In some ways, professional athletes and celebrities have very similar careers. First of all, they’re both required to be at the top of their game and in amazing shape at all times. Second, they’re always travelling – athletes are constantly crossing the continent for away games and tournaments, while celebrities are either performing on tour or shooting films in various locations. Finally, both are in careers where they get a lot of attention from the paparazzi, and know exactly what it feels like to see themselves plastered across the front pages of tabloids, for whatever reason.
So, it makes sense that a lot of pro athletes end up dating celebrities. It’s likely very helpful when their partner knows what it’s like to be under constant public scrutiny. However, the difficulty of arranging two constantly touring schedules means that countless pro athlete/celebrity couples end up throwing in the towel, usually after only a few months. There are, however, the exceptions – couples that have been together for five, ten, even twenty five years. Against the odds, they make it work, and they root on their spouse at away games and award shows across the globe. These long-lasting couples are as different from one another as night and day – some celebrity wives keep their successful careers, others become stay at home moms. The common factor is that they make it work.
On a more superficial level, some of the most well known pro athlete/celebrity couples look… well, a little mismatched. Whether it’s a banged up hockey player dating a former model with an incredible body to an A-list actress tagging along to her hubby’s tournaments, these couples show how strange (and endearing) it can be when the worlds of the silver screen and the sports desk clash.
Here are 15 of the weirdest athlete-celebrity couples that have beat the odds.
15 Jeff Garcia and Carmella DeCesare
Garcia had a fairly long career in both the NFL and the CFL, and has managed to stay in the sports world after retiring from his quarterback position as an offensive assistant for the St. Louis Rams. However, let’s focus on something besides his career – his drop dead gorgeous wife. The couple have been together since 2007 and have two children together. DeCesare has frequently been featured in Playboy and participated in the 2004 WWE Diva Search (coming in second). She spends most of her time as the vice president for her husband’s charity, Garcia’s Pass It On Foundation, but she likely also spends a lot of time in the gym to maintain her physique.
14 Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari
Whether you love him or hate him, pretty much everyone knows who Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is. You may or may not know his wife, depending in whether you’re a fan of reality television shows like Laguna Beach and The Hills. Let’s face it, though – if you’re consistently on the cover of gossip magazines, you’re probably famous enough to be considered a celebrity. Cavallari has branched out since her reality television days, collaborating with designers and making promo appearances, but has mostly been at home with the couple’s two children – in fact, they recently announced that they have a third baby on the way. Cavallari will probably bounce back at an incredible rate, as she did with her previous children, and maintain her blonde locks and toned physique. While her hubby is probably in good shape, he definitely outkicked his coverage here.
13 Ryan Sweeting and Kaley Cuoco
Everyone knows Kaley Cuoco, thanks to her steady gig as the bubbly Penny on sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Her husband is a professional athlete, although you might not know him unless you’re a big tennis fan. While he manages to support himself as a pro athlete, he hasn’t quite reached the star power of some of tennis’ greats like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. In fact, Cuoco actually posted a video on her social media accounts where she served up a win against her hubby – on the tennis court. When she was a teenager, before she stepped into the Hollywood limelight, she actually played tennis at a competitive level. Due to the incredibly short courtship period these two had (they married three months after meeting), many are often speculating about their divorce, but Cuoco recently squashed those rumors.
12 Ryan Miller and Noureen DeWulf
Ryan Miller is the goalie for the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, and despite being fairly average looking, managed to snag himself an actress for a wife. Noureen DeWulf may not quite have attained A-List level fame, but she’s gotten a fair amount of roles in Hollywood, including on Charlie Sheen’s latest sitcom Anger Management. Ever proud of her husband, she’s even been participating lately in a new reality show, Hockey Wives. The couple recently had their first baby together, Bodhi. They manage to successfully split their time with Ryan travelling for away games with the team and Noureen jetting off to Hollywood for filming. That’s going to be one well-travelled baby!
11 Justin Verlander and Kate Upton
If you’re Kate Upton, let’s face it – you can basically have your pick of any man you want, celebrity, professional athlete, or average joe. Puzzlingly, she picked Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander. It’s one thing if she was dating one of pro sports’ biggest names, but Verlander is relatively unknown outside the world of MLB, and even within it, his fans are getting a bit frustrated with his abysmal record. He’s likely treating her very, very well, because he knows she can probably do far better. He frequently takes snaps of the two of them during their time together, posting it to his social media accounts, and let’s be serious – wouldn’t you?
10 Nick Young and Iggy Azalea
Iggy Azalea is one of the biggest names in the rap world right now, and has her fair share of both superfans and haters. However, whether you love her or hate her, she’s been tearing up the charts with her catchy songs and verses in pop hits. She had been dating Los Angeles Lakers player Nick Young for about two years before the two recently got engaged on June 1st of this year, Young’s momentous 30th birthday. She’s attained a level of fame that most NBA WAGs only dream of, but still comes out to root her man on when he’s on the court.
