Inside Brett Favre's Marriage

A Super Bowl champ and three-time MVP, Brett Favre broke several significant records throughout his glittering career: He achieved the most consecutive game starts in NFL history, once held league records for everything from fumbles to interceptions, and received no fewer than 11 Pro Bowl selections. But the Green Bay Packers legend has unarguably become just as renowned for his activities off the field as his prowess on it.

There's his embroilment in the welfare funds scandal that rocked Mississippi in 2022, with the former quarterback accused of misusing $77 million; Brett has since denied any involvement, stating to Fox News Digital, "I have been unjustly smeared in the media." There was his heavily publicized struggle with painkiller addiction. And then there's the marriage to wife Deanna Favre which has had more ups and downs than a Six Flags rollercoaster.

From their innocent beginnings, parental duties and joint sporting endeavors to allegations of sexting, family tragedies and life-or-death battles, here's an insight into the Favres' turbulent relationship.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Brett and Deanna Favre met in high school

Brett and Deanna Favre's love story began in the most innocent of circumstances: a small-town birthday party when they were both just slightly awkward teens. Yes, the superstar athlete met the woman he eventually married when they were still in high school. The two were first introduced to each other at a celebratory bash for the footballer's elder brother in the Mississippi community of Kiln.

Deanna was there as a member of the Hancock North Central High School girls' basketball team that had been invited alongside the boys'. And as Deanna later admitted to The Journal Times, there was an instant, nervous spark when she crossed paths with Brett for the first time. "I was kind of shy, kind of embarrassed," she said. "I was ready to run. But I didn't have anyone to talk to, besides him, so we kind of hung out. He was kind of shy, too, then. We were only 14 years old. The chemistry was there right away. We were both athletic and he was probably attracted to that." 

Both Favres landed athletic scholarships

You might not be aware that Brett isn't the only member of the Favre family with an impressive athletic pedigree. Deanna Favre (née Tynes) was already a promising basketball player when she first met the NFL star in her mid-teens and, like her future husband, also subsequently bagged a sporting scholarship. Per The Journal Times, while Brett headed off to the University of Southern Mississippi where he played for the Golden Eagles, Deanna attended the same state's Pearl River Community College. Because the institutions were so in close proximity, the young couple was able to maintain both their careers and relationship. Well, briefly anyway.

Brett later recalled to Sports Illustrated how much he enjoyed this particular period of his life. "Southern Miss was a place where everyone had been rejected by the big schools for some reason," he said. "We were the Island of Misfits. We thrived on that. We'd play Alabama, Auburn, and there'd be stories in the papers about how we'd been rejected by them. We'd come out and win the game, and guys would be yelling on the field, 'What's wrong with us now?' It was a great way to play."

Deanna Favre got pregnant when she was a teen

While Brett Favre's athletic career only went from strength to strength, Deanna Favre pivoted away from her own at the age of 19 when she discovered she was pregnant. In an interview given to The Journal Times nine years later, the former basketball player freely admitted that she was left devastated about this news at the time. However, Deanna and the father of the baby, both of whom are Catholic, never even considered terminating the pregnancy. "People talked to me about abortion, and there was no way. I was totally against it," she said to the outlet. "And I look at her every day thanking God I was."

Although Deanna never returned to the basketball court on a competitive level, she did get to resume her studies. "In February 1992, when Brett was traded from the Atlanta Falcons to the Green Bay Packers in exchange for a first-round draft pick, he wanted me to go back to school full-time and not work — which was a real blessing to me," she wrote in "Don't Bet Against Me." After transferring to the University of Southern Mississippi, the same college that Brett gained a footballing scholarship at, she completed her exercise science degree in 1993.

Their early relationship was on-again, off-again

Given their devotion to their faith, one might assume Brett and wife Deanna Favre had a shotgun wedding when the latter unexpectedly found herself pregnant at the age of 19. But the pair had already vetoed the idea of walking down the aisle at a young age before learning they were to become parents. And they stuck to their word for a further eight years before finally saying "I do."

That proved to be a smart move as in the wake of daughter Brittany Nicole's 1988 birth, Brett and Deanna's relationship became more on/off than a faulty light switch. The latter explained to The Journal Times, "There were times when we were broken up and we were seeing other people, but we still talked. He called Brittany every day regardless of our relationship, whether we were fighting or whatever. He called her every day." Although Brett had started earning megabucks by this point, Deanna still wanted to prove she could be an independent woman. "I never liked borrowing money or taking money, even from my parents. I just always worked. I worked my way through college as a single mother and I never asked Brett for any child support."

