like a bloody good side chick looking after your three kids. Everyone was saying your wife, your wife, your wife.
‘Now I am your wife, I feel very secure and yeah the wedding changed a lot for me so I can deal with things like now.’
The TV personality and the footballer married during an extravagant wedding ceremony in Turkey in 2019, after two years of dating.
Elsewhere, Kate revealed she didn’t realise ‘what she was stepping into’ as she was met with his late wife Rebecca’s belongings ‘everywhere’ and his three children ‘rebelling’.
After spending time courting, the couple decided to take the next step and for Kate to move into the family home – which was very hard.
‘I never realised what I was stepping into until I came to this house. We were smitten, going out, dating. I hadn’t really experienced being a step mum, your life or the loss you had gone through,’ she said.
‘It was only when I came here that I thought “s**t this is going to be hard”.’
Rio told her: ‘I hadn’t changed anything in the house at that point. Nothing had changed. The fact that I was bringing you into that. I didn’t think about maybe your feelings I was just in a bubble. I didn’t think about things in the bathroom like shower gel.’
Kate replied: ‘You hadn’t moved anything we had this whirlwind romance, it was all lovely and flowers everywhere and then I stepped into your house.
‘Nothing had been removed of Rebecca’s so all of her stuff was in the same place and I was just stepping in.
‘It was really, really difficult. I felt like I was having an out of body experience. My mum thought I had lost my mind a little bit. I started to question myself, is this really what I think it was? I just didn’t even know if I was letting myself in for.’