The NFL’s Biggest Stars & The Women Behind Them


Aaron Rodgers


As fans of other teams in the NFC North will tell you: never bet against Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers was previously dating Olivia Munn for quite some time, and the two of them appeared to be the NFL’s next “power couple.” But after the two split up in 2017, people wondered how that would affect Rodgers. And in vintage Rodgers fashion, he ended up dating someone who is perhaps even more famous: groundbreaking professional racing driver Danica Patrick. The two have been romantically linked since February of 2018.

Peyton Manning


For as famous as Peyton Manning has become, that’s how little the general public knows about his wife, Ashley Thompson. The Memphis native met her future record-setting husband when the two of them were freshmen at the University of Tennessee. The couple got married on St. Patrick’s Day of 2001, but didn’t have children for 10 years after getting married.

They eventually had twin daughters, and a son named Marshall, whom the Manning’s have worked hard to keep out of the spotlight. Thompson made news a few years ago when a report surfaced that Human Growth Hormone (HGH) drugs were being shipped to the Manning’s home; Thompson professed to being the one for whom they were shipped.

J.J. Watt


In 2015, Texas defensive end J.J. Watt was the most feared defensive player in the NFL. At that time, he also happened to be the most eligible bachelor in pro sports. Watt, a superhuman athlete and renowned humanitarian, had no shortage of famous women professing their interest in “getting to know him better.”

The lucky lady who finally locked up Watt (off the field) was Kealia Ohai, who captains the Houston Dash and is a member of the United States women’s national soccer team. On top of their connection as Houston pro athletes, Ohai is the sister of Megan Cushing, the wife of Watt’s teammate Brian Cushing.

After Hurricane Harvey destroyed significant parts of Houston, Watt raised $37 million in less than three weeks for hurricane relief.

Tom Brady


Patriots quarterback Tom Brady might be the most hated player in the NFL, and it’s easy to see why. The guy has it all! He’s a 5x Super Bowl champion, arguably the best quarterback in NFL history, he’s earned more than $200 million in salary (not including endorsements), and oh yeah, he’s married to the world’s most famous supermodel.

As a teenager, Gisele Bundchen (37), also had dreams of becoming a professional athlete. The 5-foot-11 Brazilian bombshell loved volleyball, but quickly abandoned the sport when it became clear she had a very bright future in modeling. According to, Gisele is worth a staggering $360 million. Most NFL fans don’t know this, but she is twice as wealthy as her famous husband.

Tony Gonzalez


If you ever watched FOX show “Beat Shazam,” which was hosted by Jamie Foxx, then you might recognize October Gonzalez, the wife of record-setting tight end Tony Gonzalez. Interestingly enough, she met her future husband while working at a bar in Newport Beach, California, which happened to be owned by Dennis Rodman. Fast forward a few years, and the couple got married and are raising three children: a son named River and a daughter named Malia (whom they had together), as well as a son named Nikko, whom October had from a previous relationship.

Drew Brees


The prolific passer met Brittany back when the two of them were at Purdue University; naturally, they’ve been described as “college sweethearts.” Brees previously professed to having to drink a bunch of “liquid courage” to overcome his fear of asking her out, and ended up using some cheesy pickup line in the process. Clearly, it worked. After getting married in 2003, the couple has had four children together: three sons named Baylen, Bowen, and Callen, as well as a daughter named Rylen.

Danny Amendola

March was an eventful month for wide receiver Danny Amendola. He signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Dolphins, after five seasons with the Patriots, and he split from his longtime girlfriend. Amendola had been dating former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo since 2016.

Culpo wasn’t interested in moving to South Beach to join Amendola, and their were interested in a long distance relationship. But wait, there’s more… According to E! News, Amendola also wasn’t pleased that Culpo posed nude for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Culpo has been in the news for dating former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow. According to sources, Culpo reportedly dumped Tebow because he refused to “get busy” unless they were married.

Tony Romo


Few players in NFL history have had their love lives play out in public more than Tony Romo, whose past girlfriends include famous singers Carrie Underwood and Jessica Simpson. Things didn’t work out with Underwood or Simpson, but Romo is now happily married to another high-profile woman: former beauty queen and TV reporter Candice Crawford.

Tony and Candice began dating in 2009, shortly after the QB broke up with singer Jessica Simpson. At the time, Candice was a reporter and anchor at a TV station in  Dallas, where she covered sports. It‘s only natural for the (now former) starting quarterback of the beloved Dallas Cowboys to marry one of the most famous women from the state of Texas. 

