The Biggest Rumors About Tom Brady

Tom Brady is the undisputed NFL G.O.A.T., having won seven Super Bowl titles and retired as No. 1 in NFL history when it comes to completions (7,753), pass attempts (12,050), yards (89,214), passing touchdowns (649), starts (333), QB wins (251), Pro Bowl nods (15), and Super Bowl MVPs (five). Given his status, it's no surprise fans want to know everything about him which, in turn, has led to a lot of rumors over the years.

From his post-retirement career move to his split with Gisele Bündchen, his cryptic love life, and more, Brady is no stranger to making headlines, even if not everything that's reported about him is true. Like in May 2023 when New York Post sports columnist Andrew Marchand predicted there was a 51% chance he'd walk away from his sports broadcasting career and the reported 10-year, $375 million contract with Fox Sports. Brady responded to said prediction by commenting on a Sports Illustrated Instagram post with two simple words: "Fake News." Even so, despite his best effort to set the record straight, Brady has continued to generate plenty of speculation over all aspects of his life. Here are all the biggest rumors about Tom Brady and how they landed.

Tom Brady's role in Deflategate, explained

Back in 2015, Tom Brady's fourth Super Bowl win was overshadowed by Deflategate, and the headline-making drama threatened to taint his entire career. It all started that January when linebacker D'Qwell Jackson gifted an intercepted football to a Colts equipment staff member, who thought there was something unusual about the ball being used during the Colts-Patriots game and reported it, per ESPN. A review found that 11 of 12 balls used in the first half were indeed underinflated, and the NFL launched an official investigation. "I have no explanation for what happened," Brady said at the time. "I didn't alter the ball in any way."

Well, that's not what the final 243-page report, which was published in May 2015, found. Rather, it concluded that Brady probably had knowledge of what was happening, and he was suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2015 season. In a letter to Brady, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent wrote, per NFL, "You were at least generally aware of the actions of the Patriots' employees involved in the deflation of the footballs." 

Vincent also condemned Brady for not cooperating with the investigation and refusing to provide electronic evidence, like texts and emails. "Your actions as set forth in the report clearly constitute conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the game of professional football," Vincent wrote. The Patriots were also fined $1 million and lost two draft picks, although, as USA Today noted, the advantages of playing with a deflated football are unclear.

Tom's take on those Miami Dolphins ownership rumors

Tom Brady took football fans by surprise in August 2023 when he invested in the other football, buying a stake in British soccer team Birmingham City. Turns out, it wasn't the first time Brady toyed with the idea of ownership. According to multiple reports, the G.O.A.T. nearly became a minority stakeholder in the Miami Dolphins back in 2022. 

That April, Pro Football Talk reported that the Dolphins were working on a deal that would make Brady a minority owner and pave the way for them to get Sean Payton to sign on as head coach. Once that happened, they allegedly planned to also add Brady to their lineup as the team's new star quarterback. However, the deal reportedly fell apart after former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL. What's more, The Boston Globe noted that perhaps the real reason why Brady unretired after just 40 days and returned to the Buccaneers was because his Dolphins deal fell apart.

Interestingly, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel told reporters, "That has not been in the conversation." As for Brady, he played coy. "I had a lot of conversations with a lot of people, as I've had for the last three or four years of my career about, you know, different opportunities when I'm done playing football," he said. But the future may still see him with the Dolphins. As Pro Football Talk noted, he's close with Bruce Beal, the "successor-in-waiting" to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.

The real reason he and Gisele Bündchen divorced

Tom Brady's career isn't the only thing that gets people talking. His personal life has also made plenty of headlines, and when he and Gisele Bündchen announced they were splitting after 13 years of marriage in October 2022, speculation ran rampant. Folks couldn't stop wondering what happened, and most theories pointed to Brady's career being the main issue. After all, Bündchen told Elle just a month earlier that she wasn't thrilled about Brady's unretirement. "This is a very violent sport, and I have my children and I would like him to be more present," she shared. "I have definitely had those conversations with him over and over again."

