Kate Ferdinand has opened up about the struggles of becoming a stepmum and being “constantly compared” to her husband Rio’s late wife Rebecca.
The Only Way Is Essex former star, 28, married the former England footballer last September – four years after Rebecca’s death from breast cancer aged 34.
She quit life as a reality star soon after she began dating Ferdinand in 2017 to concentrate on being a stepmum to Lorenz, 13, Tate, 11 and eight-year-old Tia.
Opening up about her new life in the BBC documentary Rio And Kate: Becoming A Stepfamily, she said she felt “judged” by friends and family for every mistake she made.
She said: “I just felt like I wasn’t accepted. Before I met Rio and the children, people took me how I was. No one really judged me that much.
“And I felt really judged. I just felt like I couldn’t live up to the memory of Rebecca. I was constantly compared and I wanted to be able to be me.
“I made a lot of mistakes at the beginning because I wasn’t a mum, and I felt like every mistake I was making I was being judged. I found that really difficult.”
Ferdinand, who has a new book out called Fitter Happier Healthier, added that she “couldn’t be me”, resulting in her being unable to look after the children properly.
She continued: “I felt like I didn’t get any help. I didn’t know what the children liked to eat. I didn’t know anything about them.
“Like, when we go to the doctors, have the children had chickenpox before? I don’t know because no one has told me.
“I just felt really out of my depth. I needed help but I was just getting compared constantly.”
Ferdinand said she also felt judged for being on reality TV and said she hopes the new documentary would change the public perception of her.
“That (the TOWIE character) doesn’t look like the perfect person to look after three children. But once everyone got to know me and everyone got to know each other, it’s a different view,” she said.
Her husband Rio, 41, also recalls how difficult it was for his children to accept his new partner being a part of their lives amid their grief in the programme.
He said: “Rebecca’s family even… It was very difficult at the start. It was hard for them to accept someone new coming in.
“We understand that – they are grieving. Everyone has grieved to different rates and different points.”
The film follows the football star’s previous BAFTA-winning documentary in 2017, Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum And Dad.