Michael Phelps reveals how his depression has affected his family

Michael Phelps with his wife Nicole, Boomer and Maverick.
Michael Phelps with his wife Nicole, Boomer and Maverick. Photo: Instagram

Michael Phelps is best known for his abilities in the pool, but now the Olympic swimmer wants focus on something else that has been a huge part of this life—his struggle with his mental health.

Talking to TODAY, the 23-time Olympic gold medal swimmer and his wife Nicole Phelps opened up about the effect that mental health disorders can have on the family.

"I'm very vocal about making sure that the kids are aware that maybe Michael's having a hard day," Nicole explained, saying they make sure their children, Boomer, four, Beckett, two, and 16-month-old Maverick, know 'it's in no way their fault' when dad's having a bad day.

"[I tell them] It's Daddy having his own stuff," she said.

Michael added that he'll wake up some days feeling 'like he's on top of the world,' and other days struggle to get out of bed.

Since opening up after the 2016 about his mental health battles, he launched the Michael Phelps Foundation, which works with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, helping kids get access to swimming lessons to help them stay healthy physically and mentally, as well as encouraging them to talk about their mental health.

Nicole says she always takes the time to remind her husband she's there to support him and not judge.

"I'm here to love him. I'm here, open arms," she said. "I'm not going to say, 'You can't feel that way.'"

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Michael added that one of the techniques he uses when he's feeling overwhelmed is to go to a quiet room.

"I can calm myself down," he explained. "I always have that little area where I can just go and regroup."

Earlier in the year, Nicole admitted she was 'terrified' of losing Michael to depression and raising their children alone.

"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,'" she told TODAY Parents.

"Michael is the most amazing father and partner I could have ever asked for."

She continued revealing she started working with a therapist to help deal with her fear of losing him, adding that as well as being a great support for her., it's also helped her understand how to help Michael.