Kate Ferdinand pays tribute to Rio’s first wife Rebecca on her 40th birthday

Kate Ferdinand ventured out to pay her respect to Rio's first wife, Rebecca, on what would have been her 40th birthday.

Despite being heavily pregnant, the star was seen with Rio, 42, and his three children on Saturday evening as they headed out for a family dinner.

Pictures also showed Kate, 29, embracing Rebecca Ellison's parents, Lesley and Stephen during their outing in Southend, Essex.

The star who became a household name after appearing on The Only Way Is Essex became a step-mum to Rio's children, Lorenz, 14, Tate, 12, and Tia, nine, after marrying the former Manchester United ace.

Rio's first wife, Rebecca, died after bravely battling breast cancer in 2015, aged 34.

The former accountant had originally kept her battle a secret having been diagnosed a year prior to her death.

Speaking to The Sun, a source close to Kate said: "Kate was determined to attend the gathering despite being heavily pregnant and not finding it easy.

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"Rebecca would have celebrated her 40th birthday and Kate was on hand to mark the occasion.

"It meant everything to Kate that she could show the Ellisons how much she cares by joining in the stroll and meal out."

Earlier this year, Kate and Rio's journey to becoming a family unit was documented by the BBC documentary, Rio and Kate: Becoming a Step-Family.

Viewers were left heartbroken as Rio's three children were overcome with emotion while laying flowers and cards on Rebecca's grave on Mother's Day.

During the documentary, Kate revealed that she often writes letters to Rebecca and feels as though she "grieves for someone she never knew."

Kate read out one letter while bursting into tears, saying: "'I'm sorry I don't know why this makes me so upset – I feel like I'm grieving for someone I never knew.'

"I hope I'm doing a good job of looking after them for you, it's a bloody hard job but I wouldn't have it any other way."

The Ferdinand family also have a room dedicated to pictures of Rebecca in their home, as well as pictures of Rio's mum Janice, who died in 2017.

Daily Star has approached Kate's representatives for comment.

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