From the moment NCAA football stars hear their name called in the NFL Draft or enter the league via undrafted free agency, as they did over the past weekend, their lives change dramatically, and so do those of their wives or girlfriends.
These athletes receive an instant pay raise, transforming the status of their bank accounts from struggling university student to instant multimillionaire. And in most cases, their significant others are expected to dedicate their lives to the athlete, and essentially keep him content and life at home running smoothly while the football player takes care of business on the gridiron. Moreover, the success of the athlete and lack thereof in the spouse creates a relationship imbalance, where the female is entirely dependent upon her man to carry the load, and he may abuse this perceived sense of entitlement—think Tiger Woods. The women can go weeks without seeing their spouses, and begin to believe that another woman is making him hers. The wives or girlfriends of athletes in all sports have similar doubts about their fidelity, and these related fears often spread through their minds, making it difficult to cope with and enjoy the stay-at-home life.
Their time apart can hamper the long-term success of their relationship. Like any couple with one spouse working nine-five, and the other working around the clock, the lack of cohesion in schedules can have a sluggishly deteriorating effect on the relationship. However, this list delves into the careers of the wives or girlfriends of NFL players who have managed to create their own success. In fact, in many instances on this list, the fame of the wives or girlfriends exceeds that of the NFL star they’re in a relationship with. And they have actually helped attract notoriety for their husbands or boyfriends, especially for those who haven’t risen to an elite level of play in the league thus far. Here are ten significant others of NFL athletes who have done quite well for themselves.
There's no doubt that these ladies are able to fend for themselves, with several being big names that we'll all recognize instantly. Many are performing better in their own domain than their husbands/boyfriends currently are on Sundays.
10 Kristin Cavallari – Television Star
Kristin Cavallari rose to popularity on the hit MTV show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. In 2009, she continued to capitalize on the show's success by starring in its spinoff, “The Hills,” replacing her Laguna Beach co-star Lauren Conrad. The actress has since appeared in few minor roles including an appearance in an NFL Draft commercial promoting Pinterest with Chicago Bears legend Dick Butkus. Cavallari married Chicago's starting quarterback Jay Cutler in 2013. The couple has two sons, Camden Jack and Jaxon Wyatt.
9 Katherine Webb – Model, TV Personality
Some of the women on this list reached notoriety on the small screen in the traditional way, but Webb did so in an unorthodox fashion during the BCS Championship game in 2013. The girlfriend at the time of then Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, Webb was the subject of commentary about her appearance by Brent Musburger of the ESPN broadcast team; he complimented her looks and praised the quarterback for being with her while she was shown on television from the stands during the broadcast.
Fresh off that cameo, Webb evolved into a celebrity overnight, and subsequently received an offer by Donald Trump to be a Miss USA pageant judge. She married McCarron in March of 2014, a month before he was drafted by the Bengals in the NFL Draft. Webb is undoubtedly still the more famous of the two, as McCarron finds himself low on the quarterback depth chart in Cincinnati.
8 Elisabeth Hasselbeck – Talk Show Host
Hasselbeck first earned her fame as a contestant on the second season of Survivor in 2001, but her celebrity explosion came as a co-host on the ABC talk show The View alongside Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg, to name a few. The gig can be credited with her social media climb; Hasselbeck has risen to 401,000 Twitter followers, more than double the amount of her husband. After spending nearly 10 years on The View, she accepted the female co-host role on Fox & Friends. Following her stint on Survivor, she married NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck in 2002. Tim is currently an analyst for ESPN. Her news and talk show airs on weekday mornings.
7 Kim Zolciak – Reality TV Star
Kim Zolciak rose to prominence on the Bravo reality series The Real Housewives of Atlanta. She has a whopping 928,000 Twitter followers, which dramatically trumps her husband Kroy Biermann’s 221,000, and his number undoubtedly exceeded the 200,000 as a result of her success, rather than his own. Along with her small-screen career, Zolciak ventured into singing and released the first single of a country album in 2009. She will co-star in a new Bravo reality series with her Real Housewives cast member NeNe Leakes titled NeNe and Kim: The Road to Riches.
6 Kerry Washington – Actress
While Nnamdi Asomugha is now retired from the NFL, his wife Kerry Washington is still enjoying a very successful acting career. Most renowned for her part in Scandal, Washington has enjoyed an impressive 20-plus year acting career. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and twice for an Emmy for her role as Olivia Pope, a crisis management expert to the President of the United States in the aforementioned hit ABC television series. She also starred in Ray (2004), and appeared in Django Unchained (2012). Washington married former All-Pro NFL cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha in June 2013.
5 Jessie James – Country-Pop Singer, Songwriter
The country-pop singer songwriter released her self-titled debut album in 2009. She met current New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker while he was a member of Peyton Manning’s receiving corps in Denver, and the two got married in 2013. Since the artist and football star got hitched, they have starred in the E! reality series Eric and Jessie: Game On, a show that documents their everyday lives as newlyweds and parents. The "it NFL couple" had its first child in March of 2014, and is expecting its second in September.
4 Caroline Wozniacki – Tennis Player
The international tennis star, and former women’s number one has earned nearly $20 million in career prize money to date. She held her number one ranking for 67 weeks starting in October 2010.
Wozniacki made headlines for reasons other than her stellar play on the tennis court not long ago as she was involved in a difficult break up with golfer Rory McIlroy. The world's top-ranked golfer reportedly broke off his engagement with her via telephone, in a call that lasted less than three minutes. She has recently begun dating reigning NFL defensive player of the year JJ Watt. A native of Denmark, Wozniacki currently ranks fifth in the women's tennis world. If the two were to ever get married and have kids, just imagine the athletic DNA their off-springs would have!
3 Ciara – Singer, Songwriter
The R&B sensation was recently spotted at a Seattle Mariners game with the Super Bowl winning quarterback, raising questions about their relationship status. The two also attended Barack Obama's recent Japanese state dinner at the White House last week, and furthered their dating rumors as they were seen holding hands.
The singer-songwriter’s catchy first big hit “1,2 step,” which featured Missy Elliott, catapulted her rise to stardom. Both Ciara and Wilson have exceeded the one million mark on Twitter, with Ciara well over six million. Wilson joins rappers Bow Wow and 50 cent as Ciara's top conquests.
2 Olivia Munn – Actress, Author, TV Personality
Olivia Munn began her career in television journalism, working most notably on The Daily Show from 2010-2011. She has appeared in myriad acting roles including "Angie" on the hit fox series New Girl and Johnny Depp's co-star "Georgina Krampf" in the 2015 film Mortdecai. She has also authored a New York Times best seller, Suck It, Wonder Woman!: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek. Munn recently began dating Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
1 Gisele Bündchen - Fashion Model
It's no surprise to see Gisele top the list, as she's long been one of the most famous models in the world and she's married to the reigning Super Bowl MVP and champion.
In the case of Brazilian fashion model Gisele Bundcheon, you could argue her worldwide notoriety exceeds that of her husband and future hall of fame quarterback Tom Brady. Before marrying the Patriots superstar and NFL poster boy, Bündchen was in a relationship with actor Leonardo Di Caprio. Following her rise to stardom in modeling, Bündchen transitioned into a brief acting career, appearing in Taxi (2004) and The Devil Wears Prada (2006). Bündchen is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Environment Programme.
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