So, NFL players have it pretty good, right? I mean, let’s look at the facts: they’re young, athletically gifted, make literal bucket-loads of cash, have thousands and thousands of adoring fans, perform on national television on a weekly basis and are basically treated like kings everywhere they go. Some quick grammar-school arithmetic will tell us that, yes, that adds up to a pretty solid life situation.
So, how, you might ask, could it even be within the realm of possibility for these professional gridiron stars to marry up? Two words: celebrity wife.
No, not trophy wife; celebrity wife. There’s a difference; trust me. You might not have realized it before – or maybe you just never put two and two together – but the ball players on this list tied the knot with some incredibly beautiful women whose own individual career paths have brought them just as much pop-culture fame as their celebrity football-playing beaus – and a few of them even more.
Actresses, models, singers – you name it. They’re all on this list. They might not talk about it all the time (or more likely, you’re not super into the celebrity gossip shows that spill all the juicy details on these superstars’ personal lives), so you wouldn’t have ever known, but here are 15 NFL stars you didn’t know had famous WAGs.
15 ERIC DECKER: MARRIED TO JESSIE JAMES
Let’s kick this thing off with seven-year veteran NFL wide receiver Erick Decker, who is currently under contract with the New York Jets. This lucky guy somehow managed to lock down the blazingly hot Italian-born country and pop singer and songwriter, Jessie James.
James, after initially failing to secure a recording contract in her early years, eventually signed with Mercury Records and released her debut, self-titled album in 2009. The now-29-year-old has gone on to record a number of singles and extended plays and most recently released Gold, an EP that hit stores earlier this year.
The couple actually recorded a duet version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” together in 2015, but it never sold very well, and Decker obviously didn’t quit football for show business.
14 TIM COUCH: MARRIED TO HEATHER KOZAR
Tim Couch was the first overall pick out of the University of Kentucky in the 1999 draft when the Cleveland Browns returned to the league and selected the young quarterback in hopes of returning to championship-caliber glory. He wasn’t bad, but the team was, and Couch’s playing career was over in 2003 after parts of just five seasons.
But don’t feel bad for Couch. After his playing days had ended, he married former Playboy model Heather Kozar, who was the Playmate of the Month in January 1998, appeared on the cover of the magazine in 1999 and was voted Playmate of the Year later that same year. If you were a beer drinker back in the early 2000s, you probably also know Kozar as the St. Pauli Girl on the St. Pauli beer bottle labels in 2002.
13 WES WELKER: MARRIED TO ANNA BURNS
Since we’re on the gorgeous model subject, let’s keep it rolling with five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Wes Welker and his total heartthrob of a wife, Anna Burns.
Burns is a stunning dark-haired bikini model best known for her work with Hooters. She was named Miss Hooters International in 2005 and was featured on the cover of the 2006 Hooters Calendar that we all probably still have hanging up in the garage somewhere.
Welker and Burns were first linked way back in 2010. They got married in Aspen, Colorado in 2012, just before Welker started catching passes from Peyton Manning as a Denver Bronco. Burns made headlines in 2013 for a Facebook rant against Ray Lewis following a Patriots playoff loss to Lewis’ Ravens, but otherwise, we never heard much about this couple during Welker’s playing days.
12 JAY CUTLER: MARRIED TO KRISTIN CAVALLARI
You probably know (or at least know of) television personality, actress and fashion designer Kristin Cavallari from her days in a love triangle with castmate Lauren Conrad on the high school reality show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, as well as her role on the show’s spinoff, The Hills. But you might not have realized that she was married to former Chicago Bears quarterback and current free agent Jay Cutler.
The celebrity power couple started dating in 2010 and got engaged in April of the following year. They called off the wedding that July but reconciled in November and eventually wed in Nashville in June of 2013. Now with three kids – two sons and a daughter – the Cutler family is moving back to Nashville while Jay hunts down his next career move.
11 NNAMDI ASOMUGHA: MARRIED TO KERRY WASHINGTON
Speaking of power couples, former NFL defensive back Nnamdi Asomugha’s wife, A-list actress Kerry Washington, has that role down to a T both in real life and on TV. Washington plays Olivia Pope, a Washington D.C. crisis management expert and the on-again, off-again love interest of the U.S. president in the hit ABC political drama Scandal.