The Favres continued to work through their ups and downs

Brett and Deanna Favre's love story may well have ended for good in 1996 after they agreed to a make-or-break year. The pair believed they'd been going through the motions at the time and having lived separately since the former's signing with the Green Bay Packers in 1992, they decided to have one last throw of the dice. Deanna subsequently moved to Wisconsin with their eldest daughter in order to spend more time with her childhood sweetheart. She later explained to The Journal Times, "I always knew if the relationship didn't work out, we could always be friends ... We needed to either move in together and try to work it out, or we needed to break it off and go on with our lives. It was kind of like a trial that first year, she said. Boy, was that a tough road."

And Deanna wasn't kidding. It was around this time that Brett started misusing Vicodin, a development that would eventually result in him spending over a month in a rehab center. "It was life-threatening," Deanna said in The Journal Times. "I'm extremely proud of him. He's worked very hard to get where he is." Brett continued to put in the work throughout the years and went to rehab three times for substance abuse over the course of his football career. 

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Their marriage nearly ended before it began

After more than a decade of uncertainty, Brett and Deanna Favre finally decided to take the plunge and become husband and wife in 1996. Unfortunately, their walk down the aisle didn't put a stop to the turbulent nature of their relationship.

In her memoir "Don't Bet Against Me," Deanna revealed that shortly after becoming Mrs. Favre, she caught her husband speaking to another woman on the phone. The philanthropist recalled saying to her other half, "You asked me to move up here to Green Bay and now you're calling these girls — well, you're on your own now. I'm not living this way. All this stuff is over for me.' I had sacrificed a lot to stay in Green Bay and to try to support him, but he didn't acknowledge my sacrifices. I'm not sure he even recognized them."

Of course, Deanna didn't call time on the marriage for good. She was actually persuaded to stay by assistant football coach Steve Mariucci's wife, Gayle Mariucci, who warned her, "Don't leave, or Brett will end up killing himself." Gayle's plea evidently did the trick.

Brett Favre became embroiled in a sexting scandal

Unfortunately, the marital indiscretion that Deanna Favre discovered in the 1990s wasn't the last. In 2010, word got out that New York Jets sideline reporter Jenn Sterger alleged that she'd received both voice messages and intimate photos from Brett Favre two years prior. And things soon got worse when a number of other women came forward to allege that the quarterback had sent them similar material, too.

Per the New York Post, Brett did admit that he'd left Sterger voicemails but denied the accusations that he'd sent any illicit pictures. In response to all the speculation, Deanna told "Good Morning America," "I'm a woman of faith. Faith has gotten me through many difficult struggles. It will get me through this one." Deanna also offered viewers some advice from the self-help book she was promoting at the time, "The Cure for the Chronic Life," which could just have easily applied to her own predicament: "Outward focus, not inward. You have to not let this struggle define you. You have to define your struggle and use it in a good way. You can turn this into success in some way, shape or form."

Brett Favre's wife helped save his life

1995 should have been a banner year for Brett Favre. He'd picked up the first of three consecutive MVPs having guided the Green Bay Packers to an 11-5 record, the team's best result in three decades. He also equaled an NFL record by passing for no fewer than two touchdowns in a dozen games in a row and achieved a career-high quarterback rating of 99.5.

Unfortunately, 1995 was also a year Brett grappled with his addiction to painkillers. He later explained to Sports Illustrated, "It is really amazing, as I think back, how well I played that year. But that year, when I woke up in the morning, my first thought was, 'I gotta get more pills.' I took 14 Vicodin, yes, one time. I was getting an hour or two of sleep many nights. Maybe 30 minutes of quality sleep. I was the MVP on a pain-pill buzz."

Brett eventually sought help, spending 46 days in a rehab center. But he might not have lived to get there had it not been for the help of wife Deanna. The pro sports star recalled, "Without pills, I'd fall asleep at 9:30. But with pills, I could get so much done, I just figured, 'This is awesome.' Little did I know, Deanna would be finding some of my pills and when she did, she'd flush them down the toilet."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Brett Favre isn't the most romantic of partners

It seems fair to say that newlywed life didn't immediately suit Brett and Deanna Favre. You could almost cut the tension with a knife when they gave an interview to Extra in 1997, just a year after getting hitched at Green Bay's St. Agnes Catholic Church. 

