Phelps’ wife fears she’ll lose him
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 the impact of it on the three kids he shares with beauty queen Nicole, also 35, who he wed in 2016.
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.
"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'," she told TODAY.
"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.
"Nicole loves me and wants to help. She wants me to get better," he said.
"But she's struggling herself. She needs that support as well. I know it's hard for her."
Phelps said he has "had some scary ups and downs" during the COVID-19 pandemic and it's impacted his kids.
"The boys want to be near Michael when he's having a rough day. They want to try and make him happy - especially Boomer because he's the oldest," Nicole explained. "So we'll say, 'Hey Booms, Daddy's having a hard time and just needs to take a moment to be alone'. We want Boomer to understand it's not about him, it's about Michael."
Nicole has begun seeing a therapist to deal with the thought of losing Phelps.
"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," she said.
"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."
Nicole opened up about the realisation she could not "fix" Phelps or take his pain away. "I used to think, 'Oh, I can fix him. I can be his therapist. I can be what he needs'," she said.
"But what I've learned is that you can't take ownership for how they're feeling, no matter how badly you want to."
- The Sun
Originally published as Phelps' wife fears she'll lose him