Baseball star Justin Verlander has credited his supermodel wife Kate Upton with saving his life and career after a serious struggle with depression.
The pitcher reveals he found himself in a downward spiral professionally in 2014 as he battled a series of injuries while playing for the Detroit Tigers, and the health issues, coupled with the backlash he received from sports fans online, really got him down.
Justin had also only just started dating the blonde beauty, but instead of turning her back on him, Kate went out of her way to help him overcome his mental health problems and work towards a full physical recovery.
"Who knows if I'm even here if it wasn't for her?" he tells Bleacher Report magazine. "She was instrumental in me not... like, jumping off a bridge. I was depressed and kind of just upset at the world and trying to hide my own s**t."
"I don't like to talk to people about being hurt," Justin continues. "As athletes, you're not supposed to. It's an excuse... But she was someone I could talk to. I mean, basically a therapist. Somebody I could trust with... worries about my career. Worries about, 'Can I make it?' Worries about what I'm going through to get back. And just the overall s**tiness of it all.
"She was what I needed."
For Kate, who had been friends with the athlete since 2012, helping Justin out of the funk was a no-brainer.
"It was so emotional," she recalls. "He was in so much pain, and he was just trying to find the best path back."
She encouraged him focus on learning what was best for his own body and urged him to ignore his haters, and Verlander went on to bounce back from the low period.
Last year (17), the 35 year old was traded from the Tigers to the Houston Astros, who he helped lead to victory in the 2017 World Series in November (17).
He and Kate, 26, wed in Italy days later, and are now expecting their first child together.