Freddie Flintoff’s wife of 18 years was told she expected the worst after his heart attack on the set of Top Gear last year, which saw surgeons battle to repair the England cricket legend just a week before his 45th birthday.
Last December, Flintoff, without a helmet and without an airbag to protect him, drove an open-top three-wheeled Morgan Super 3, capable of reaching speeds of up to 130 mph, in icy conditions.
When he turned and slid down the track, his face was dragged along the tarmac, causing the former England legend to suffer life-threatening injuries that required him to be airlifted to hospital.
He spent four hours on the operating table as surgeons fought to piece together a national treasure.
Flintoff’s wife Rachael, 42, who had rushed to Surrey from the family home in Cheshire to be by his side, was at one point told to expect the worst as doctors worked diligently to heal Freddie’s gaping wounds.
Flintoff was seen for the first time since his horrific accident last year
Flintoff’s accident happened while the star was driving an open-top three-wheeled Morgan Super 3, capable of reaching speeds of up to 130mph on Top Gear.
Andrew Flintoff (left) is working with the England squad nine months after a near-fatal accident, in which his wife Rachel (pictured right) was told to expect the worst.
Flintoff’s scars are visible as the former star has quietly started working with England’s fast bowlers.
The English great worked with the team at the Oval, the scene of his final Test when he dramatically bowled out Australian captain Ricky Ponting to help England achieve success.
Such was his condition that his own young son admitted he was “lucky to be alive”.
Nine months later, the England all-rounder was pictured back in his happy place: helping England’s cricketers at the Oval as they prepare for their ODI World Cup.
There are of course still signs of the terrifying ordeal the all-rounder went through.
There is a scar extending from the bridge of his nose to his chin, suggesting multiple reconstructive operations and skin grafts.
The right side of his face also appears to show signs of nerve damage. His nose is still covered in gauze and the scratches on his face are still fresh.
Freddie’s wife Rachael, a model and entrepreneur, has undoubtedly been his rock throughout this ordeal.
The couple married in 2005 at the glitzy Pavilion Road Hotel in Knightsbridge, London on March 5, but due to Freddie’s work commitments they were unable to enjoy a honeymoon soon after their special day.
They now share four children, Holly, 17, Corey, 16, Rocky, 13, and Preston, two, who are named after the Lancashire town where Freddie grew up.
Rachael, originally from Hayward’s Heath, West Sussex, set up her business Strawberry Promotions at the age of 19, with the business providing promotional staff for high-end events.
Pictured: Flintoff and his wife Rachel (seen here on their wedding day in 2005)
The former England cricket star, 45, has undoubtedly been supported throughout his ordeal by his family, including his wife of 18 years, Rachael, 42, a model and entrepreneur. Pictured are Freddie, Rachael and their children Holly, Corey and Rocky in 2014
Freddie, who has returned to work with the England cricket team, keeps his family life largely private – but the couple (pictured) have previously shared some details of their romance.
The cricketer turned TV star delved deeper into his self-proclaimed role as ‘Daredevil’ while on Top Gear
It was through her work in events that she met her husband at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in 2002.
She admitted to the Daily Mail in 2007: “He really wasn’t my type physically, because I always prefer dark men, but I thought he was the funniest guy I’d ever met.”
“He got ahold of my cell number and sent me several text messages, and we met up for drinks, and I was quite bowled over by his charm.”
The couple welcomed their first child Holly in 2004, followed by Corey shortly after and Rocky in 2008.
Freddie was convinced that he and Rachael would not have any more children after the arrival of their son Rocky.
In 2016, he said: “We thought about it. I originally wanted five, but you got three and that seemed enough. I couldn’t go back to the diaper stage now.
But in April 2020, the couple revealed they had secretly welcomed their fourth child at Christmas 2019 and shared their youngest son’s name.
Rachael – who lives with her family in a £2.5 million house in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, according to The Sun – always calls her husband Andrew, never Freddie. She tried him once, she had already admitted, but he reacted like a scalded cat.
“Freddie is a working name, but also a bit of a pleasant name, and although many of his friends call him Freddie, to me he is Andrew, a husband and father, rather than a sportsman and celebrity. “
It’s unclear which of Freddie’s former TV roles he will still play after the accident.
Top Gear fans could have seen their favorite stars racing on one of the world’s most iconic circuits, battling on the sands of Morocco and welcoming old faces to the next series of the show had filming been completed .