Culture

Ghosting Rio Ferdinand: how I got the football legend to relive the hardest days of his life

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When Rio Ferdinand asked her to ghost-write his life story, Decca Aitkenhead knew she would have to ask the reticent star painful questions about his wife’s death and raising their children alone. She recalls a surreal, emotional month on his sofa

One morning in May, a car ferried me across leafy suburban Kent to an executive gated community, through three sets of security barriers, past driveways occupied by Bentleys, to the door of a neo-Queen Anne mansion. “Bloody hell,” the driver choked. “Who lives here?” “No one,” I mumbled idiotically, trying not to look equally wide-eyed as I wondered what I had signed myself up for.

Five months later to the day, I opened the newspapers to see that what I had signed up for was on the bestseller list. It has been, from day one to the end, a fabulously surreal experience.

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