Let’s be honest – when you read about a professional athlete’s romantic life, it’s usually because they’ve done something particularly scandalous. It’s easy to see why – athletes basically have their pick of any beautiful woman they want, and many athletes take full advantage of that fact as they view the woman they’re with as essentially arm candy. Married athletes are often under scrutiny just like their bachelor teammates, as all that time far from home at away games makes temptation hard to resist and they get caught cheating.
However, it’s not fair to paint every athlete with the same brush. Yes, there are many athletes who bounce from woman to woman. There are also a lot of athletes who are hopelessly in love with their spouse. Whenever they’re not with their teammates training, practicing or playing, they’re often found enjoying time at home with their wives.
There’s also something to be said for longevity in the world of athlete romances. In professional sports, one year together is almost like ten years for normal people. Therefore, couples who are together for five, ten, even fifteen years must be commended – it takes a strong and loving relationship to handle the impact that a professional athlete’s career and lifestyle can have.
Forget money, fancy houses, luxury sports cars, and all those things that come with a professional athlete’s paycheck. At the end of the day, as The Beatles say, love is all you need.
The athletes on this list have proven that love conquers all – or, at least, their love. These pro athlete spouses are absolutely, positively, crazy in love with their partners. They’re in it for the long haul, they’re totally dedicated, and you can practically see the cartoon hearts in their eyes when they look at their spouse.
15. Jarome Iginla
It can be hard to figure out whether a potential partner truly likes you, or just the fact that you’re a professional athlete, when you’ve attained a certain level of success. Hockey player Jarome Iginla doesn’t need to worry – he met his future wife Kara when they were in the eighth grade. That junior high spark blossomed over the years and he married her in 2003. It’s one of the most adorable stories ever.
14. Philip Rivers
Rivers is perhaps one of the NFL’s most known and devout Christians, so it’s no surprise that he would take something like a marriage vow very seriously. Rivers might not impress all the time on the field, but he’s definitely an impressive husband. He married his wife Tiffany, who he met in junior high, when he was only 20 years old. Too young? It’ll never last? Well, the Rivers clan is laughing at anyone who said that in their early days – more than ten years later they’re still going strong, deeply in love and surrounded by their brood of six children.
13. LeBron James
LeBron James is basically the current king of basketball – from his start as a mind-blowing rookie to his status today, he’s basketball’s golden boy. That kind of hero worship might cause some athletes to wander away from their girlfriend in search of greener pastures – not LeBron. He met Savannah Brinson when he was just plain old LeBron, a high school basketball player (albeit a particularly gifted one). Throughout the years, while his star status has kept rising, he’s kept Savannah on his arm and eventually married her in 2013. Their wedding guest list included names like Jay-Z, Beyonce and Carmelo Anthony, but at the end of the day, it’s still just LeBron and Savannah.
12. Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw is quickly approaching ten years together with his wife and high school sweetheart Ellen. His career has been on an upward trajectory for years as he racks up countless accolades from All-Star to the prestigious Cy Young award. Is the couple still happy after all these years? Just take a look at any picture of them together – they’re basically always in an embrace with a beam on their respective faces.
11. Mariano Rivera
Many athletes who are particularly devoted to their spouses met them back in college, or even high school. Mariano Rivera sees that, and raises the romantic bar a little higher. He met his current wife when they were – get this – in elementary school back in Panama. The duo married in 1991 and have three children together. 45 years old and still with the woman who made his heart skip a beat back in grade school? That’s lasting power.
For a while, you couldn’t say soccer without the name Ricardo Kaka coming up. Kaka was soccer’s next golden boy, the Latin Beckham, who absolutely dominated on the field despite his youth. While that kind of stardom might go to some players’ heads, Kaka has always stayed grounded. He remained devoted to his childhood sweetheart Caroline and saved himself for marriage. How did he propose to his then-girlfriend, now wife? In Venice, in a building with a view of the gorgeous European city. Well played, Kaka. In terms of romance, that’s a solid goal.
9. Scottie Pippen
Michael, Kobe – it seems like most of the big names in basketball a couple years back were constantly associated with failed marriages and infidelity. Amongst all those classic ball superstars, there’s Scottie Pippen. He’s been with wife Larsa for over 15 years, and has been a devoted husband for every single day of that time. It’s an accomplishment for any married couple to make it to a milestone like 15 years. In the NBA? It’s basically unheard of. Whatever Pippen is doing to keep his wife happy at home, he’s doing it right.
