On the surface, NFL star Matthew Stafford and his wife Kelly Stafford have a love story that looks much like a teenage rom-com. Before he became the quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, a young Matthew crossed paths with the blonde beauty during her stint as a cheerleader for the University of Georgia.
Their 10-year-long relationship goes far deeper than their shared alma mater, however, with the twosome tackling some of life’s biggest challenges—and triumphs—arm-in-arm. From Kelly’s massive health scare to the births of their (count ‘em!) four children, this pair has seemingly been through it all. "I couldn't have done it without her," Matthew said at a press conference following his NFC Championship win. He continued: "She's an unbelievable part of my life. She's been through a lot with me, and we've leaned on each other at separate times to help ourselves get whatever we're having to get through."
On Sunday, Kelly will be on the sidelines cheering on her husband as he takes on the Cincinnati Bengals during Super Bowl 2022. Ahead of the big game, we're rounding up everything you need to know about Matthew Stafford's other half.
She Is a Survivor
Kelly suffered from a brain tumor in 2019, which she would eventually undergo major surgery to remove. “The medical term was an acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma,” she recalled to ESPN. “They were going to open up my head and there was a 50 percent chance I would lose my hearing. There was a chance I'd lose facial function. It was all really scary.”
Luckily, she had Matthew by her side to help her in her recovery (“He was literally by my side at every step,” she remembered), and in April 2021, she announced that she was “tumor-free. Today celebrating the clean two-year scan and all the new adventures my family and I are going to have in this next year!” she wrote excitedly.
She later gushed over her husband’s care of her in her hour of need. "I wouldn't be here today, without him," she told Good Morning America, noting that her spouse had a big role in her cancer detection. "He was the one that really encouraged me to go get checked and fought with me through that entire battle.”
She Has Her Own Podcast
Kelly is nothing if not passionate—she regularly shares her cheeky viewpoints on the world on social media. In September 2021, she gave her opinions a new home with her podcast, "The Morning After With Kelly Stafford," where she discusses everything from family life to run-in with celebs (*cough, cough, Leonardo DiCaprio).
She's an Athlete in Her Own Right
Not only was Kelly a former cheerleader for the University of Georgia at the same time that Matthew was a starting quarterback (“#GoDawgs!”), she reportedly played basketball in high school, as well.
She’s Been Married to Matthew for 6 Years
After meeting at the University of Georgia, the couple tied the knot on April 4, 2015. Kelly shared a sweet throwback from their big day to Instagram for their anniversary in 2018, revealing her belief that fate had brought them together.
“I believe God placed us at the University of Georgia,” she wrote at the time, noting how many things had to come together for their meet-cute to happen. “You could have gone anywhere to school and yet you picked there,” she reasoned, “and it was a reach for me to get in, but by some miracle, I did. He wanted us to meet and see where it took us. Now look…over 10 years later...and still, each day, you remind me why you are so easy to love. Thank you for picking me to do life with.”
She Banned Herself From Attending Away Games
Kelly found herself in hot water in 2021 when she allegedly flung a pretzel at a 49ers fan that she later called “aggressive.” As such, Matthew reportedly suggested that she take a break from traveling with the team—and she agreed. “Being a professional athlete’s significant other, you don’t wave want to bring attention to yourself negatively,” she said of the incident on her podcast. Lucky for her, the Super Bowl is happening on the couple’s home turf!
She Boxes When She Can
To stay healthy, Kelly goes hard with both a boxing and weight trainer—when time permits. “I used to try and work out five times a week no matter what and would feel bad about myself if I didn’t,” she revealed of her workout routine in 2018. She added, “I feel like I now have a healthier relationship with working out..I do it when I can and I don’t stress when I don’t have the time or energy.”