Antonio Gates


Sasha Dindayal married tight end Antonio Gates in June of 2011. She might look familiar to hip hop fans, as she’s the model in the music video for David Banner’s hit single “Play” (she’s the girl in the boxing gloves). Fans of reality television might also know her from her role on the reality series “WAGS.” The self-described recording artist, fashionista, entrepreneur and philanthropist was born in Canada, but is of Trinidadian descent.

Philip Rivers


It shouldn’t be any surprise that a “clean-cut” guy like Philip Rivers ended up marrying his high school sweetheart; in fact, Rivers told the future Tiffany Rivers, back in junior high, that she was the girl he was going to marry. Fast forward to 2001, when he fulfilled his prophecy (of sorts). Tiffany Rivers wasn’t a Roman Catholic like her future husband, but ended up converting for him.

These days, she’s a full-time mom, managing the couple’s seven children. She’s also actively involved in the couple’s foundation known as “Rivers of Hope,” which aims to find families for orphans up to the age of twelve.

A.J. McCarron


Katherine Webb is a former beauty queen, but most football fans probably remember her from announcer Brent Musburger’s hilarious/weird rant during the 2013 BCS national title game. With Alabama leading Notre Dame 14-0 halfway into the first quarter, the cameraman panned to Webb in the stands, and Musburger jumped on the opportunity to let the national audience know what he thought of Webb; “Man I tell ya. You quarterbacks, you get all the good looking women. What a beautiful woman! Whoa! Wow!”

After four seasons in Cincinnati, serving as Andy Dalton’s backup, McCarron signed a 2-year, $10 million deal with the Buffalo Bills. Going from Cincinnati to Buffalo isn’t an upgrade for a couple seeking better weather, but that pay bump sure is nice! McCarron “only” earned $2.4 million during his four seasons with the Bengals — which is a boatload of cash for the Average Joe — but chump change for an NFL quarterback.

Nick Foles


Do you believe in “love at first sight?” — because Nick Foles clearly does. When he transferred to the University of Arizona (from Michigan State University), he said that one of the first women he saw on campus was Tori Moore, and thought to himself “this might be the most gorgeous person I’ve ever seen.” They started dating after college, and Foles stuck by Moore’s side after she was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which led to an underlying diagnosis of Lyme Disease. The couple welcomed their first child together — Lily James Foles — only months before Foles’ fairy tale 2017 season.

Ryan Tannehill


In 2009, Texas A&M’s star wide receiver Ryan Tannehill (Yes, wide receiver. He became their QB his junior season) needed a break from football. During spring break, Ryan and his teammates decided to take a road trip to Panama City, Florida, for a week of partying.

It was on this trip that Ryan met a beautiful blonde named Lauren Ufer, whom he would eventually marry in January of 2012, three months before the Miami Dolphins selected him with the #8 pick in the NFL draft.

Mrs. Tannehill, an aspiring model, is no stranger to the spotlight. According to ESPN writer Darren Rovell, she was the topic of more than 900 Tweets in the first 5 minutes after appearing on TV with Ryan during the 2012 draft. After missing the entire 2017 season with an ACL injury he suffered in the preseason, Tannehill is looking for a strong bounce back season in 2018.

Russell Wilson


Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson began dating R&B singer Ciara Wilson in early 2015. Their relationship became a hot topic when word broke that the couple planned to abstain from pre-marital sex. Within a year of dating, they got married in the summer of 2016, and welcomed a baby girl into the world on April 28, 2017.

The timing of Sienna’s birth was quite fitting… April 28 was the second day of the 2017 NFL draft — and according to reports — she arrived during the third round of the draft. The third round has special significance for Wilson, who was drafted with the 75th overall pick in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft.

Andrew Luck


How about this resume: A four-year standout at Stanford University who made an impact the minute they arrived on campus, got better every season, and was eventually named team captain and MVP as a senior. Nope, we’re not talking about Andrew Luck; we’re talking about his girlfriend, Nicole Pechanec.

Prior to her years as star gymnast at Stanford, she competed as a member of the gymnastics team of the Czech Republic, between 2006 and 2010. Pechanec and Luck started dating while at Stanford, and have been together ever since.

Alex Smith


NFL teams do just about everything they can to prevent cheerleaders from getting romantically involved with their players. Which is why NFL players are forbidden from dating cheerleaders employed by their current team. Thankfully for Alex Smith and wife Elizabeth, there’s no rule saying players can’t date cheerleaders from other teams. The couple met when she was a cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders, and Alex was the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers.