8. Vince Wilfork
Vince Wilfork is a big, burly man who regularly destroys opponents from his position of defensive tackle for the New England Patriots. He’s the kind of man you don’t really want to anger, and teammate Ted Johnson made the mistake of doing just that. Did he make a comment about Wilfork’s abilities on the field? No. He insulted Wilfork’s wife. Wilfork is utterly devoted to his wife Bianca, and in response to Ted’s comment that she was the ugliest wife amongst his teammates’ spouses, he saw red. To put it simply, as Wilfork said on his Twitter account – “I do not play when it comes to my family.” He finished it off with “she is my everything.” That’s a devoted husband.
7. Brittney Griner
WNBA star Brittney Griner doesn’t let something like team rivalries get in the way of true love. She made headlines with her proposal to fellow WNBA star Glory Johnson, and adorably documented the entire process on her social media account, from the proposal itself to giddy day-after bliss. Many have lauded her for breaking barriers with her forthright attitude about her same sex relationship, but let’s face it – it’s also just nice to see that kind of adorable love. First rivals, then an engagement? It’s practically out of Romeo and Juliet, only with a much happier ending.
6. Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning is arguably one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL. He’s gotten a lot of attention for his time on the field, but there’s one thing notably absent in the media when it comes to Manning – mention of his private life. That’s because Peyton’s pretty low key in his down time – he’s completely smitten with his wife Ashley, who he met just before college, and they have a tight family unit with their two children. She’ll have been by his side from his first college game to his eventual last game once he decides to retire. The couple have twins, Marshall and Mosley Manning. They’re basically the picture of the perfect all-American family.
5. Deron Williams
Basketball player Deron Williams met Miss Amy Young when he was a second grader, and she made quite the impact – he couldn’t seem to get her off his mind, and the two began dating in high school. She stuck by his side when he bounced across the country to play college basketball, and they eventually ended up marrying and having two daughters. Deron doesn’t hide his devotion to his wife – he wears it, literally, on his sleeve. He has a tattoo with his wife’s name on his wrist, later accompanied by the names of his daughters Denae and Daija, and has publicly admitted that they’re his favorite tattoos.
4. Amar’e Stoudemire
Amar’e Stoudemire and his wife Alexas have been together for over ten years and have four children together, so it’s safe to say he’s in it for the long haul. In case you were wondering, just take a look about what he decided to do for their wedding. Since he was making a comfortable living in the NBA, he told Alexis that one wedding just wasn’t enough – she deserved two. They had a small, intimate wedding in December of 2012 in their home, and then a second celebration with a star-studded guest list in Miami.
3. Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry and wife Ayesha met at church when they were young, and were even teased by their families about how cute they were together. Well, fate has a funny way of working things out – they eventually ended up married in a ceremony in Charlotte. Was Curry stoic on his wedding day? Absolutely not. He confesses that, the minute those church doors opened and Ayesha appeared in her white dress, he started tearing up. That’s love.
2. David Beckham
David and Victoria Beckham. Posh and Becks. The Beckhams. Whatever you want to call it, they’re basically a miracle when it comes to athlete couples. They’ve stuck together through many years, many haircuts, and many adorable children. They’ve travelled from the U.K. to the U.S., from super stardom to retirement. Throughout their marriage, they’ve constantly been in the tabloids due to their joint celebrity status. Through it all, one thing has remained consistent – they’re still pretty crazy in love with one another.
1. Justin Forsett
Many NFL husbands likely order up some pricy flowers and chocolates when it comes time to surprising their wives for their anniversary – perhaps taking them out on a romantic date, if they’re really trying hard. And then there’s Justin Forsett, making every single guy look bad. For his one year anniversary with wife Angela, he put together a video chronicling their relationship, complete with music that he sung. Literally a serenade. Then, for his fourth year anniversary, he basically shouted his love from the rooftops. Forsett is a contributer to sports website Sporting News, but rather than analyzing a particular game or player, he wrote an article basically saying how incredible his wife is, how he won’t let his profession influence the vows he made on their wedding day, and how he’s her teammate for life. I mean. There’s romantic, and then there’s Forsett.
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