9 Eric Decker and Jessie James
Eric Decker, a wide receiver for the New York Jets, is definitely a solid 7 in the looks department, but one thing is for sure – when he stands next to his wife, country singer Jessie James, he absolutely dwarfs her. It’s a pretty frequent occurrence in celebrity-athlete pairings: athletes are generally pretty tall and muscular, while many female celebrities are incredibly petite and slim. Regardless of their size difference, this country cutie is constantly donning her husband’s jersey and rooting him on from the sidelines. The couple have one child together and are expecting another this year.
8 Aaron Rodgers and Olivia Munn
Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. However, while many of the great quarterbacks such as Drew Brees and Peyton Manning have had their wives by their sides for years and years of their career, Rodgers has frequently flown solo over the years. Well, his luck appears to be changing, as he’s been frequently seen with his girlfriend, actress Olivia Munn. With her exotic looks and incredible sense of humor, Munn is definitely a touchdown for this football star. He even accompanied her to the prestigious Met Gala. If they end up staying together, do you think she’ll end up rocking the Munn-Rodgers hyphenation, or sticking strong to her maiden name due to her star power?
7 Wladimir Klitschko and Hayden Panettiere
Boxer Wladimir Klitschko and actress/singer Hayden Panettiere have both achieved huge levels of fame in their respective careers. They’ve had a complicated relationship, as they dated for several years, then took a break, then got back together. They got engaged in 2013 and had a daughter together, Kaya Evdokia, in 2014. The couple appear to be very in love now, but there’s one thing that needs to be said – when they show up on the red carpet, they make a very, very bizarre pairing. At 6’6, Klitschko is significantly taller than most men and extremely muscular, a gentle giant. Panettiere is even more petite than most Hollywood celebs, clocking in at just over 5 feet tall. She’s even joked that together, they might produce children of an average height.
6 Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky
Golf is generally a fairly restrained sport, with many pro golfers being men well into their 40s or 50s. It’s not typically a sport populated by raging party animals, as many professional sports where the median age is about 20. Enter Dustin Johnson. Johnson has been outspoken about his partying and drug problems, but despite not being the most attractive guy in the world, and apparently not having it all together, he managed to nab The Great Offspring – Paulina Gretzky herself. In case you didn’t know, Paulina Gretzky is the daughter of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and model Janet Jones. She gets most of her looks from her mother’s side, and has basically made a name for herself by posting bikini selfies. She has dabbled in pop music, but is mainly known for being Wayne Gretzky’s hot daughter.
5 Wayne Gretzky and Janet Jones
Wayne Gretzky and Janet Jones are basically pro sports’ power couple. They’ve been together for decades, have raised five children together, and still show up together to countless red carpet events, looking as in love as they were in the 1980s. Case in point, the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Wayne cleaned up in a nice suit and Janet proved that she only gets better with age, absolutely rocking a daring black dress. These two seemed like a couple that wouldn’t last, one of literally hundreds of pro athlete-model/actress pairings. However, they’ve beat the odds, spending over half a century in each other’s company and appearing to love every minute of it.
4 Nick Swisher and JoAnna Garcia Swisher
For some reason, regardless of the fact that many of them are average looking at best with a bit of a paunch, MLB players tend to get smoking hot wives and girlfriends, even moreso than other pro athletes. Nick Swisher is no different. He bounced around from team to team before landing with the Cleveland Indians, and in 2010 married his wife, actress JoAnna Garcia. Garcia has had a long career in Hollywood starting with small guest roles in teen sitcoms, snagging the lead in short-lived television series Privileged, and many more. Garcia Swisher and her baseball playing hubby have a daughter together.
3 Dion Phaneuf and Elisha Cuthbert
There’s only one way to explain the pairing that is Dion Phaneuf and Elisha Cuthbert – Canadian women really love hockey players. While he plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs now, Phaneuf spent the majority of his career with the Calgary Flames – the hometown team of Hollywood hottie Elisha Cuthbert. Due to their star power, Phaneuf and Cuthbert have been in the public eye a fair bit, most recently with the TSN scandal. TSN shared a ‘humorous’ tweet that implied Cuthbert was cheating with Phaneuf’s teammate, and Cuthbert immediately got her legal team in action and slammed them for their offensive and defamatory statements. Despite having been together for quite a few years, Phaneuf and Cuthbert are happy and devoted to one another.
2 Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker
Andy Roddick is a tennis player who has dated his fair share of celebrities, due to his pro athlete status and clean cut good looks. However, no one would have expected him to snag blonde bombshell Brooklyn Decker, who set Hollywood ablaze with a single bikini scene in Adam Sandler’s Just Go With It. She’s since had several roles, both in movies and on television, and her career continues strong. She recently announced that she was expecting her first baby with husband Andy Roddick. That’s going to be one blonde, gorgeous, tennis superstar – watch out Eugenie!
1 Mike Fisher and Carrie Underwood
NHL player Mike Fisher is cute, but let’s be honest – his wife, country superstar Carrie Underwood, is an absolute knock out. The two began dating in 2008, doing the long distance thing as both travelled across the country for their respective careers. They got married in 2010 and recently welcomed son Isaiah into the world. They’re always incredibly supportive of one another’s careers – Carrie shows up to Mike’s games, and he shows up to the countless awards shows where she’s either presenting or receiving an award herself. They’re fairly low key, trying to never attract too much attention and paparazzi, and will likely be together for a long time.