The football star gave an emotional speech as he took home a Bafta TV award
Former footballer Rio Ferdinand has said winning a Bafta for a documentary he made following the death of his wife means more to him than all of the trophies he won during his playing career.
Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum And Dad, about life after he lost his wife Rebecca to cancer, won the Best Single Documentary prize at the Bafta TV awards.
Speaking after his win, Rio said: “Both (the Bafta and football trophies) are great but this is more meaningful.
“This is something that can help change lives. I’ve heard that first hand from people.”
As he collected his award, Rio said it had been a “crazy whirlwind experience” and that he only made the documentary for his three children.
“The worst thing to come out of this is that I get quite emotional now,” he said on stage, his voice breaking.
“It has allowed me to speak and show vulnerability that people were probably never used to.
“Being a sportsman you are kind of built up as kind of an indestructible athlete and for people to see that vulnerability live and direct, I think was a huge part of that, making the documentary.”
He continued: “All of the nans, granddads, the younger people, the middle aged people come up to me now in the streets and don’t want to talk about football and that means we’ve done a good job with what we are doing.”
He said it had “truly been worthwhile” as it had given people a voice.
Rio, who attended the event with new partner Kate Wright, said the programme was “a snapshot of that time of sadness” in his life.
He said: “I’m just pleased to say this documentary has played a part of pulling me forward into a period of happiness in my life, where my kids are very happy.
“I have a beautiful girlfriend now and we are making steps in the right direction.”
Ferdinand also confirmed that he planned to make more TV programmes of a personal nature.
“This has sparked something within myself. I didn’t see myself as being a creative within film,” he said.
“I’ve had conversations about doing more stuff. Being from a sporting arena, there are stories to be told.”
Rio’s wife Rebecca died aged 34 in 2015, weeks after being diagnosed with the disease for a second time.