What Mary Lou Retton Blames For Her Divorce From Shannon Kelley

In 1984, Mary Lou Retton became a household name when she won the gold medal for artistic gymnastics at the Los Angeles Summer Olympics. After making her debut on the global athletic stage, the West Virginia-born talent continued to make a huge impact in the sports world, resulting in her induction into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Houston Sports Hall of Fame in 2020. During the height of her Olympic stardom, the beloved talent set her sights on another American dream: getting married and starting a family. 

In 1990, Retton married Shannon Kelley, who previously had his own career in the sports sphere as a college quarterback. In the years following their union, the happy couple welcomed four daughters: McKenna, Shayla, Skyla, and Emma. Unfortunately, Retton and Kelley's union ended in 2017 when the couple filed for divorce after 27 years of marriage. 

While the former gymnast kept the details of her divorce private at the time of her filing, she later revealed the emotional reason behind their separation during her stint on "Dancing With the Stars."

Mary Lou Retton said that she and Shannon Kelley grew apart

In 2018, Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton competed on the 27th season of the hit series "Dancing With the Stars." While her performance on the show wowed viewers, her surprise confession of divorcing her husband, Shannon Kelly, truly captured fan attention. "I went through a divorce. People don't know that. It's the first time I've actually said it publically after 27 years," she said, per Yahoo! Entertainment. "It was hard. I felt very alone. We still love one another, but we weren't great together anymore."

In an additional interview with People, Retton gave further insight into her divorce and why they decided to call it quits. "There wasn't one defining moment ... it was that we grew apart," she said. "I'm not one to air my dirty laundry, but for the entire show, I kept talking about my struggles and challenges and how I lost myself and all of that." She also opened up about why she decided to announce her break-up on the show. "I just felt this is my chance to really be clear and to be transparent to people. I just wanted to be authentic," she added.

Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Kelley had a pretty intense divorce

While Mary Lou Retton has assured fans that she remains on good terms with her ex-husband, Shannon Kelley, their divorce proceedings were reportedly not as smooth. According to The Blast, which obtained court documents from their split, the former Olympic athlete asked for a temporary restraining order, preventing him from communicating with her. She also said that their marriage was at a point of no return due to their conflicting personalities destroying any chance of reconciliation.

After three months of mediation, the two reached a settlement that saw them selling their two homes and opting out of child support, resulting in the two taking home $1.955 million each. Since their divorce was finalized, Retton has focused on her various career endeavors and her daughters' lives, which she has highlighted on her Instagram

However, in October 2023, Retton's children revealed that the former gymnast was in the hospital battling a rare case of pneumonia. "She is not able to breathe on her own. She's been in the ICU for over a week now," they revealed on a Spotfund page, which was made to raise money for Retton's medical bills. On October 11, the athlete's second eldest daughter, Shayla Kelley Schrepfer, updated fans on Instagram, stating: "She's still fighting. It's going to be a day-by-day process, and we hope that you guys will respect her boundaries, as we want to keep the details between her and our family right now."