The pair looked visibly frosty during the chat which took place during a period, unbeknownst to the public, in which Brett was struggling with his Vicodin addiction. And Deanna was keen to let viewers know that her other half wasn't the perfect husband. "I hate to disappoint a lot of people, but he's not romantic at all," she stated. Brett responded by claiming that there was a good reason he keeps the romance to a minimum. "She gets on me all the time because I never give her compliments," he said. "I don't want to overdo it and tell her she looks great every day and that I love her every day ... because I do."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Deanna Favre helped the NFL star quit drinking

Although Brett Favre worked through his addiction to Vicodin in the mid-1990s, he remained dependent on alcohol for several more years. In fact, it was only when Deanna Favre issued an ultimatum that he finally stopped. The Green Bay Packers legend later explained on an episode of ESPN Classic's "SportsCentury," "I was still drinking and I was not the husband, was not the father that I needed to be. ... My wife said, 'Either you quit drinking or we're gone.' And I said, 'Okay. I'm going to quit.'" Brett headed to a rehab facility in 1998, and he's stuck to his word and has remained sober ever since. 

Brett, who once protested after being banned by the NFL from drinking, told the Chicago Tribune how his priorities had changed. "There was a time when all I cared about was the next game, the next party, the next tee time," he said. "I can't think of one thing that drinking has done that's been good for me or my family."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Deanna Favre was diagnosed with cancer in 2004

After a series of tragedies — including the deaths of Brett's father, Deanna's brother, and Deanna's stepfather — the Favre family suffered more heartbreak with a breast cancer diagnosis. Deanna discovered she had the disease in 2004 and subsequently underwent chemotherapy and a lumpectomy.

Luckily, the former basketball player had the support of her husband through her ordeal. Alongside their daughters, Brett shaved his head as an act of solidarity, as he told ESPN, "I'm gradually cutting it down so I can be like my wife. I had to ease into it. She'll look a hell of a lot better than me without hair, but maybe that will make her feel better. She has to do it, there's no choice. But just whatever support I can give her." And the pair later created a foundation, Favre 4 Hope, which among other things offers support to patients with the same illness.

Deanna, who made a full recovery, later told the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay's outlet The Compass (via E! News) that the series of family hardships had actually brought her and Brett closer together. "All the stuff we've been through over the years has molded us into two different people," she said. "It's awesome to think where we started and where we are now. Our relationship has gotten to a much stronger point, a deeper love; we have so much respect and love for each other."

Brett Favre's extra special Hall of Fame moment

In 2016, Deanna Favre joined Kim Singletary on the exclusive list of wives given the honor of enshrining their husbands in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In a video package that played ahead of the presentation, Deanna said, "It was just exciting every time he got that snap and dropped back. He played risky, he was always going to do something crazy if it meant he could pull off a win."

After announcing that Deanna would be the one to present him with the trophy, Brett gushed about his other half. "Deanna is the best teammate I've ever had. She has been by my side throughout this journey and I'm so excited that she gets to play such an important role for me," he said in a statement ahead of the ceremony, per ESPN. However, the former quarterback did admit that in other circumstances, Deanna wouldn't have been his first choice. When asked by ESPN about his late father, Irv Favre, Brett responded, "My dad would have been, he definitely would have been doing it. And I'll talk about that during the induction. But you're right. Had he been around, he would be doing it."

Brett and Deanna Favre are now grandparents

Brett and Deanna Favre first became grandparents in 2010 when daughter Brittany Favre-Mallion gave birth to son Parker, and then again two years later when she and husband Alex Mallion welcomed baby boy AJ into the world. Brittany, who in 2022 appeared on the reality show "Claim to Fame," somehow managed to balance motherhood with her legal studies, graduating from Loyola University's College of Law in 2015. She later told Bleacher Report, "I've wanted to be a lawyer since I was a kid. I looked at successful lawyers the same way aspiring athletes look at my dad. Naturally, I've changed paths a few times, but it was more to do with my level of self-confidence and less to do with my dream of becoming a lawyer."

While the Favres' first-born is making a name for herself in the legal world, their second is fast becoming the family's latest sporting star. Breleigh Favre, who was born in 1999, began her collegiate volleyball career at her dad's alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi, before transferring to LSU.

Deanna Favre beat her husband in a triathlon

Deanna Favre closed the door on her professional basketball ambitions when she was a teenager, but her athletic prowess didn't go anywhere. In 2015, she proved her skills were still very much intact when she triumphed over the husband who was actually able to progress his own sporting career.

Both Deanna and Brett Favre participated in the Key West Triathlon, as reported by The Washington Post. And whereas the latter finished the mix of swimming, cycling and running in a creditable 184th place with a time of one hour and 35 minutes, the former crossed the line in an even more impressive 97th in under 90 minutes.

Perhaps to save face, the former NFL star competed under the name Brett Lorenzo, the latter being his middle name. But to be fair, he did acknowledge on Instagram that he'd been left for dust by his other half. "Have to give credit when due," he wrote. "Deanna kicked my butt in the tri. Not only is she beautiful but tenacious as well." This couple can weather trials, tribulations, and triathlons.