Michael Phelps Announces Father Fred Phelps Has Died

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Michael Phelps Announces Father Fred Phelps Has Died

Olympic champion Michael Phelps announced the death of his father Fred Phelps on social media.

You’ll always be my dad… And I’ll always be your son… Love you dad and I will miss you❤️❤️ rip dad,” Michael Phelps posted on Instagram.

 

 

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A post shared by Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00)

Michael Phelps had a rocky relationship with his father. In 1994, his parents divorced and Fred was not a big part of Michael’s life for several years.

Fred was a Maryland State Trooper for 28 years. He was a strong football player in high school and college, but was mostly out of Michael’s life for a long time.

The relationship continued to be complicated as Michael Phelps rose to international stardom at multiple Olympic Games, including his record-setting performance in Beijing in 2008 when he won eight gold medals to break the record for most in a single Olympic Games.

When Phelps was in a rehab clinic in 2014, Phelps confronted his relationship with his father. He told Matt Lauer he realized he had feelings of abandonment and avoidance related to their relationship. Phelps said that the breakthrough happened when his father came to visit him in Arizona. There, he says, they had the best conversation in over twenty years and began to heal their relationship.

He has new perspective on his own father now that he himself is a father with three children at home.

“I’ve realized that was the best my father could have done,” he told  ESPN in 2016. “It sucks. But I get it. I understand now. I’ve learned a lot on the road that I’ve walked that will make me a better father and help me not make some of the same mistakes.”

Those are lessons Phelps continues to learn and reflect on as a father.

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