The Most Powerful Wives and Girlfriends in Sports
Superstar athlete? Celebrity wife? That’s a power couple. They say that it takes money to make money, and by that logic, it would seem that it takes power and status to date people of power and status. Or maybe the saying success breeds success is more appropriate (and literal)?
Here are the most powerful wives and girlfriends in sports today.
Shakira and Gerard Piqué
We all know one thing about Shakira, and it’s that her hips DO NOT LIE. Columbian superstar singer Shakira entered the English-language market in 2001 after years of dominating the Latin American charts. Since her English-debut single “Whenever, Wherever,” Shakira has grown her audience and become one of the globe’s best-selling artists.
In 2010, Shakira released “Waka Waka,” the official theme song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. While filming the song’s music video, she met Gerard Pique, a Spanish center back for the Spanish National Team and F.C. Barcelona. The couple is 10 years apart and they have two children together.
Sofia Balbi and Luis Suarez
Notorious flopper, diver, and biter Luis Suarez, the talented forward for F.C. Barcelona, married his longtime girlfriend Sofia Balbi back in 2009. The two met while back in Uruguay at the young age of 15. Apparently, Balbi was bitten by the love bug that is Suarez and was infected with affection.
In 2003, Balbi and her family moved to Barcelona, motivating Suarez to take his ridiculous act overseas as well. At 19, Suarez signed with Dutch club Groningen, a move that allowed him to be closer to his one true love. After bouncing through the Dutch leagues, Suarez made it to the English Premier League before signing with Barcelona in 2014. The couple has three children.
Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson
Is there an NBA player or athlete the Kardashian family hasn’t dated? Tristan Thompson was not the No.1 draft pick of Khloe Kardashian; he was a late fill in. Khloe Kardashian got her first taste of dating an NBA player back in 2009 when she married former Lakers player Lamar Odom, whom she married one month after meeting him at a party.
That relationship ended after her husband was found unconscious in a Nevada brothel. After Odom, Khloe found herself dating Cleveland big man Tristan Thompson. Khloe gave birth to her daughter True Thompson on April 12, 2018. Today, the two are no longer a couple after it was revealed Thompson had cheated on Khloe multiple times throughout her pregnancy.
Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady
One of the most powerful couples in sports, six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady is not his household’s breadwinner. That distinction belongs to his supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen. Bundchen, one of the most recognizable Brazilians in the world, is also one of the world’s most famous and sought-after models.
In 2014, Forbes named Gisele Bundchen the 89th Most Powerful Woman in the world, and all that power means big paychecks. In 2016, Gisele Bundchen made a massive $30.5 million thanks to modeling appearances and endorsement deals while her husband, the greatest quarterback to ever live, “only” pulled in $15 million.
Samantha Ponder and Christian Ponder
The Christian Ponder experiment didn’t really work out for the Minnesota Vikings. Taken 12th overall in 2011, Ponder never really became the quarterback of the future. Since that day, Vikings fans have been pondering where their franchise could be had he been better. After a few average seasons, Ponder was out of Minnesota.
Fortunately for him, his relationship with ESPN reporter Samantha Ponder has lasted longer than his time in the league. Samantha Ponder, nee Steele, began working for Fox Sports covering college athletics before signing with ESPN’s Longhorn Network in 2011. Today, the Ponders are proud parents of three children.
Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez
Will they go by J-Rod or A-Lo? What about L0-Ro? Mabe Ro-Lo if they’re feeling extra spunky. Simply put, there are endless combinations and permutations with this couple. A-Rod, as many of you know, was the highest-paid man in baseball. A shortstop/third baseman with a penchant for big hits and solid fielding, A-Rod was a key member of the Yankees 2009 World Series team that beat Philadelphia in six games.
In 2017, Rodriguez began dating actress/singer Jennifer Lopez, who in 2012 was named by Forbes as the most powerful celebrity in the world. The couple became engaged in 2019. Lopez and Alex Rodriguez each have two children from prior relationships.
Katherine Webb and A.J. McCarron
Three-time BCS National Champion quarterback A.J. McCarron definitely had his time in the spotlight stolen by what turned out to be his future wife. McCarron’s wife, Katherine Webb, saw her celebrity increase tenfold during the 2013 National Championship Game when announcer Brent Mussberger made a big fuss about her looks. After the game, searches for “A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend” on Google blew up.
That attention helped Webb, a 2012 Miss Alabama winner, launch her modeling career. In 2013, she appeared in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue. Today, Mccarron, a perennial backup, and his wife have two children. In 2019, McCarron signed with the Houston Texans, his third team in as many years.
