This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resourcesfor additional resources.
When Nicole Phelps learned of NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s death, her mind went to a dark place. At the time, Nicole’s husband, Michael Phelps, who has a history of suicidal ideation, was in the throes of a deep depression.
“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, 35, told TODAY Parents. “Michael is the most amazing father and partner I could have ever asked for.”
“Nicole loves me and wants to help. She wants me to get better,” thelegendary Olympic swimmer told TODAY Parents. “But she’s struggling herself. She needs that support as well. I know it’s hard for her.”
For Nicole, the most difficult thing has been accepting that she can’t take Michael’s pain away.
“I used to think, ‘Oh, I can fix him. I can be his therapist. I can be what he needs,’” she revealed. “But what I’ve learned is that you can’t take ownership for how they’re feeling, no matter how badly you want to.”
It’s a lesson Nicole and Michael…