The Untold Truth Of Rob Gronkowski

After nine seasons with the New England Patriots, Robert "Rob" Gronkowski announced his retirement. "Its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for [the] rest of my life," he wrote, in part, in a March 2019 statement posted to his Instagram. That retirement didn't take; on April 23, 2020, he announced that he was returning to the NFL — not with the Patriots, however, but with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in order to join his longtime teammate, Tom Brady, who had left the Pats earlier that year to play with the Buccaneers.

Gronkowski retired again in 2022, this time seemingly for good. The record-breaking athlete –  nicknamed "Gronk" — will be remembered for his four Super Bowl rings, but also for his enthusiasm on the field and his dedication to the sport, which included an insane workout regimen that leaves us out of breath from just thinking about it.

Whatever he decides to do next, Gronkowski has cemented his legacy as, according to USA Today, the "greatest tight end in NFL history." In tribute to the guy who proudly wore No. 87 on his jersey, who played hard and partied even harder, keep on reading to discover a wealth of obscure facts and info by exploring the untold truth of Rob Gronkowski.

Roughhousing shaped the lives of these 'monster athletes'

Growing up as one of five sons to Gordon Gronkowski Sr. and Diane Walters, Rob Gronkowski was surrounded by what Esquire described as "monster athletes." Despite the endless amount of testosterone raging throughout the Gronkowski household, the unparalleled competitor told ESPN his childhood "was a blast." But he also admitted his three older brothers would get physical with him, and their parents allowed it. "They wouldn't break it up because they would get hit if they tried to get in the middle of it," he said.

There was a bright side, though. All of the roughhousing made him physically and "mentally tough." Besides, it wasn't like he was going to really get hurt. His dad set some strict rules to along with the madhouse: "You can never ever throw a punch in the face or to the nuts, everything else went," Rob recounted on "Kneading Dough." Fair.

As they got older, the Gronk boys infused that energy into their professional careers, taking the sports world by storm by following in their dad's footsteps, a former football player for Syracuse University. Rob's eldest brother, Gordon "Gordie" Gronkowski, Jr., played major and minor league baseball, and brothers Dan, Chris, and Glenn Gronkowski each had stints in the NFL.

He and his siblings were 'mistakes,' according to his dad

After his parents, Gordon Gronkowski Sr. and Diane Walters got married (they would later divorce in 2008), they didn't necessarily have a plan in place on how they would proceed in life as a married couple. They definitely didn't have a goal on how many children they would conceive, either. In a startling confession to Esquire, Gordon admitted that Rob Gronkowski and his four brothers "were all mistakes, if you want to put it that way." Now we know where Rob gets his bluntness from!

Gordon attempted to clean up that admittedly harsh-sounding statement by adding, "I shouldn't say mistakes. That sounds terrible. None of them was a mistake. God gifted us with them. Unplanned, let's use that," he said. Okay. Better. Sort of.

Those unplanned births turned life into "total hell" — as Rob's brother Chris put it — for Gordon Sr. as he struggled to make ends meet, but he eventually experienced success when he opened "his first gym-equipment store with his brother as his partner." Rob and the rest of Gordon Sr.'s mistakes – ahem, we mean sons — have joined his gym equipment empire, now known as Gronk Fitness Products.

He's not big on books

Rob Gronkowski is proud that he attended the University of Arizona as an undergrad, a school which he declared to be the top party school in America. We have no doubt he kept his head in the books when he wasn't at football practice, but was he actually reading the literature? Not a chance.

During an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Gronkowski claimed he hadn't read a book since ninth grade, "When they made me — you know, you don't raise your hand, but they call on you?" he said. He was clearly joking, right? We're not sure, actually, since he then tried to recall the title of said book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird," by referring to it as both "A Mocking to Remember" and "A Mockingbird to Remember." Oh. Em. Gee.

But he penned his own 2015 memoir, "It's Good to Be Gronk." Surely, he read it since he wrote it, right? Wrong! He admitted to Maria Menounos during a Sirius XM interview he had only read "about like 80 percent of it." However, there was one book he couldn't put down, the one that really mattered to him: his Patriots playbook. "There are so many plays, so many coverages. You just want to learn the game of football, to learn as much as you can," he told Sports Illustrated.

Gronk was a party animal in college

Rob Gronkowski was the life of the party while attending the University of Arizona. He and his brothers even turned their off-campus home into party central, affectionately known as "Club G," according to his book, "It's Good to Be Gronk."