Following news of the divorce, TMZ reported that the supermodel had actually threatened to leave on multiple occasions because she wanted her hubby to step back from football. Indeed, an insider told People, "[The problems] are 10 years old. This has been going on forever." And while Bündchen initially kept mum, she eventually told Vanity Fair in March 2023 that it was about football, but also much more. "What's been said is one piece of a much bigger puzzle," she mused. "It's not so black and white." Rather, she put much of the blame on shifting priorities. "When I was 26 years old and he was 29 years old, we met, we wanted a family, we wanted things together," she recalled. "As time goes by, we realize that we just wanted different things."

What his relationship with Donald Trump is really like

It may seem unlikely, but Tom Brady and Donald Trump appear to share a real friendship. Back in 2015, folks were surprised to see a MAGA hat in Brady's locker, which turned out to be a gift sent directly by Trump. Its presence raised a lot of questions and Brady told WEEI, as shared by ESPN, that they first met in 2002 when he was asked to judge a Miss USA pageant. They apparently hit it off and kept in touch. 

"He's a good friend and we've had a lot of time on the golf course together over the years," Brady revealed, adding, "He always gives me a call and different types of motivational speeches at different times." He also praised Trump's business acumen, noting, "It's pretty amazing what he's been able to accomplish as an entrepreneur, a television star, and now running for political office." Asked in 2015 if he'd like to see his friend win the presidency, he told reporters "That would be great" and quipped, "There'd be a putting green on the White House lawn." As for Trump, he showed support for Brady during Deflategate, tweeting, "Tom is my friend and a total winner!"

Even so, the tides may have shifted. In 2016, Brady declined Trump's offer to speak at the Republican National Convention — "The political support is totally different than the support of a friend," he explained to Howard Stern – and later downplayed their friendship altogether. In July 2022, he told Variety, "I haven't talked to him in a lot of years."

Fans really, really believed he was on 'The Masked Singer'

Tom Brady had many fans convinced he was secretly taking part in "The Masked Singer" when he missed 11 days of training camp in August 2022. At the time, Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles told reporters, per Pro Football Talk, "He's going to deal with some personal things." No one knew what said things were, but a whole slew of people were sure it was taking part in the reality TV competition. 

Brady quickly shut down the speculation, taking to Twitter to proclaim, "Wasn't on the masked singer last week." He also addressed the rumors on his podcast, "Let's Go! with Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray."  "I don't know where they get all these things," he laughed. "It wasn't me — I wasn't masked and I'm not a singer, so that wouldn't really fit my profile." He also joked that he's only good at one thing — football — and quipped, "Other than that, I'm basically worthless."

Despite his proclamations, "The Masked Singer" tried to keep the speculation going. In a clip obtained by TMZ just two days after Brady's tweet, judge Ken Jeong was seen trying to guess Hummingbird's identity and saying, "He just got fined for not showing up to training camp because he is here on 'The Masked Singer' — this is seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady!" In the end, Hummingbird was revealed to be NSYNC's Chris Kirkpatrick.

Is Ron DeSantis his new BFF?

While Tom Brady has actively tried to downplay his relationship with Donald Trump, rumors of another budding political friendship took off in late 2022. According to some reports, the famous quarterback is BFFs with Ron DeSantis — or, at the very least, he's on texting terms with the 2024 presidential hopeful.

It all started in September 2022 when Republican Tim Michels, who was running for Wisconsin governor at the time, hosted DeSantis in Green Bay. The pair attended a Packers game at Lambeau Field and Michels shared a surprise moment from that night during an October campaign event. "I look over and he's texting and he says, 'How do you spell Lambeau?'" Michels recalled, per The New York Times. He asked DeSantis who he was texting and the response took him by surprise. "He says, 'I'm texting with Tom Brady," Michels told his supporters. "The governor of Florida gets to text with Tom Brady!"

