Female athletes definitely have a harder time on and off their respective sporting field than most. They have to work harder to prove they are just as good as their male counterparts and they have to face a lot of adversity when it comes to getting sponsorships and the right facilities to train. The following women on the list have been some of the best athletes in their respective sports and have ran up accolades, titles and Olympic medals like few others.
They have earned power, fame and a lot of respect for themselves and also help to positively show how sport can change a woman’s life for the better. They have also weathered a lot of storms while they were excelling in their sports. Whether it was a tumultuous childhood, difficult families or even blatant body shaming. Despite hardships, all these female athletes have succeeded exceptionally and beyond that many of them have settled down. Marriage and motherhood hasn’t slowed down the female athletes either and many of them returned to their sport fitter, more passionate and ready to bring home more titles and trophies.
No matter if some of the female athletes below have officially retired from the sport, many of them continue to either be commentators during the Olympics or even coach children or set up educational camps to use sports to empower children. One way another, once an athlete, always an athlete.
16 Had A Baby: Anna Kournikova (Enrique Iglesias)
The retired tennis-star is known to be notoriously private about her personal life to the point that no-one ever even knew if she was with famous singer Enrique Iglesias. The couple met on the set of his music video for Escape which was a chart-topper when it came out but I have a feeling that his relationship with the athlete was the real prize. Anna and Enrique have been together for the past 16 years since they met back in 2001 which was around the time she was paired with Martina Hingis when they won the Australian Open doubles championships. However, Anna would play her last official WTA match in 2003 even though she was still playing the occasional exhibition match and was an active member of the World Team Tennis group.
Whatever Anna was lacking on the court, she made up for it through her burgeoning modelling career around the time she was with Enrique.
This included acting in films and making sporadic appearances on television. It was only in the past few years through Instagram do us mere mortals have an idea what Anna has been up to including her marriage to Enrique (they haven’t confirmed it though) and the fact that she was spotted cradling her baby bump on a #throwbackthursday post. In December of 2017, Anna and Enrique welcomed twins - Nicholas and Lucy.
15 Got Married: Ana Ivanovic (Bastian Schweinsteiger)
Ana Ivanovic is a former world No.1 in Tennis from Serbia who has won notable titles like the 2008 French Open, 2010 & 2011 WTA Tournament of Champions as well as being runner-up a the 2007 French Open, 2008 Australian Open. Ana has been quoted multiple times saying that her tennis inspiration was always Monica Seles and the reason she picked up a racquet at such a young age. She officially retired from tennis in 2016 after struggling with multiple injuries. Ana began dating the former Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger in 2014 and they promptly tied the knot 2 years later in Venice City Hall.
Bastian has won close to 8 German league titles, the Champions League and the 2014 World Cup. The wedding was quite a secretive affair and many of their friends and family didn’t even know the true location of the venue - they were just told to turn up at Munich airport! Ana and Bastian moved to Chicago after he was signed by the local MLS club, Chicago Fire. In March of 2018, the couple welcomed their first child, a boy named Luka who was born in a local Chicago hospital. The world came to know of the news through Ana’s Twitter where she shared the news with an image of a blue room, stuffed boys in a shade of blue and a sign which said “Welcome Baby Boy!”
14 Got Married: Elena Delle Donne (Amanda Clifton)
In her hometown of Delaware, Elena Delle Donne is a 6 foot 5 hero and of course she would be! The American professional basketball player is currently playing for the Washington Mystics of the WNBA. Elena wasn’t always into playing basketball - she even walked away from a full scholarship at the University of Connecticut. Eventually Elena enrolled at the University of Delaware where she majored in special education leading her to create the Delle Donne Academy which is basketball camp. In 2012, Elena led her college team to the NCAA tournament before being picked as second overall in the WNBA draft the next year and winning the MVP award in 2015.
Elena won a gold medal playing for Team USA at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Elena has signed with major brands and she is supportive of everything she endorses. In 2013, she signed with Nike and DuPont and a science company in Delaware. Elena also signed to be represented by a management company called Octagon. Elena met the love of her life, Amanda Clifton through her then-personal assistant. Four years after their first date, Elena announced her engagement in the August issue of Vogue in 2016. The couple tied the knot at the Hempstead House on Long Island in New York in 2017.
13 Had A Baby: Serena Williams (Alexis Ohanian)
She is the greatest athlete of our time and he is the founder of Reddit and frankly Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian were made for each other. Although the craziest part is she had never heard of Reddit and he had never watched her play a single game of tennis! The two met over breakfast at the Cavalieri Hotel where Serena was staying because of the Italian Open and Alexis was staying because he was speaking at a tech conference. They both missed the buffet breakfast and Alexis sat at a table next to Serena and that's how they got talking and history is history. 18 months later on December 26, 2016 Alexis proposed to Serena by taking her to the same hotel in Rome where he they had their first meeting but specifically to the table where they had first chatter which was setup with flowers everywhere.