From that point, things moved along quickly… they were engaged in 2007, married in 2009, and they’ve been together ever since. The two moved to Kansas City in 2012 when Smith was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, and they’ve now relocated to Washington D.C. after his trade to the Redskins. Upon his arrival in Washington, Smith signed a 4-year deal worth a whopping $94 million, with $71 million guaranteed.

Matt Stafford


Stafford met Kelly Hall while they were both at the University of Georgia. He was (obviously) the star quarterback of the football team, and she was a cheerleader. The couple were married in April of 2015, and welcomed twin girls (Chandler and Sawyer) in March of 2017.

Last year was incredible year for the Stafford family. In addition to the birth of their daughters, the Lions rewarded Matt with a 5-year extension worth $135 million. At the time, this was the richest contract in NFL history, until 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo signed a $137.5 million deal in February. Random fact about Kelly Stafford — her best friend is Sarah Marshall, the wife of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

Carson Wentz


Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and high school sweetheart Melissa Uhrich are living a football fairytale. The young couple became an item in high school, they stuck together during his 5 years at North Dakota State, and now Wentz is one of the NFL’s brightest young stars. With that said, this young couple does have one problem they’re trying to work overcome…

When he’s not on the field, Melissa has a strict “no phone” rule — especially if they’re out on a date. According to Melissa, she was forced to put this rule into place after she caught Wentz watching game film under the table on one of their first dates. Based on the red hot start to his NFL career, it’s clear that his obsessive preparation has paid off.

Julius Peppers


Claudia Sampedro (27) is a model of Colombian descent, and the current girlfriend of future Hall of Famer Julius Peppers. Sampedro previously worked for a plastic surgeon in Miami, along with various modeling positions. Nowadays, she runs her own health and fitness blog, which has helped her amass more than two million instagram followers.

But, Sampedro (28) is best known as a cast member on the reality television show “WAGS Miami.” Peppers, now 38-years old, is heading into his 17th NFL season. Very few (non quarterbacks) have ever maintained this type of success over nearly two decades in the NFL.

Ben Roethlisberger


Ben Roethlisberger clearly is into the “sporty” chicks. Ater previously being romantically linked to a professional golfer (Natalie Gulbis), the girl he ended up marrying — Ashley Harlan — also played basketball, softball, and volleyball in college (she stands 5’10 herself). After being introduced to each other by a mutual friend, the two of them got married in 2011; their wedding had upwards of 600 guests at the Church the ceremony was held. The couple has three children together: two sons (named Benjamin and Bodie) and a daughter (named Baylee).

Christian Ponder


Christian Ponder might have been a first round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, but you could absolutely say that his wife — Samantha Ponder (née Steele) — ended up being the most successful of the two, when it comes to the professional sports world. After working her way up the sports broadcasting ranks, Ponder is currently the host of Sunday NFL Countdown on ESPN.

Ironically, it’s the former high-profile quarterback who’s more of the stay-at-home-dad, helping raise the couple’s two children: their daughters named Scout and Bowden.

Derek Carr


It’s often said that it takes a woman to officially turn a boy into a man. That seems to have been the case with Heather Neel and Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. The two were previously friends before they became a couple, but things weren’t always smooth sailing. Disappointed by his immature behavior in college, Heather wrote a letter to Derek, telling him: “You’re not being the person I thought you were.”

From that point, Derek reportedly changed the way he lived his life, and married Neel five years later. They now have two boys together: Dallas and Decker. Heather and Derek are both very religious and are firm believers that their success is due to their faith. In 2017, Derek turned that success into a 5-year, $125 million contract extension. Hallelujah!

Eli Manning


Ironically, Tennessee-native Abby McGrew ended up marrying the only one of the Manning boys who didn’t go to school in her home state. In fairness, McGrew herself attended Ole Miss, where she first started dating the star quarterback of the Rebels: Eli Manning. After dating throughout the early part of Manning’s career, he and McGrew got married just months after Manning and his New York Giants pulled off the stunning upset over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

Charles Tillman

Chicago Splash

Charles “Peanut” Tillman was a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback for the Chicago Bears, but he’s not the only member of his family who can run. Wife Jackie Tillman ran track in high school, and has completed several half marathons of her own.

In fact, she’s been running as long as the two have been dating, as they couple first started dating as early as the 7th grade. She also might be the “safest” WAG on this list, as Charles Tillman completed his training to become an FBI agent in early 2018.

Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown

I've spent the past 5+ years as a freelance writer covering personal finance and tech. Originally from Texas, but happily living in New York City. Making money is the easy part, keeping it is very difficult!

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