Widowed football star Rio Ferdinand getting close to TOWIE star Kate Wright

Widowed football star Rio Ferdinand is understood to be getting close with The Only Way is Essex star Kate Wright. While the Manchester United ace is believed to want to take things slowly because he wants to put his three children first, 25 year old Kate is said to already be totally smitten.

The pair have been spending increasing amounts of time together over the last few months. Rio, 38, was heartbroken when his wife Rebecca lost her battle with breast cancer in 2015, leaving behind their three children, Lorenz, aged ten, Tate, nine and Tia, five.

While Kate has not been through such devastation, her last long term relationship, with Dan Edgar, broke down on screen during episodes of TOWIE. The couple are said to be enjoying spending time in each other’s company, but a serious relationship is not yet on the cards as Rio is still grieving the loss of Rebecca.

Willing to wait

According to friends, there is a definite spark between the two, but they are keeping things casual by getting to know each other as part of a group of other friends. A source said that while there was definitely a connection between them, Rio did not want to rush into anything, as he will always put his children ahead of anything else. Kate is said to be falling for him, and is happy to wait until he is ready.

Rebecca died at the age of just 34, a short time after she was diagnosed with cancer. The couple had thought she had the all clear, but a scan then showed that the disease had spread to her bones and was now incurable. Rio revealed that his brave wife planned most of her funeral before she passed away, and that she asked the children to choose the music for her.

Judith is a qualified journalist who has worked in both the UK and the US, specialising in writing about politics, education and health.