In September of 2017, Serena gave birth to their first daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. and the two-month old was present at their wedding.
Serena wed Alexis at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans in November of 2017 which was styled to be on the theme of Beauty and the Beast complete with an gold archway of flowers and long tables. Naturally Serena and Alexis’s first dance as husband and wife was to Tale As Old As Time which was in front of 200 friends and family including celebrities like Beyonce, Anna Wintour and Kim Kardashian West.
12 Got Married: Caroline Wozniacki (David Lee)
Caroline Wozniacki is the current Danish tennis superstar who is ranked World No.1 and she was won close to 28 WTA singles titles which is the most for any other WTA player from 2008-2011. Caroline is one half of celebrity sports couple along with her husband ex-NBA player David Lee. David has been spotted multiple times watching Caroline from the stands especially when she won her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in 2018. The basketball player proposed to Caroline on Valetine’s Day in 2017 in Bora Bora with an oval-shaped sparkler from Hamra Diamonds when he was just weeks away from retiring and hanging up his jersey after 12 years.
If you’re wondering why David’s name sounds familiar it's because he was the picked up by the New York Knicks in the 2005 draft, spending five years with the team before being traded to the Golden State Warriors where he won the All-Star two times and even the NBA championship in 2015. This is Caroline’s first marriage after she was previously engaged to golfer Rory McIlroy in 2014 who apparently dumped her over the phone right before the wedding invitations were going to be mailed out.
11 Got Married: Seimone Augustus (LaTaya Varner)
Seimone is one the best athletes in basketball - she currently plays for the Minnesota Lynx, the Dynamo Kursk in Moscow and also the Team USA basketball team. As only a freshman in high-school, Sports Illustrated for Women featured her on the cover with the headline “Is She the Next Michael Jordan?” Seimone went onto the play for the Louisiana State University basketball team where she was drafted at the Number 1 WNBA draft pick. She is a seven-time all-star and has won multiple MVP honours including four of them with the Lynx. Seimone even won gold with the Team USA women’s basketball team in 2008 and 2012.
Seimone is a self-described homebody, however she decided to go bar-hopping one night in downtown Minneapolis and she met LaTaya Varner, an actress.
Their first date was at the local Six Flags theme park and they were engaged in 2010 where Seimone popped the question to LaTaya in Miami Beach. Seimone and LaTaya tied the knot in a coast theme in Hawaii where they married on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The wedding was a traditional Hawaiian ceremony which was a nod to LaTay’s roots - her mother is Native American and Hawaiian. The wedding was attended by just 15 guests in total at the Montage Kapalua Bay resort in Maui.
10 Had A Baby: Jennie Finch (Casey Daigle)
Jennie Finch is one of the most respectable and All-American all-star athletes in softball. Time magazine called her the most famous softball player in history. She used to pitch for the Arizona Wildcats and Chicago Bandits. Jennie won the 2001 Women’s College World Series and helped Team USA win a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics and then a silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Jennie met her future husband, pitcher Casey Daigle who played for the Class AA Tennessee Smokers in 2002 and the day after he sent her four dozen roses. In 2005, Jennie Casey after he proposed to her on the softball field of her alma mater, University of Arizona.
Jennie and Casey had their first son, Ace Shane in May of 2006. In 2010, Jennie officially retired from softball to focus on her family. Jennie welcomed her second son Diesel Dean in June of 2011 which she chronicled in her mommyhood blog. Shortly after the birth of her son, Jennie started working at ESPN as a commentator for National Pro Fastpitch and many college softball games. The couple welcomed their third child, a daughter named Paisley Faye in January of 2013. In April of 2018, Jennie was announced as one of the new celebrities on the 26th season of Dancing With The Stars.
9 Got Married: Tara Lipinski (Todd Kapostas)
Tara Lipinski at just 15 became the youngest Olympic champion to win gold at the Individual Ladies Singles category at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Tara also became the youngest World Champion in 1997. In 2014, Tara got a gig as a NBC sports commentator alongside skater Johnny Weir and they spearheaded the 2018 Winter Olympics which was in South Korea. Tara met the love of her life, sports tv producer Todd Kapostas in 2015. Tara and Todd tied the knot on the lush grounds of the Middleton Place in Charleston, South Carolina in June of 2017. The bride walked down a 200-foot aisle where they exchanged vows underneath a 12-foot tall canopy of 12,000 roses and hydrangeas.