Anna Kournikova and Sergei Fedorov
Anna Kournikova’s tennis career had a lot more bark than bite. While she was one of the most famous and recognize stars during her heyday, her fame was largely generated on looks rather than performance. Kournikova never won a Grand Slam singles title but did win two Grand Slam doubles titles while partnered with Martina Hingis. Off the court, Kournikova lived a mysterious life. Rumors constantly swirled about who Kournikova was dating or married to.
One of those mystery men happened to be fellow Russian national Sergei Fedorov, an NHL All-Star and Stanley Cup champion. Fedorov claimed that he and Kournikova wed in 2001 and divorced two years later. Kournikova and her team deny the marriage ever existed.
Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher
Country music star Carrie Underwood and her NHL husband Mike Fisher are a power couple not to be trifled with. Underwood rose to fame on the hit television series “American Idol” which spawned her massive, impressive career. Her greatest hit, “Before He Cheats,” is a stark warning to any man who ever decides to act in less than faithful ways. Underwood’s voice has been described as one of the most impressive and profound in the music industry today;
she’s sold more than 65 million records worldwide and was listed in 2014 by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. That influence only increased when Underwood wed Mike Fisher, an NHL center, back in 2010. The two met at an Underwood concert and have two children together.
Elisha Cuthbert and Dion Phaneuf
Elisha Cuthbert, the former star of the Fox hit action-drama series “24” and Will Ferrell comedy “Old School,” gained a ton of notoriety in 2008 thanks to Sean Avery’s disgusting remarks regarding her relationship with Dion Phaneuf, her future husband.
Cuthbert, who Maxim named 2013’s most beautiful woman in television, dated Sean Avery, a notorious NHL pest and agitator, before breaking it off for Dion Phaneuf, a three-time All-Star defenseman for the Los Angeles Kings. In 2013, Cuthbert and Phaneuf married at St. James Catholic Church on Prince Edward Island. In 2017, the couple had their first child, a daughter named Zaphire.
Hillary Duff and Mike Comrie
One of the original Disney child stars, Hillary Duff has made a great career for herself in a variety of disparate endeavors. Duff’s breakthrough role came as the main character on the “Lizzie McGuire show.” Following that, she began to sing, act in movies and television, and even began to write books, authoring “Elixir,” a 2013 New York Times bestseller. In 2007, Duff made the transition from innocent child star to edgy sex symbol when she appeared on the cover of Maxim Magazine.
That same year she also began dating NHL player Mike Comrie. In 2010, the two engaged and later married. Two years later, Duff and Combrie welcomed their first child a son. Sadly, this relationship did not have a fairytale ending as the two separated in 2014 with their divorce being finalized in 2016.
Candace Cameron Bure and Valerie Bure
Candace Cameron Bure is best known for her role as D.J. Tanner on “Full House,” a television sitcom from the 90s. Aside from that role, Bure appeared on season 18 of “Dancing with the Stars” where she placed third. When she’s not acting or dancing, Bure is writing and has published four books, one of them a New York Times bestseller.
In 1996, Bure’s house became a bit more full when she married one-time NHL All-Star Valeri Bure. Together, Candance and Valerie have one daughter and two sons. Valeri is a two-time Olympic medalist, winning the silver in 1998 and the bronze in 2002.
Ayesha Curry and Steph Curry
How fitting is it that Ayesha Alexander, the future wife of NBA MVP Steph Curry, grew up passionate about cooking? Ayesha was born and raised in Toronto until the age of 14. Then she and her family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, where she met Steph at a Church youth group.
The couple began dating while Steph attended Davidson College, and the two married in 2011. Together, the Currys have three children. Their youngest child, Canon, has an appropriate name for basketball should he inherit his father’s sweet stroke. How cool would it sound to hear, “Canon Curry connects from deep!”?
Leila Lopes and Osi Umenyiora
Former sack master for the Giants Osi Umenyiora and his supermodel wife had an amazing year in 2011. For Leila Lopes, she reached the top of the beauty world. Lopes, who hails from the African nation Angola, won both Miss Angola UK and Miss Angola in 2010. She followed up these titles with a Miss Universe title in 2011.
On the football side of things, her future husband Osi, a two-time Super Bowl champion and one of only five British-born players to win a Super Bowl, won his second championship also in 2011. Two years after reaching the zenith of their careers, Lopes and Umenyiora became engaged. IN 2015, they were married, and in 2018 Lopes announced that she was pregnant.