Before Scandal, Washington had many roles in films like Django: Unchained and The Last King of Scotland, as well as in TV shows like Boston Legal and 100 Centre Street.
Even though Asomugha was a first-round draft pick in 2003 and played in three Pro Bowls before retiring after the 2013 season, Washington’s celebrity clearly outshines his, so you may not have even realized the popular actress had an NFL connection. The couple married in 2013 after Asomugha hung ‘em up, and they tend to keep pretty quiet about their love life.
10 TONY ROMO: MARRIED TO CANDICE CRAWFORD
With the recently-retired Tony Romo sporting a bevy of celebs on his long list of former lovers, it can be hard to keep up with who he’s sharing his life with these days, but if you happened to guess 2008 Miss Missouri USA and former Dallas news anchor Candice Crawford, you’re either incredibly lucky and should go out right now and buy a Powerball ticket, or you knew more than I did when I started researching players for this article.
Crawford grew up in Lubbock, Texas and started competing in pageants as a teen. She won Miss Missouri and competed to become Miss USA later that year, where she finished inside the top 10. Her brother, Chase, is an actor who starred the show Gossip Girl and – oddly enough – like Romo, used to date Carrie Underwood. Tony and Candice married in 2011.
9 KROY BIERMANN: MARRIED TO KIM ZOLCIAK
Here’s another case of an NFL wife being probably more famous than her pro-athlete husband. Kim Zolciak, the bombshell 38-year-old reality TV personality, first rose to fame in 2008 with her role as one of the original cast members on Bravo’s reality series Real Housewives of Atlanta.
She starred on RHOA for five years, rising in popularity and fame with well over 1 million followers on Twitter, before leaving to star in a spin-off show called Don’t Be Tardy For The Wedding, which followed Zolciak and her family during their preparations for her impending nuptials to Biermann.
Biermann and Zolciak eventually got married at their Roswell, Georgia home in 2011 while Biermann was playing for the Falcons. Zolciak has also dabbled in country music and fashion and launched a luxury beauty and lifestyle brand called Kashmere! last year.
8 ERIC JOHNSON: MARRIED TO JESSICA SIMPSON
Like her ex-boyfriend mentioned two entries up, Jessica Simpson has had more than her fair share of failed celebrity romances, and if you’re like me, you probably gave up on keeping track of all of them sometime between Nick Lachey and John Mayer. So you might not have even realized that it was former NFL tight end Eric Johnson that finally settled her down.
I won’t even try to get into Simpson’s lengthy resume full of acting, singing and modeling other than to say that her feature film debut in The Dukes of Hazzard in 2005 is worth a re-watch or 30, but we all know how famous she is. But you just might not have realized that Johnson put a ring on it since he did so seven years after he left the league.
7 RODNEY PEETE: MARRIED TO HOLLY ROBINSON
Fifteen-year veteran backup NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, who played for six teams between 1989 and 2004, married actress Holly Robinson in 1995, when he was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Robinson gained notoriety for her roles in the TV shows 21 Jump Street, Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, For Your Love and Like Family. She also had a limited career in music as a singer and recording artist. Since she married Peete, Robinson has added to her portfolio with appearances on Celebrity Apprentice, The Young and the Restless, Mike & Molly, Chicago PD, and most recently, For Peete’s Sake, a reality series that documents the everyday life in the Peete household.
Now 22 years strong, this famous marriage is a model of success for couples everywhere, but since Peete’s been out of the league for 13 years, you may not have known he had married a famous actress.
6 KYLE BOLLER: MARRIED TO CARRIE PREJEAN
Ah, the age-old story of model, turned pageant queen, turned Miss California USA, turned disgraced beauty with a sex tape who gets Prince Charming in a fairy tale ending. Something like that, right?
If the plot sounds familiar, it’s because it was the real-life story starring the now-30-year-old blonde-haired beauty, Carrie Prejean, who married former NFL quarterback Kyle Boller in 2010, just a year after being stripped of her Miss California title following several chapters of controversy that ensued after the 2009 Miss USA Pageant, a scandal that gripped the nation.