The wedding was attended by 245 people including 1984 Olympic gold medal figure skater Scott Hamilton, sportscaster Dan Patrick and Lipinski’s BFF and “bridesman” who himself is a two-time Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir. Tara surprised Johnny with a glittering boutonniere to match Swarovski-studded Hermes shoes. She wore a dress by Reem Acra which incorporated a 20-foot train by Laura Basco. Tara is credited for basically designed everything for her perfect Southern wedding and it was a dream for everyone who attended.
8 Got Married: Brianne Theisen-Eaton (Ashton Eaton)
If there was ever a notable Olympic power couple - it would have to be Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen-Eaton. Brianne is a retired Canadian track and field athlete who won Bronze at the 2016 Summer Olympics and Aston is a two-timed Olympic decathlon champion - winning gold at the London games and again at the Rio Olympics. The couple met at the University of Oregon in 2008 where they were competing at the decathlon and heptathlon at the Brazil and Berlin World Championships. It actually took Ashton 5 months to ask our Brianne after first talking to her in 2007 at the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships in Sao Paulo.
On Valentine’s Day 2008, Brianna picked him up in her car and he presented her with roses and a CD mixtape as they headed to Olive Garden on their first date. The couple were married in July of 2013 at Eugene, Oregon and their coach Harry Marra officiated the ceremony. The couple handed out Hydro Flasks as parting wedding favours. Ashton popped the question at their home because Brianne doesn’t like extravagant public displays of affection. Brianne and Ashton have lived together, eaten together and even trained with the same coach together. However, in January, 2017, Brianne and Ashton jointly announced their retirement from track and field. In case you want to follow them on their current adventures - you can follow them on their Instagram @WeAreEaton which is a health and wellness consultancy.
7 Got Married: Morgan Beck (Samuel Miller)
Morgan Beck is a professional beach volleyball player who also models on the side. She plays for the AVP Pro, USA Volleyball and AVP Young Guns. She was named one of Complex’s Hottest Athletes in the 2012 US Olympic Team. Additional Morgan was featured in the Nike Boom campaign in 2010. Morgan is married to Samuel Miller, a two-time World Cup alpine ski racer who won the gold at the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. In total Samuel competed in the Winter Games 5 times over the years from 1998-2014. Morgan met Samuel for the first time when she was only a teenage attending the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
When Morgan and Samuel met again in 2012, it only took five months for them to be married in a private ceremony which was held on his houseboat in October of that year.
The only people who were in attendance at their wedding was the officiant, a photographer and their cat. In 2015, the couple welcomed their first child Nash Skan followed by a daughter Emeline Grier in 2016. Besides his two children with Morgan, Samuel has a 4-year-old son Samuel and a 8-year-old daughter Neesyn from previous relationships.
6 Got Married: Shawn Johnson (Andrew East)
Shawn Johnson was 16 when she won Gold at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Due to multiple injuries which she sustained during her trainings and also a torn ACL when she was skiing, she was unable to compete in the 2012 Olympics. Shawn began dating the NFL player Andrew East who is currently a free agent although he did play for the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Rams. The couple met through Andrew’s brother who is also an athlete but it was officially when Andrew gave Shawn a tour of the Vanderbilt campus in 2013. Andrew proposed to Shawn at a Cubs game in Chicago in 2015 - Shawn has no idea as she left the mound after throwing the first pitch.
The theme of Shawn and Andrew’s 2016 wedding was rustic elegance which was all planned by celebrity wedding planner Sara Fried of Fete Nashville. The wedding featured nine bridesmaids in total and the officiant was a family friend. The wedding took place as an outdoor ceremony on a private barn in Franklin, Tennessee - just around the corner of where the couple reside in Nashville. One of the special customized aspects of the wedding was the love seat which the couple sat on at the head table - it said Bro and Bug, their names for each other. The couple left the wedding in a 1960s Rolls Royce.
5 Got Married: Misty Copeland (Olu Evans)
Misty Copeland grew up in Kansas City, Missouri but moved to California where she eventually studied under ballet teacher Cindy Bradley. In 2000, Misty joined the American Ballet Theatre where she became a soloist and starred in The Nutcracker and Firebird. In June of 2015, Misty became the first African-American principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre - that same year she was named Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. Misty truly made history at the American Ballet Theatre because no other African American had ever been a principal dancer in the 75 year long history of the institution.
