Rio Ferdinand and his reality TV star girlfriend Kate Wright have become engaged.The couple shared photographs taken on the helipad of the St Regis Hotel atop the Nation Towers in Abu Dhabi. The images show the pair embracing and dressed in white against a bright skyline.Announcing the news on Instagram, Ferdinand wrote: “She said yes,” followed by a ring and heart emoji. He added: “How these three kids kept it a secret I’ll never know.”His children, Lorenz, 12, Tate, 10, and Tia, seven, all from his marriage to Rebecca Ellison, are pictured looking on. Rebecca died, aged 34, in 2015 after being diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time.He filmed a documentary on the struggles of filling the roles of both mother and father to his children, and behind the scenes Ms Wright was a source of support. Former The Only Way Is Essex star Ms Wright wrote: “The perfect end to our holiday … How could the answer not be yes.”Ferdinand spoke about his relationship with Wright for the first time on ITV’s This Morning in October 2017. The former England footballer has said how having a female figure in the lives of his children has helped them. Rio Ferdinand is mobbed by Kate Wright and his three children after proposing in Abu DhabiCredit:Rio Ferdinand/Instagram His ex-Manchester United team-mate Dimitar Berbatov also offered his congratulations, as well as his old sparring partners Andy Cole and Robbie Keane. The news also transcended the Manchester United-Liverpool rivalry, with Anfield legend Ian Rush sending his best wishes to Ferdinand and his new fiancé. In an interview with the Times earlier this year, Ferdinand opened up about the new dynamics at home. “My relationship with Kate has helped in that they have got a female in the house now,” he said.”They run past me sometimes to go to her. I’ve had to go through a period of being very, very open, and men aren’t normally like that naturally.”So having that extra person in the house who is female, who has that softer touch, I think is vitally important for the kids.”In August, Ms Wright told the Mail on Sunday how she and the former footballer “just clicked” when they met. “If someone had told me a few years back that I was going to be the stepmum of three children, I would have just laughed,” she told the paper’s You Magazine.”You don’t see something like that coming.”She said she fell in love with Ferdinand knowing he was a widower with three children, and accepted that her life would change, saying: “I couldn’t be part of his life and not part of theirs.”I knew it would be a challenge, but if you love someone you go with it and deal with the difficult stuff.” Thousands of well-wishers commented on the Instagram post, including fellow former England internationals Jermaine Jenas, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.