woman in kitchen stressed at the change in lifestyle becoming a step parent

It is estimated that 1 in 3 of all UK families are now step families. That’s almost 7 million families in the UK. So it’s small wonder that the documentary following the challenges faced by footballer Rio Ferdinand and his second wife Kate has struck such a chord. 

In ”Rio and Kate Ferdinand: Becoming a Stepfamily”, former TOWIE star Kate was open and honest about the family’s challenges both before and after she married Rio in 2019. Rio’s wife Rebecca Ellison had died from breast cancer in 2015, leaving Rio to bring up their three children. The documentary follows on from Rio’s BAFTA winning documentary filmed after the death of his wife, Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum And Dad.


First time mum

Like so many step parents, Kate needed to become part of a family still very much coming to terms with their grief. She revealed how she felt that she was also grieving for someone she had never known. Interviewed on ITV’s This Morning, she also explained how she found almost every part of being a step mother a challenge:

“I couldn't cook, (in) a house that wasn't my own… I think I found everything hard. I used to get myself into such a state.”  

Many step parents will empathise with Kate’s lack of experience as a mum:

“I was used to just looking after me. Looking after three kids and worrying about them before myself was something I've never done before.”

There was also the hurdle of no “background” knowledge: 

“The doctors, they’d ask "Have the children have chicken pox?" and I would say, "I don't know". I found myself not having answers to a lot of things. It was difficult.”

No picture-perfect life

LGFL Director and Legal 500 recommended family lawyer Rita Gupta found the programme to be compelling viewing:

“I was really touched by this documentary and the raw and very genuine emotion that was shown. Despite the fact that I am a Liverpool fan, I really admire Rio and Kate for being so open and brave about the challenges in their life. Rather than portraying some fake view of their picture perfect life, they have been honest and will have touched the hearts of many people. Families are becomingly increasingly complex with more and more step families, and step parents can play such a pivotal role in the lives of children.”


Legal advice for step parents

If you’re a step parent and need legal advice, call us to make an appointment to discuss your particular situation. 


Support for step parents

In the documentary, Rio and Kate revealed how talking to other step parents really helped them. If you are looking for support as a step parent, these organisations can help:

“We recognise that the best way to support families is to provide professional, non-judgmental support and advice in a way that all members of the family can freely access. We provide this through our 24 hour helpline, extensive advice on our website, our email and live chat services, befriending services, and parenting/relationship support groups.”

“Many callers get in touch with us when they are at the end of their tether and feel like they can't cope anymore. Sometimes callers are embarrassed about asking for help but they soon find that just talking things through can really make a difference. If you have a problem, don't wait until you feel things get out of control.”

“The Childless Stepmums Forum was created to help women with stepfamilies and no children of their own come to terms with their new environment.” 

You can find details of more organisations here: