Michael Phelps Praises Wife Nicole's Support amid Depression: 'The Glue That Holds Us Together'

Michael Phelps opens up about the support he receives from his wife Nicole Phelps while dealing with anxiety and depression for years

Honoree Michael Phelps (L) and model-Miss California USA 2010 Nicole Johnson attend Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards 2017 at Pauley Pavilion on July 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California
Photo: Kevin Mazur/KCASports2017/WireImage

Despite being a 23-time gold medalist, Michael Phelps believes his wife's accomplishments are far more impressive.

On Wednesday, the former Olympic swimmer, 36, opened up on Today about his ongoing journey with anxiety and depression, praising his wife Nicole Phelps for how much she's been able to help him on a daily basis.

"One day I can wake up and I can feel like I'm on top of the world and I can do absolutely anything and everything and the next day I can wake up and not want to get out of bed," Michael told Today's Carson Daly.

"For 15 years, Nicole has seen me go up and down," he continued. "There's no other person that would be able to support me like she has. She's the glue that holds all of us together."

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Nicole, who married the athlete in 2016, explained that she resonates with her husband's childhood trauma, which allows her to be supportive when he's struggling.

​​"I keep reminding Michael that I'm not here to judge him," she said. "I'm here to support him. I'm here to love him. I'm not going to shame him. I'm not going to say you can't feel that way. But just making sure I'm there."

Michael — who shares sons Boomer Robert, 5, Beckett Richard, 4, and Maverick Nicolas, 2, with Nicole — added that whenever he needs to regroup and take a moment to himself, Nicole steps in for their family.

"Sometimes my kids will just see me leave the room. And that's because I'm overwhelmed, and my emotions are firing on all cylinders and I can't think straight," he said. "Maybe I'll scream, maybe I'll write things down. But it's getting those things out instead of letting them pile up inside of you."

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Michael Phelps/Instagram

Nicole said that, in those moments, she explains mental health to their kids and lets them know what their dad is going through.

"I'm very vocal and making sure that the kids are aware that maybe Michael's having a rough day and that [they] didn't do something that made daddy feel this way," Nicole explained during the interview. "It's daddy having his own stuff. Dad is having a rough day today and I need you to give him a little space."

By having those conversations, their boys are able to learn and understand topics of anxiety and depression at a young age. Michael and Nicole have even taught their kids a practice called the "lion's breath" as a way to release any negative energy when they're overwhelmed, advocating for mental health care both in and out of their household.

"I look at myself as a dad of three, a husband, somebody who is trying to do whatever I can to prevent as many suicides and talk about mental health," Michael said, "because it's something that's real in my life and it's real every day."

If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go tosuicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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