The football veteran – who lost his wife, Rebecca Ellison, to cancer back in 2018 – thanked his new partner Kate for making his ‘heart pump’ for being so brilliant with their children.
In a sweet Instagram post about his ‘girls,’ he wrote: ‘Makes my [heart] pump even stronger when I see these 2 (@xkatiewright & tia) out and about together on girls days out.’
Rio has three children – Lorenz, 12, Tate, 10, and Tia, eight – with Rebecca and since joining their family, Kate, has made it her mission to make sure their mother’s memory is never lost.
She even quit TOWIE – the show responsible for making her famous – to live a more private life with Rio and the children.
On her decision to turn her back on reality TV, she admitted: ‘I felt like I had two choices. I was in this world that had a lot of drama, it was very public.
‘They had lost their mum, they don’t need a woman who is going to be out everywhere. They need someone who’s going to be home with them to give them love.’
The pair are now engaged and looking to the future as a family after Rebecca gave Rio her blessing to move on before she passed away.
Recalling a conversation she had with a friend, Lisa, Rio admitted: ‘Rebecca told Lisa something in the final weeks of her life. Months later Lisa told me what it was… “It kills me to think of Rio with a new partner, Lisa, you know it does. Of course it does.
‘”But you know what kills me even more? Thinking of him alone and lonely. If I don’t make it, Lisa, I don’t want Rio to be miserable. I want him to be happy.”‘
40-year-old Rio’s romantic tribute to Kate, 28, delighted fans who were concerned after she shared a cryptic post about being ‘let down’ last month.
These two are total goals!