Danica Patrick and Aaron Rodgers
The clock is ticking on when this relationship will crash and burn. See Danica Patrick, for all of the hype and fame she garnered as a NASCAR and IndyCar Driver, never did much on the court. She was much more likely to crash, spin out, and ruin the race for others than win.
On the flip side of the relationship is her boyfriend, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who she started dating back in 2018. Unlike Patrick, Rodgers has proven himself to be one of the league’s most accurate and skilled passers. Before Patrick, Rodges dated Olivia Munn, but like a good cornerback, Patrick intercepted his love and has yet to fumble it away.
Eva Longoria and Tony Parker
This isn’t the only time you will see the French phenom on this list. Tony Parker first wife was Eva Longoria, a model and actress best known for her work on daytime television and the hit series “Desperate Housewives.” In 2004, Longoria met Spurs legend Tony Parker, and three years later they married at a Catholic service in Paris.
However, not all that glitters is gold, and behind the scenes, trouble was brewing. Parker was caught up in a scandalous extramarital affair with Erin Barry, the wife of Parker’s teammate Brent Barry. In 2010, Longoria filed for divorce. The divorce was finalized in 2011.
Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods
Yes, we know that they are no longer a couple, but when they were, they oozed status and power. Nordegren was an internationally celebrated supermodel while Tiger Woods was the greatest golfer on planet earth. Woods and Nordegren became engaged in 2003 and married in 2004. Three years after their marriage, they had their first child, Sam Alexis Woods.
In 2009, Woods and Nordegren had their second kid, Charlie Axel. But in 2009, Woods’ world came crashing down after he was caught cheating on his wife. The tumultuous affair cost Woods his marriage, numerous sponsorships, and millions of dollars of income, not to mention a perfectly damaged reputation. In 2010, the couple divorced, with Nordegren receiving $100 million from the divorce.
Yvette Prieto and Michael Jordan
Despite the 15-year age gap, Michael Jordan and his Cuban-American model wife Yvette Prieto appear to be a happy couple. Yvette Prieto, who has modeled for designer Alexander Wang, met Jordan while dancing at a night club back in 2007. Rumor has it, Jordan hit Prieto with the dirtiest crossover she had ever seen, nearly breaking her ankles and her high heels.
The two dated for two years before moving in together in 2009. Two years later, the lovebirds engaged, and in 2013, the two married at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. Michael Jordan and Prieto have twins, daughters named Victoria and Ysabel Jordan.
Ciara and Russell Wilson
This beat is automatic, supersonic…those famous words uttered by singer/songwriter/actress Ciara were all too prescient when she said them back in 2004 because little did she know she’d be living in the city of the SuperSonics married to its most beloved son, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Ciara is most well-known for her big singles “1,2 Step” and “Goodies,” both of which were chart-topping hits that put her on the map. Russell Wilson, Seattle’s multifaceted quarterback, hasn’t released any singles yet, but he has won a Super Bowl and is the main reason why Seattle is competitive year in and year out. The couple married in 2016 and has one child.
Erica Herman and Tiger Woods
After a rough half-decade slump, golfing legend Tiger Woods finally made headlines without a hint of controversy. That’s because in 2018 he won the Atlanta Tour Championship. And his return to his winning ways after five years in slumpsville was credited to the love of one particular woman, Tiger’s girlfriend, Erica Herman.
Herman and Tiger have been dating since 2017. The two met because Herman, who works in the food and beverage industry, ran one of Tiger’s restaurants in Florida. They were first seen together as a couple at the Presidents Cup in 2017 and are still going strong today.
La La Anthony and Carmelo Anthony
Although this relationship may be off and on, it is more consistent and steady than Carmelo Anthony’s nearly non-existent defense. Carmelo Anthony is a prolific scorer, no one doubts that. But for all the buckets he makes, he allows just as many. That being said, Anthony has done a great job of defending his true love, Alani “La La” Vazquez, from getting out of his grasp.
La La, who stars as a reality television host and actress, became engaged to Carmelo in 2004 and married him in 2010. The two have one child, Kiyan Carmelo Anthony, who was born in 2007. As of late, the two have been in a turbulent relationship marked by rumors surrounding an extramarital affair involving Melo and woman from gentlemen’s club he frequented.
Larsa Pippen and Scottie Pippen
“No tippin Pippen” surely didn’t woo his wife Larsa based on his generosity. The frugal phenom Scottie Pippen is regarded as one of the greatest NBA players in history, specifically when it comes to his defensive prowess. The six-time champ and seven-time All-Star was Michael Jordan’s right-hand man, a Robin of sorts.
