Top 15 Athletes Who Got Married Young

If tomorrow you got drafted into the (insert NHL/NFL/MLB etc. here), signed your first pro contract, moved to a new city and were all of a sudden making money for playing the sport you love... What would be the first thing you'd do?

For a lot of young guys "get married" is not the first thing that comes to mind.

As the researchers at the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia put it, “Culturally, young adults have increasingly come to see marriage as a ‘capstone’ rather than a ‘cornerstone’ — that is, something they do after they have all their other ducks in a row, rather than a foundation for launching into adulthood and parenthood.”

It’s true; the average marrying age for both women and men has significantly increased over the past 50 years. Fewer young people are getting married and many are getting married later. In fact I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying “getting married before the age of 25 sounds a lot like leaving the party before 10 o’clock.”

So what age is the right age to get married? This question has been debated by many and resolved by none. Divorce statistics show that the higher a person's age at first marriage is, the less likely they are to get divorced. Many attribute this to the fact that young people are still trying to figure out who they are; your 20s are about “discovering yourself”. Others will argue that growing with someone creates a strong foundation for a lasting marriage.

While getting married young isn’t for everyone, there are some that see benefits of doing so, or who simply don’t see the point in waiting if they see a future with their current significant other. For professional athletes many of the obstacles that would prevent the average twenty-something from settling down do not exist. The three main reasons people give for their singleness are that they haven’t found the right person (30%), aren’t financially stable enough (27%) and are not ready to settle down (22%). Strained finances aren’t necessarily a problem with pro athletes.

What do you think? Is there a "right" time to get married? Sound off in the comments below.

Despite the statistics many young athletes choose to get married early on in their careers, whether it is a religious choice, for stability and security in their relationship with the one who has always been "there", or simply because they can. Here are 15 Athletes Who Got Married Young:

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15 Jarome Iginla

REUTERS/Steve Marcus

Now 38, Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla (talk about a name) has been dating his wife Kara since they were in 8th grade together. After dating for the better part of a decade, Jarome proposed to his long time girlfriend in 2001 and the two were married in 2003. The Colorado Avalanche right-winger and former captain of the Calgary Flames has three children with his wife.

14 Ryan Tannehill

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Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was drafted by the Miami Dolphins eighth overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. Tannehill tied the knot with now wife Lauren in Mexico in January 2012 when he was just 24 years old. Lauren Tannehill, an aspiring model, made headlines in 2014 when she returned a rental car and forgot a $2,000 AR-15 rifle in the back seat of the SUV. Lauren cites their shared faith in and dedication to the Lord as one of the cornerstones of her relationship with Ryan.

13 Tyler Zeller

via playerwags.com

25-year-old Tyler Zeller plays center/power forward for the Boston Celtics. Zeller was traded just four days before he married wife Caitlyn Ferebee in 2014. The two met while attending the University of North Carolina. While the couple hasn’t started a family just yet it is safe to assume any future Zeller children will grow up with NBA dreams. Zeller is the nephew of former NBA player Al Eberhard, and the brother of Charlotte Hornets player Cody Zeller and former Phoenix Suns player Luke Zeller.

12 Troy Tulowitzki

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Troy Trevor Tulowitzki aka "Tulo", is a shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays. In November 2009 Tulowitzki married his high school sweetheart, Danyll Gammon at the age of 24. Tulo told the Denver Post in 2010 that “[she] was there since the beginning. She was with me when I was a nobody”. The Tulowitzkis welcomed their first child, a son they named Taz, to the world in 2014.

11 Mariano Rivera

via nydailynews.com

Mariano Rivera, known by: The Great One, The Sandman, The Hammer of God, and Mo, first met his future wife Clara when he was in elementary school in Panama. Rivera is a former professional baseball pitcher who played 19 seasons for the New York Yankees, from 1995 to 2013. The couple married in 1991 when Marian was 22 years old and went on to have three children together.

Having Derek Jeter as a teammate and being the legend that he was, it's safe to say Mo would have done quite well for himself as a bachelor, but he happened to find true love at a young age.

