Rio Ferdinand lavished praise on girlfriend Kate Wright in a gushing Instagram post.
The former Manchester United footballer started dating the former TOWIE star last year.
And the 39-year-old said she’d been the “brightness” amid a tough year for the pundit.
His mum, Janice St Fort, died of cancer last year aged just 58, only two years after he lost his wife Rebecca to the same disease.
But it looks like there is plenty of happiness on the horizon for the pair in 2018.
In a poignant post on his Instagram page, Rio said: “To say 2017 has been a tough year would be a huge understatement.
“Some dark moments but brightness has been spread around me and mine by this one in many different forms.
“Christmas being just 1 example, all the thoughtful little details that make things that much better for all of us 😘 little throwback pic.”
He posted the message alongside a cute pic of the pair in Dubai that they took over Christmas.
And fans offered their support for the couple as they looked forward to an exciting new year together.
One commented: “So happy for you and your children @rioferdy5, @xkatiewright is one special lady, great to see a smile on your face, lots of love.”
Another added: “A ‘happy ever after’ never hurt nobody ❤️ @rioferdy5 @xkatiewright.”
And a third said: “That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right. Xxx”
Earlier this year the couple posted a video of them doing a workout together in Rio’s home gym.
Fans were desperate to see if there were any hints the two might be tying the knot as speculation increases.
And this latest loving post will only heighten the expectation that the former defender and reality TV star could be getting hitched one day in the future.