MICHAEL PHELPS’ wife fears losing the most decorated Olympian of all time to depression.
The former swimmer, 35, has candidly talked about his battle with mental illness and shares three kids with beauty queen Nicole, also 35, who he wed in 2016.
Swimmer Michael Phelps won 23 Olympic gold medalsCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
Phelps and wife Nicole were married in 2016 and share three kidsCredit: PA:Press Association
And Nicole revealed the tragic passing of basketball icon Kobe Bryant last year, prompted her to worry about life without the 23-time Olympic gold medallist.
She told TODAY Parents: “After Vanessa [Bryant] lost Kobe, all I could do was look at Michael and be like, ‘Can we please help you?’
“‘Because if I lose you, I don’t know what I’m gonna do.’
“Michael is the most amazing father and partner I could have ever asked for.”
The couple parent kids Boomer, 4, Beckett, 2, and Maverick, 16 months but Phelps – who quit the pool after bagging five golds and one silver at Rio 2016 – revealed his mental health has impacted Nicole.
He said: “Nicole loves me and wants to help. She wants me to get better.
“But she’s struggling herself. She needs that support as well. I know it’s hard for her.”
Nicole opened up about the realisation she could not ‘fix’ Phelps or take his pain away.
Phelps is arguably the greatest swimmer of all timeCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd
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Where to get help
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
She added: “I used to think, ‘Oh, I can fix him. I can be his therapist. I can be what he needs’.
“But what I’ve learned is that you can’t take ownership for how they’re feeling, no matter how badly you want to.”
Nicole has begun seeing a therapist to deal with the thought of losing Phelps and the couple have grown together during the pandemic.
She explained: “It’s helping me with everything. It’s support for me. But more than anything, therapy provides me with the tools to be able to help Michael properly.
“We’ve definitely grown together through this and learned a lot. It’s not easy, but I’m married to the most incredible human being.”
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