In August 2015, Misty and Olu were engaged after he popped the question with a big sparkly cushion-cut ring which featured a diamond halo and Misty spilled details about the dress and wedding plans to Vanity Fair magazine. Misty and Olu had actually met way back in 2004 through Olu’s cousin, the actor Taye Diggs at a club one night. Misty married her longtime boyfriend in July of 2016.. They tied the knot in front of 100 friends and family at the Montage Hotel in Laguna Beach, California. Misty wore an Inbal Dror gown and Christian Louboutin shoes which matched her dress. The couple exchanged vows overlooking the ocean and were surrounded by pink hydrangeas and white roses.
4 Got Married: Lauren Holiday (Jrue Holiday)
She is a two-time Olympic gold medal winner and 2015 Women’s World Cup champion who played as a midfielder and forward for the Team USA women’s national soccer team from 2007-2015 and he is NBA All-star who plays for the New Orleans Pelicans after coming off one season with the UCLA Bruins and Philadelphia 76ers. Together they are Lauren and Jrue Holiday who are one of the most famous celebrity couples in sports. Unfortunately, things have been challenging for the welcome just as Lauren gave birth to their first baby, a daughter named Jrue after her daddy, she had to undergo brain surgery to remove a tumour weeks after giving birth.
Jrue was right by her side through her surgery even missing the start of his season as the point guard for the New Orleans Pelicans. The couple met when they were both students and playing their respective sports at UCLA which led to their friendship turning into something more from 2008. The couple officially tied the knot in July of 2013 which incidentally was at the same time Jrue was traded to the Pelicans from the 76ers. The guests at the wedding included teammates from Jrue’s Philadelphia team and Lauren’s US Women’s National Team.
3 Got Married: Alicia Sacramone (Brady Quinn)
Alicia Sacramone is an Olympic artistic gymnast who made her country proud at the 2008 Summer Olympics by winning the silver and is also considered the second most decorated American gymnast in history with ten medals at the World Championships. She became one of the first female athletes to be signed by Covergirl cosmetics as their leading spokesmodels and she is even a member of the Team 24 Fitness brand. Alicia ws part of the very controversial ESPN 2011 Body Issue which featured various top-ranking athletes in various states of undress.
In 2015, Alicia was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame and she is also a part of the Louisiana Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. In 2014 Alicia married quarterback Brady Quinn who played for the Browns, Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, Chiefs, New York Jets and Rams since he graduated from Notre Dame university. The ceremony took place at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida. The couple who had been dating since 2007 were officially engaged in 2013 so it was a long time coming! In August of 2016, the couple welcomed their first child, a daughter named Sloan Scott which they announced formally on Instagram.
2 Got Married: Ronda Rousey (Travis Browne)
Ronda Rousey and Travis Browne are two fellow mixed martial arts UFC fighters who found love outside of the ring. Ronda had a tough childhood growing up and he because a judo champion at an early age earning gold medals at the Pan American Championships and even a 2008 bronze medal at the Olympics. She joined the mixed martial arts world in 2010 and quickly earned the title of UFC Bantamweight Champion but ultimately she suffered her first huge loss in November of 2015. Ronda and Travis were dating for two years and then finally became engaged in April of 2016 where Travis took her to New Zealand and proposed under a waterfall.
In case anyone was wondering where Ronda and Travis were at the Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather fight...well they were actually getting married in his home-state of Hawaii. The ceremony was described by Ronda as a backyard Mexican Corona party with a mix of laid back tropical beach vibes and a lot of fun. Ronda wore a hand-beaded mermaid style gown from Tel Aviv designer Gala Lahav’s Le Secret Royal bridal collection. In January of 2018, Ronda announced that she was moved to the WWE pro wrestling world with kicked off with a surprise appearance at the WWE women’s Royal Rumble.
1 Got Married: Sydney Leroux (Dom Dwyer)
They are one of the most powerhouse soccer couples in American - she is the Canadian soccer striker who played soccer UCLA and ultimately helped Team USA win the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics and the 2015 World Cup and he’s the British bad boy who emerged as one of the best players MLS had scouted - he made 22 goals in 2014 which is a record. Sydney began dating Sporting Kansas City star Dom Dwyer in 2013 and they kept their relationship very very private.
In February 2015, Sydney and Dom were married after choosing the date from the number they sport on their respective jerseys - she wears No. 2 for the Seattle Reign FC and he wears No.14 for the Sporting Kansas City. After marriage, Sydney moved to Kansas City as Dom continued playing for the team there. In September 2016, Sydney and Dom welcomed their first child together, a boy named Cassius Cruz. Sydney had taken significant time off from her training with the Team USA women’s soccer team and the FC Kansas City team in the National Women’s Soccer League. Sydney returned to the pitch at FC Kansas City and played closed to 6 continuous matches with her baby and nanny in tow at every game.