10 Matt Barkley

via gamedayr.com

Matt Barkley was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The Arizona Cardinals quarterback is a devout Christian and married his high school sweetheart in 2013 when he was 23 years old. Barkley and wife Brittany Langdon have one child together. Barkley must be a disciplined young man, as he was a star quarterback on the USC campus.

9 Caron Butler

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After spending just over a year together, Caron Butler proposed to now wife Andrea Butler after his sophomore season for the Huskies. Caron and Andrea met at just 19 years old, the summer before their freshman year at the University of Connecticut and were married in 2005 in Las Vegas. Together they have three beautiful daughters. Butler, now 35, is with the Sacramento Kings.

8 Buster Posey

via heavyeditorial.com

Gerald Dempsey "Buster" Posey III is a catcher and first baseman for the San Francisco Giants. Posey married his high school sweetheart, Kristen, in January 2009 at the age of 22 in their Georgia hometown. The Poseys became first-time parents in 2011 when they welcomed twins - a boy named Lee Dempsey Posey and a girl named Addison Lynn Posey. Posey was able to follow up his marriage with three World Series titles in the next five years.

7 Clayton Kershaw

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27-year-old Clayton Kershaw is a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers and a good one at that. A Methodist with strong religious faith, Kershaw married his girlfriend of seven years in 2010 when he was just 22 years old. Kershaw and his wife Ellen welcomed their first child into the world in January 2015. Together the two launched "Kershaw’s Challenge" and wrote the book Arise to raise money to build an orphanage in Zambia.

6 Jarrod Saltalamacchia

via youtube.com

Saltalamacchia, originally from Florida, is a catcher for the Detroit Tigers. A devout Christian, Saltalamacchia married his wife Ashley after he graduated from high school. Ashley, who is 14 years older than Jarrod, was a gym teacher at Royal Palm Beach High while Jarrod was a student there, though she later confirmed that she never actually taught him. Either way, that's quite an interesting backstory for this marriage.

5 Philip Rivers

via fabwags.com

Philip Rivers married his junior high school sweetheart, Tiffany, in 2001 at the ripe old age of 20. At only 34-years-old the NFL quarterback and his wife now have a whopping eight children. Rivers is ranked third all-time in consecutive starts by a quarterback in NFL history. Super Bowl rings can't buy you happiness, so at least he has wedded bliss going for him.

4 Dwyane Wade

via naturallymoi.com

Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat has established himself as one of the most well-known and popular players in the NBA. Wade married his high school girlfriend Siohvaughn Funches in 2002 when he was 20 years old. The two split in 2007 after five years and two children and the divorce was settled in 2010.

Wade is now married to actress Gabrielle Union, the two have full custody of his sons with Fuches as well as Wade’s nephew and share custody of Wade’s youngest son Xavier with the boys mother.

3 Stephen Curry

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Point guard Wardell Stephen "Steph" Curry II of the Golden State Warriors is considered by some to be the greatest shooter in NBA history. He is the son of former NBA player Dell Curry, and the older brother of current NBA player Seth Curry. Stephen and wife Ayesha Alexander met at church when they were teenagers and were married in July of 2011 after three years together. Curry was 24 years old. The couple now has two beautiful daughters together. Their daughter Riley has become quite a star in Curry's postgame press conferences.

2 Kobe Bryant

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Lakers shooting guard and NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant met his now wife Vanessa Laine when he was just 21-year-old, Laine only 17. The two began dating and became engaged just six months later. To avoid media scrutiny, Laine finished high school through independent study and the two married in 2001. Bryant's parents were opposed to the marriage for a number of reasons, one problem being that the two were so young, and reportedly did not attend the wedding. After a very public separation Laine filed for divorce in 2011 however the couple reconciled in early 2013. Together they have two daughters.

1  1. Anthony Martial

via mirror.co.uk

Anthony Martial is a French professional footballer who plays for Manchester United and the France national team. In September 2015, Martial completed a move to Manchester United for £36 million, potentially rising to £58 million, on a four-year contract with the option of another year. This was the highest transfer fee paid for a teenager. The now 20-year-old striker married his childhood sweetheart Samantha when he was just 19-years-old. The couple has an infant daughter together.

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