Nicole Phelps knows she’s “married to the most incredible human being,” Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, but their love story hasn’t been without hardships.
In the wake of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death last January, Nicole automatically thought of her husband’s mental health, as Michael — who has long been candid about his depression struggles — was going through a difficult time.
“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,’” Nicole said in a recent interview with TODAY Parents.
“Michael is the most amazing father and partner I could have ever asked for,” she continued.
Married since 2016, Nicole and Michael, both 35, are the proud parents of three young boys: Boomer, 4, Beckett, 2, and 1-year-old Maverick. Although she is the matriarch of the household, Nicole said she has come to terms with what she is and isn’t capable of doing for their family.
“I used to think, ‘Oh, I can fix him. I can be his therapist. I can be what he needs,’” Nicole 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.”
In 2019, Michael opened up about how therapy changed his life.
“I struggled with anxiety and depression and questioned whether or not I wanted to be alive anymore. It was when I hit this low that I decided to reach out and ask for the help of a licensed therapist. This decision ultimately helped save my life. You don’t have to wait for things,” the Olympian penned in a tweet.
Nicole also spoke about how their sons want to cheer Michael up when he’s struggling.
“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 said.
“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,” she continued.
Nicole added how she’s been working with a therapist recently as well.
“It’s helping me with everything. It’s support for me,” Nicole said. “But more than anything, therapy provides me with the tools to be able to help Michael properly.”