In 1997, Pippen had a career year that saw him win an NBA Finals and marry Larsa Younan, a star from the hit TV series “The Real Housewives of Miami.” The couple has had an up and down relationship marked by the threat of divorce only to be followed by passionate reconciliation. Together they have four children; their eldest, Scotty Pippen Jr. has committed to play basketball at Vanderbilt University.
Hannah Jeter and Derek Jeter
The Captain found his first mate. Yankees icon and current Marlins minority owner Derek Jeter has dated his fair share of celebrity icons including Mariah Carey, Miss Universe Lara Dutta, and actresses Jordana Brewster and Jessica Biel. But none of those sights for sore eyes were enough for the shortstop.
That is until a model by the name of Hannah Jeter caught his eye. Hannah, best known for her appearances in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issues, appeared on the cover of the 2015 edition. Hailing from the U.S. Virgin Islands, she and Jeter became engaged in 2015 and married one year later. Today, the Jeters are parents of two children.
Kim Sears and Andy Murray
Look at that passion and enthusiasm on her face as she cheers on England’s finest tennis player, Andy Murray. Murray is a three-time Grand Slam winner and two-time Olympic gold medalist. Although three Grand Slams may pale in comparison to other tennis stars, it is quite an achievement for the Scott, who became the first British man to win multiple Wimbledon singles titles since Fred Perry did so back in 1936.
Murray is married to his No.1 fan and cheerleader Kim Sears, the daughter of player and coach Nigel Sears. In 2014, the couple announced their engagement, and they married one year later. They have two daughters who might rule the courts themselves one day.
Nicole Johnson and Michael Phelps
The Baltimore Bullet, Michael Phelps, is the most decorated Olympian in history with a total of 28 medals, with 23 of them being gold. A swimmer with a chiseled body and ridiculous medal count, Phelps was a sought after bachelor, naturally, and out of all the fish in the sea, Phelps was most drawn to Nicole Johnson, the 2010 Miss California winner.
Johnson and Phelps met at the ESPYs back in 2007 and had an off-and-on again relationship until they engaged in 2015. Then the mysterious Phelps and his fiance secretly married in 2016, one month after the birth of their first son Boomer. Since then, the couple has had their second child, a boy named Beckett.
Nicole Williams and Larry English
Larry English was not the menacing linebacker the Chargers envisioned him to be when they selected him 16th overall in 2009. The Northern Illinois product was a sack master in college but failed to produce at the NFL level and was hampered by injuries throughout his rather short career. Lucky for English, his home life appears to be going just fine.
That’s because English is happily married to Canadian-born swimsuit model Nicole Williams. The two began dating in 2013 and tied the knot back in 2017. To date, they don’t have any kids but want some in the future once their fervent passion for travel dies down.
Sasha Gates and Antonio Gates
Future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates is showing no signs of slowing down. Gates is the Chargers’ all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. What’s even more amazing than that (and mind you he’s a tight end, not a receiver) is that Gates went undrafted in 2003 out of Kent State University.
Gates’ wife Sasha, whom he married back in 2011, is a bit less prolific in her industry but a star nonetheless. Sasha had her career breakthrough starring on the thrilling, heart-pounding, gripping, must-watch TV series “WAGs.” Ok, that may have been a bit of hyperbole, but “WAGS” was a big enough show to help launch some careers.
Michelle Beltran and Brian Quick
The St. Louis Rams selected Brian “Super” Quick with the 33rd pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, making him the highest-draft Appalachian State product. Quick, a two-time FCS All-American at App State, the school that shocked Michigan many years ago, has not had the same amount of success at the NFL, catching 10 touchdowns in his seven years of play.
However, in 2015, Quick made the biggest catch of his career when he wed Michelle Beltran. Beltran is another reality star who has appeared on E!’s celebrity WAG reality series that basically is much ado about nothing. Beltran’s Instagram has 34,000,000 followers, a significant amount more than her husband.
Ashley Nicole Roberts and Philip Wheeler
You may best remember Philip Wheeler during the time he played college football at Georgia Tech where the standout linebacker was a two-time Second-team All-ACC member. The Colts selected Wheeler in the third round of the 2008 draft. After his time in Indy, Wheeler went to Oakland on a one-year deal where he had a career year, which, in turn, helped him sign a five-year, $25 million deal with the Dolphins.
Like most moves the Dolphins make, the Wheeler signing didn’t exactly pan out as they had hoped as he was with the team for only two years. Today, Wheeler is a free agent on the football side of things but is locked down off it, married to Ashley Nicole Roberts, a self-proclaimed “momprenuer” and U.S. Army veteran. She has half a million followers on Instagram.