Of course, that didn’t deter Boller. The two got hitched while he was with the Raiders and before he retired in 2012. Although, since the whole Prejean saga has finally settled down a bit, a lot of people might have missed the fact that Boller tied the knot with the controversial California beauty.
5 ADAM ARCHULETA: MARRIED TO JENNIFER WALCOTT
What is it with Playboy Playmates and professional athletes? Add former Rams, Redskins and Bears defensive back Adam Archuleta to the list of suitors for women who bear all on the pages of America’s favorite girly magazine. Though he hasn’t played in the NFL since 2007, Archuleta walked down the aisle with glamour model and actress Jennifer Walcott, who was Playboy’s Playmate of the Month for August 2001 and has all the right curves in all the right places.
Walcott’s acting resume includes appearances in films American Pie: Band Camp and The Pool Boys and on TV shows like Weakest Link, Dog Eat Dog, Wild On!, Howard Stern, MTV Cribs and E! True Hollywood Story, among others. She and Archuleta tied the knot in 2010.
4 HANK BASKETT: MARRIED TO KENDRA WILKINSON
Another pro football player and another Playboy-model wife. And, OK, OK, yes, you probably did know that Hank Baskett married sporty blonde hottie Kendra Wilkinson at the Playboy Mansion in 2009 on an episode of the show Kendra, but it bears noting, since I’m sure that, if you’re reading this right now, you probably also watched the E! reality show The Girls Next Door that documented Hugh Hefner and his three live-in Playboy Mansion girlfriends, Wilkinson included.
She was never a Playmate, but she has shown enough skin and done enough TV over the years to make her far more famous than her now-husband, Baskett. Baskett, after all, only lasted parts of five seasons in the league as a wide receiver and special teams utility man with the Eagles, Colts and Vikings.
3 A.J. FEELEY: MARRIED TO HEATHER MITTS
Who says backup quarterbacks can’t get the girl? Former NFL veteran A.J. Feeley certainly hit a spousal jackpot when he married then-U.S. women’s international soccer player Heather Mitts in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in 2010, when he was a member of the Carolina Panthers.
The classically beautiful Mitts played NCAA D-1 soccer for the University of Florida during her college days and for the Philadelphia Charge, Boston Breakers, Philadelphia Independence and Atlanta Beat as a pro in the Women’s Professional Soccer League.
She has also won three Olympic gold medals with the U.S. women’s team in 2004, 2008 and 2014. Before all that, she dabbled in modeling and for good reason. In 2001, she was voted sexiest player in the WUSA by Playboy Online, was named as one of Philadelphia’s sexiest singles in 2004 and even appeared in the 2005 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
Good for Feeley.
2 RYAN TANNEHILL: MARRIED TO LAUREN TANNEHILL
OK, so Lauren Tannehill, the drop-dead gorgeous 28-year-old wife of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, is a bit of an exception as far as the whole being-famous-on-her-own thing. Yes, she’s well-known for her stunning good looks, impossibly blonde hair and uber-sexy bikini photos you can find with a simple Google Images search, but Lauren got famous because her husband became an NFL quarterback when the Fish took him eighth overall out of Texas A&M in 2012.
She had previously done some modeling work with Page.713, as well as Levinson Jewelers, but after her hubby went pro, she got a role on HBO’s Hard Knocks, and her web traffic skyrocketed. Still, she’s famous. Plus, she drew a lot of attention for leaving an AR-15 in the back of a rental car, so maybe even a little infamous too.
1 A.J. MCCARRON: MARRIED TO KATHERINE WEBB
If you know anything about anything – and especially college football – then you know exactly who Katherine Webb is. It’s just that you may have forgotten who her then-University of Alabama quarterback-playing beau was when she was catapulted into overnight fame by ESPN announcer Brent Musburger’s on-air comments during the 2013 BCS National Championship Game praising her overwhelmingly blinding beauty.
If you needed a reminder, it’s A.J. McCarron, current QB for the Cincinnati Bengals. The two were dating at the time, got engaged in March of 2014 and eventually exchanged vows in Orange Beach, Alabama in July of the same year.
Webb has since parlayed her fame into stints as a model in the 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and television host on Inside Edition, but she’ll always be famous for being hot at a football game.