Rio Ferdinand believed he would "never be happy again" after his wife died.
The 41-year-old former footballer was left devastated when his beloved wife Rebecca lost her battle with breast cancer in 2015 and was resigned to raising their kids, Lorenz, 13, Tate, 11 and eight-year old Tia, on his own.
He said: "I thought I'm never going to be happy again.
"I'll never meet anyone, I was just really content with just being me and the kids and that's all I thought it was going to be."
But Rio found love again with Kate Wright - who he married last year - and was delighted with the positive impact she had on their whole household.
Speaking on upcoming documentary 'Rio and Kate: Becoming a Stepfamily', he added: "And then something just happened.
"When you speak to the kids and the response is much more fun in the house, like - what dad couldn't want that? She's uplifting, she's added value to this house given where it was. It was at a low ebb.
"You feel you've been dealt a terrible hand, but your luck can change."
Meanwhile, Kate, 28, admitted she's found it tough settling into her role as a stepmother because she's no one in a similar situation to have turned to for advice.
She said: "I do feel like I am winging it. I can't ring my mate and say, 'What do I do?'
"No one's with someone and their partner's passed away and their kids haven't got a mum.
"No one really knows what to say. I know I'm caring and I just go with that and hope it's right..."
The former 'Only Way is Essex' star's priority is her stepchildren's happiness.
She tearfully said: "I just want the children to be happy. It's hard for us so I can't imagine how hard it is for the kids."