It wasn't the first time Brady was linked to the DeSantis family. Back in March 2021, Casey DeSantis posted a video of Brady to her Instagram in which he openly backed her Resilience Florida program. "So proud to have support from @tombrady for our new resiliency initiative," she enthused.

Politics may be in Tom Brady's future

Given how friendly Tom Brady appears to be with politicians, many have wondered if he himself might consider running for office. Indeed, the football champ told ESPN in 2004 that becoming a U.S. Senator would be his "craziest ambition." The following year, 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft asked Brady if he was interested in politics, to which he coyly replied, "It's something I like, and something I'm always staying on top of." 

Interestingly, though, The Smoking Gun discovered in 2004 that he had never actually voted, despite being registered as an independent in both California and Michigan. But that hasn't stopped some folks from hoping he'd put his name on the ballot. In March 2023, Tampa Bay Times reported how, during Jane Castor's run for reelection for Tampa mayor, 5,600 voters decided to fill in the blank line on the ballot, and "more than a few" wrote Brady's name.

So could it really happen? Expert opinion has been divided. While journalist Drew Magary proclaimed in Defector that Brady wouldn't run for office — "Tom Brady will become one of those dudes who loves being ASKED to run for public office but never actually does," he mused — others disagree. Reporter Erec Smith wrote an opinion piece for York Daily Record in which he noted, "It's not as crazy as it sounds." Smith argued that Brady had mass appeal, could unite the nation, and pointed to the successes of Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger as clear indicators that it's not as far-fetched as it seems.

Inside Tom Brady's headline-making love life

Following Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen's October 2022 split, interest in the football great's love life has flourished. It seems both tabloids and fans can't resist speculating over Brady's potential new matches, especially when they're equally famous. 

In July 2023, for example, he was linked to Kim Kardashian after they both showed up at Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin's famed Fourth of July white party. However, Rubin shut down the rumors, telling ET, "Honestly, they're just friends." Another source agreed and told Page Six the pair barely spoke because "he was talking to different women."

That same month, sources told TMZ that Brady was actually dating model Irina Shayk after meeting her at the May wedding of billionaire Joe Nahmad and model Madison Headrick. One source told Page Six, "She followed him around all weekend. She was throwing herself at him." Another insider shared a similar story. "The wedding was crawling with A-listers, but Irina made a beeline for Tom," they told InTouch. "She made the first move and pretty much seduced him — not that he wasn't willing!" Adding fuel to the rumors was the fact that TMZ spotted Shayk heading to Brady's Los Angeles home and not leaving until the following morning. They also snapped the couple sharing a brief PDA moment inside a car as Brady was seen caressing Shayk's cheek.

Will Tom Brady keep unretiring?

Tom Brady likes to keep fans guessing. The famed quarterback initially retired in February 2022, only to return to the game 40 days later. Explaining his surprise decision, he told TNT, via ESPN, "We got right to free agency and I felt some pressure to do it." A year later, Brady supporters had a big case of deja vu when he filed for retirement again. "I'll get to the point right away: I'm retiring — for good," Brady announced on Twitter in February 2023, adding, "Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream."

Not surprisingly, folks weren't buying it. In March, NFL Network host Rich Eisen claimed he heard some interesting rumors at the 2023 NFL Combine that suggested, "Tom Brady may not be done after all." The following month, Brady was asked point-blank if he would unretire and join the Miami Dolphins, and he simply ignored the question. Then, in July, his former Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammate Antoine Winfield Jr. told "The Richard Sherman Podcast" he's convinced the team would like him back. "I'm sure we still reaching out to him, trying to see if he's trying to come back to the team," he laughed. "It could happen!"

It wasn't until June 2023 that Brady finally tried to put the rumors to rest. "I'm certain I'm not playing again," he told Sports Illustrated, adding he was instead excited to join Fox as a broadcaster in 2024 and become a minority owner of the Las Vegas Raiders.