On one particular occasion during his time as an undergrad, he hung up his party hat to help his friend work security at a bachelorette party. Gronkowski told Conan that he took the gig seriously and even donned a suit and tie. Still, the 35 women at the shindig began feeding him alcohol. "They were making me drink their beers. So I was participating. I was getting wasted on the side," he recounted. Sounds about Gronk. 

Then, the ladies goaded him to drop trou. "Next thing you know, I'm taking off my tie, unbuttoning my shirt, taking my pants off — I'm in my boxers only. And I'm just giving these lap dances out to these ladies," he said. At the end of the night, his friend only paid him $25, but something tells us Gronk didn't mind too much. If there are three things this man loves, it's dancing, booze, and "chicks." 

Tom Brady gave him the shakes

Rob Gronkowski had just turned 21-years-old when he entered the National Football League, and he had the honor of playing alongside a man who, at that time, had already won one Super Bowl ring, Tom Brady. The pressure to perform was intense, even during warm-up practices. "I still remember that I was shaking the first time [Brady] threw me a pass. I was like, 'I've gotta catch this, I've gotta catch this," Gronkowski told ESPN. "It was just a 10-yard pass."

He added that he "almost dropped" the pigskin because he was "so nervous." His sub-par practice sessions during those early days didn't impress Brady, either. "He always used to yell at me and get on my case. I was like, 'Man, this dude, why is he coming at me like that?'" Gronkowski said. Brady later approached Gronk, told him he loved him, and said he saw "a lot of potential" in him. Brady just wanted to make sure they were "on the same page." At that moment, Gronkowski said something clicked in him, and his performance turned around for the better.

He wears his clothes 'down to the rags'

With all of the money Rob Gronkowski has earned from his NFL contracts and other deals, it turns out he doesn't actually need that much money to get by at all. In an interview with "Kneading Dough," he told the show's host that his "broke habit" is his clothes and shoes. What did he mean exactly? According to the star player, if he likes certain clothing items, he'll wear them "down to the rags." Even his favorite pair of jeans get worn for seven days in a row, but he makes sure to toss them in the wash on day three. Thank goodness.

As for where this habit of stretching out his clothes came from, he attributed it to growing up in a household of all-boys and wearing his older bros' old 'fits. "Whatever my brothers had — hockey equipment, baseball equipment, even clothes — [my parents] used to just hand it down to us kids," he explained. "That's why I just feel like I have no problem ever just wearing the same shirt, wearing the same jeans, shorts, until I totally got to finally get rid of them."

He finally splurged on some big purchases

Rob Gronkowski is conservative when it comes to his dough, but he also goes ham every now and then. After he borrowed his friend's "chain," and wore it out to a party, he understood why some people spend a lot of money on jewelry. But, in classic Gronk fashion, he thought long and hard before making such a big purchase. "So then, in the back of my head, I said, 'If I hit all my incentives, if I do everything I need to do, get all my bonuses, put all the work in, I've gotta finally treat myself,'" he told "Kneading Dough." Gronk was actually wearing the chain during the interview, which he proudly showed off to the audience.

That wasn't the only time he bucked his strict money-saving habit and made a pricey purchase. The party lover likely didn't think twice when he and his crew racked up a tab of $102,407 during one night of fun at Shrine at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, according to TMZ. Gronk and his pals guzzled "160 bottles of champagne," and 16 bottles of Grey Goose vodka, to name a few items. Although it was unclear if Gronk actually paid the tab or if the casino comped the big spender, it's still one heck of an expensive lituation!

He retired as a rich man

By the time Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement in March 2019, he was 29 years old — the age when most football tight ends experience a sharp decline in performance, according to FF Today. Considering Gronkowski was sidelined by "back and ankle issues" in the years leading up to his retirement, according to Forbes, it wasn't a complete shock that he decided to pull the plug when he did. But will he be able to survive without a multi-million dollar football contract? You betcha.

Gronkowski made some smart money moves throughout his career, dating back to when he first joined the Patriots in 2010. In a 2018 interview with Business Insider, Gronk revealed he hadn't spent any of the money he had earned while playing professional football, which was nearly $54 million over nine seasons. Instead, he lived off of his paid sponsorships and endorsement earnings, which were all managed by his two older brothers, Chris and Dan Gronkowski, and their dad, Gordon Gronkowski Sr., through the family business, InSite Media Services.

So, how much was he raking in from working with big-name brands, like JetBlue and Dunkin' Donuts? A cool $3.5 million by 2015, according to a tweet posted by ESPN sports and business analyst, Darren Rovell.

