Freddie Flintoff’s wife of 18 years was told to expect the worst following his heart stopping crash on the set of Top Gear last year which saw surgeons battle to repair the England cricket legend just a week before he turned 45.
Last December, Flintoff without a helmet and with no airbag to protect him, was driving an open topped three-wheel Morgan Super 3, capable of speeds up to 130 mph, in icy conditions.
When it flipped and slid along the track, his face was dragged along the tarmac with it causing life threatening injuries to the former England legend that required him to be airlifted to hospital.
He would spend four hours on the operating table as surgeons battled to put a national treasure back together.
Flintoff’s wife Rachael, 42, who had hurried to Surrey from the family home in Cheshire to be at his side, was at one point told to expect the worst as doctors worked diligently to patch Freddie’s gaping wounds.
Flintoff has been seen for the first time since his horrific accident last year
Flintoff’s crash happened as the star was driving open topped three-wheel Morgan Super 3, capable of speeds up to 130 mph on Top Gear
Andrew Flintoff (left) is working with the England team nine months on from a near-fatal crash, whereby his wife Rachel (pictured right) was told to expect the worst
Flintoff’s scars are visible as the former star quietly began working with England’s fast bowlers
The England great has been working with the team at the Oval, the scene of his final Test when he dramatically ran out Australian captain Ricky Ponting to help England to Ashes success
So touch and go was his condition, his own young son admitted he was ‘lucky to be alive.’
Nine months later and the England all-rounder has been pictured back in his happy place: helping England’s cricketers out at the Oval as they prepare for their ODI World Cup.
There are of course still signs of the terrifying ordeal the all-rounder has gone through.
There is a scar stretching 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 grazes on his face are still fresh.
Freddie’s wife Rachael who is a model and business entrepreneur has no doubt been his rock through the entire ordeal.
The pair wed in 2005 at the glitzy Pavilion Road Hotel in Knightsbridge, London, on March 5, but because of Freddie’s work commitments, they were unable to enjoy a honeymoon shortly after their special day.
They now share four children, Holly, 17, Corey, 16, Rocky, 13, and Preston, two, who was named after the Lancashire city where Freddie grew up.
Rachael, originally from Hayward’s Heath, West Sussex, set up her business Strawberry Promotions aged 19, with the firm supplying promotional staff for upmarket events.
Pictured: Flintoff and his wife Rachel (seen here on their 2005 wedding day)
The former England cricket star, 45, was no doubt supported throughout his ordeal by his family, including his wife of 18 years, Rachael, 42, who is a model and business entrepreneur. Pictured, 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 mostly private – but the couple (pictured) have previously shared some details about their romance
The cricketer turned TV star furthered his self-appointed ‘Daredevil’ role while on Top Gear
It was through her work in events that she met her husband at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in 2002.
She admitted to The Daily Mail in 2007: ‘He really wasn’t my type physically, because I always go for dark men, but I thought he was the funniest guy I had ever met.
‘He got hold of my mobile number and texted me a couple of times, and we met up for a drink, and I was pretty much 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 wouldn’t have anymore children after the arrival of their son Rocky.
In 2016 he said: ‘We thought about it. I originally wanted five but you have three and that felt like enough. I couldn’t go back to the nappy stage now.’
But in April 2020, the pair revealed that they had secretly welcomed their fourth child over Christmas 2019 and shared their youngest son’s name.
Rachael – who lives with her family in a £2.5 million home in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, according to The Sun – always refers to her husband as Andrew, never Freddie. She tried it once, she previously admitted, but he reacted like a scalded cat.
‘Freddie is a work name, as well as a bit of a joky name, and although loads of his mates call him Freddie, to me he’s Andrew, a husband and a father, rather than a sportsman and a celebrity.’
It is unknown which of any of Freddie’s former TV roles he will still do following the crash.
Top Gear fans would have been able to enjoy their favourite stars driving on one of the world’s most iconic racetracks, battling through the sands of Morocco and welcoming old faces in the next series of the show if it had finished filming.