Vanessa Bryant and Kobe Bryant
One of the most famous couples in sports, Kobe and his longtime wife Vanessa have seen and been through it all. In 1999, a 21-year-old Bryant met 17-year-old Vanessa (nee Laine) while she was working as a backup dancer for a music video. In a classic instance of love at first sight, Bryant, after dating his high school girlfriend for six months, dropped to a knee.
Despite outward objection and social estrangement from his parents, Bryant married Vanessa in 2001, without his parents in attendance. In 2003, the Bryants survived arguably the rockiest period of their relationship after Bryant admitted to cheating on his wife in a massive scandal. Despite numerous threats of divorce, Bryant remains steadfast and loyal to his wife and mother of his three children.
Sam Smalling and Chris Smalling
Manchester United and English National Team staple Chris Smalling may not be the flashiest player in the world, but he’s a steady and effective presence on the pitch. Off the pitch, Smalling, thanks to his wife’s influence, is a vegan. Prior to becoming one of the most selective eaters on earth, Smalling cut out red meat from his diet.
What Chris Smalling has yet to cut out of his diet is his appetite for his wife Sam, a tabloid model from England. Sam, also a vegan, suffers from IBS, a stomach condition that causes her excessive bloating. But, thanks to her ultra-healthy vegan diet, Sam is able to keep her condition under control.
Axelle Francine and Tony Parker
The second coming of Tony Parker on this list. After Parker’s marriage to Eva Longoria ended, the Frenchman hit the market, ready to spin, crossover, and fake out any competition standing in his way of finding a new trophy wife. That trophy wife turned out to be Axelle Francine, a French journalist.
In 2013 the couple became engaged, and one year later, the fast-moving French nationals married. Together, they have two boys, Josh and Liam Parker. Interesting names for two boys with French parents. Time will tell if they follow in their dad’s footsteps and become elite NBA point guards or opt to become journalists like their mother.
Antonella Roccuzzo and Lionel Messi
The greatest soccer player in the world (debate amongst passionate fans ensues) needs a rockstar wife ready to deal with the fame, fortune, and fabricated news that is bound to swirl above her husband’s head. Messi has been the face of F.C. Barcelona since 2004, when he made his much-anticipated debut as a 17-year-old.
Since then, Messi has solidified himself as one of the greatest to ever play the game. Aside from F.C. Barcelona, Messi has captained the Argentinian National Team. Messi has known his wife, also from Rosario, Argentina, since he was five. In 2008, after much speculation, he announced his relationship to his longtime love. In 2017, they married, and the couple has three sons.
Paulina Gretzky and Dustin Johnson
Wayne Gretzky’s greatest achievement may have been having four kids, one of them being Paulina Gretzky. At least that’s what golfer Dustin Johnson must think. Paulina Gretzky is the oldest of Gretzky’s five children and has spent most of her professional life as a model and occasionally as a singer. In 2013, Gretzky became engaged to golfer Dustin Johnson.
Johnson, the 2016 U.S. Open winner, has two sons with Paulina, Tatum and River Jones. In 2017, Johnson held the world No.1 ranking. Despite the high ranking and massive following he has, Johnson only has one major championship. At the 2019 Masters, Johnson finished second to Tiger Woods. Since that finish, Johnson has been largely out of the spotlight.
Nina Westbrook and Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook is the most aggressive man in the NBA. A triple-double machine, Westbrook knows how to pad his stats and stare down his enemies. He’s yet to figure out how to win a title. Off the court, though, he appears to be much more of a family man with a kinder, softer side. Yes, Russell Westbrook may have a soft side.
In 2015, Westbrook married his girlfriend from college, Nina Earl. Together, the Westbrooks have a boy named Noah and two twin daughters born in 2018. Nina knows sign language and played basketball at the University of California Los Angeles, the same school her husband shined for himself.
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade
A perfect union. Dwyane Wade is the greatest basketball player in Miami Heat history. He revitalized the franchise and brought it multiple championships, one of them being in 2013, the same year he became engaged to actress Gabrielle Union. Union and Wade started dating in 2009 but had to call off the relationship due to the strenuous demands of their career.
However, the two reconciled and got back together, marrying in 2014. In 2018, Wade had a daughter, born via surrogate, with Union, making him a father for the fourth time. Union, who starred in numerous television shows and movies, joined the judges in 2019 for the TV show “America’s Got Talent,” because, after all, she’s a talented woman.