He came back for Brady

Back in 2018, former football player and WWE wrestler Mojo Rawley (born Dean Muhtadi), who's also Rob Gronkowski's good friend, discussed rumors that Gronkowski would join the WWE after his football retirement in 2019. "It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of WHEN," Rawley told TMZ Sports in 2018. That prediction came true in 2020, when Gronkowski signed with WWE, making his debut at WrestleMania 36.

Despite Gronkowski's segue from pro football to pro wrestling, speculation remained that he could return to the NFL at some point due to his loyalty to Tom Brady. "If the team was struggling or they needed him at some point next year," Gronkowski's longtime agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said on an ESPN show (via CBS News). "And let's just say hypothetically Tom Brady gave him a call and said 'Rob, I need you.' I wouldn't be shocked if he came back to play a few games."

That came to pass after Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Weeks after making his WWE debut — and about a year after his NFL retirement – Gronkowski exercised a clause in his contract to exit WWE in order to join Brady at his new NFL home with the Buccaneers. Gronkowski played two seasons in Tampa Bay, retiring for a second time in June 2022. Brady would follow suit months later when he announced his second — and presumably final — retirement.

He shared his thoughts about Baby Gronk

There was a time when Rob Gronkowski was the only Gronk around. That changed in 2023 when a kid calling himself Baby Gronk — a 10-year old football phenom whose real name is Madden San Miguel — became a YouTube sensation, thanks to his resemblance to the former Patriot. When his videos started going viral, Baby Gronk became something of a media sensation thanks to his father, Jake San Miguel, who reportedly runs the Baby Gronk social media accounts and has reached out to various brands in the hopes of cashing in on his son.

So how does the real Gronk feel about the pint-sized usurper borrowing his name? Gronkowski answered that question when he was interviewed on the subject by Barstool Sports. "Four weeks ago, my brother told me, 'Yo, have you seen Baby Gronk?' 'Did I see him?' I go. 'His dad f***ing hit me up 500 times already.' He goes, 'Don't do anything with him. The dad is so annoying,'" Gronkowski recalled of how he became aware of Baby Gronk and his dad.

At the time — in June 2023 — Gronkowsi admitted he had already started to feel as if the whole thing had run its course. "It's to the point where it's awkward," he opined. "It's too far."

Becoming a cryptocurrency brand ambassador cost him $1.9 million

Back in 2021, Rob Gronkowski was one of many celebrities who were hired to shill various types of cryptocurrency, a lengthy list that includes such A-listers as Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, and Kim Kardashian. That September, a press release announced that Gronkowski had become brand ambassador for Voyager, a company that was purportedly attempting to bring cryptocurrency investing into the mainstream via a smartphone app. In that release, Voyager CEO and co-founder Stephen Ehrlich declared that the company was relying on the trust that the NFL star had built with his fans.

"When people hear something from Gronk, they know they're getting the real deal," Ehrlich said. Spoiler alert: it was not the real deal. In July 2022, less than a year later, Voyager filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The defunct company was then hit with a class-action lawsuit alleging the whole thing had been an elaborate Ponzi scheme. In January 2023, Gronkowski was subpoenaed and subsequently named as one of the defendants in the case.

In May 2024, the lawsuit was settled. As part of the settlement agreement, Gronkowski was among the defendants who agreed to pay up in order to make the charges against them go away. Pending approval of the settlement, Coindesk reported that Gronkowski — who appeared in advertising spots for Voyager — would be paying $1.9 million for his role in promoting the crypto scam.

He went off-script during Netflix's roast of Tom Brady

When Tom Brady was the guest of honor at Netflix's "The Greatest Roast of All Time" in May 2024, Rob Gronkowski was on the stage to roast his former teammate. As expected, Gronkowski also took his share of jabs, particularly from stand-up comic Nikki Glaser. "No, Rob, you're not really as dumb as you sound, and look, and act, and are — you might be dumber," Glaser quipped (via Us Weekly). "Is it true that you are the first person born with CTE?" 

When it was his turn to roast Brady, Gronkowski reportedly strayed from what had been written on the teleprompter. "We all appreciate Gronk 'cause he just gets to be Gronk," recalled former Patriots star Drew Bledsoe while appearing on "The Dan Patrick Show." "The funny thing is, we're sitting up there on the stage and we can see the teleprompter, and Gronk was so far off script that we did not know if he was coming back."

Gronkowski wrapped up his routine by spiking a shot glass like a football — an unplanned move that shocked everyone onstage. "All of us are like, 'What the f*** just happened?'" comedian Andrew Schulz said while appearing on the "Flagrant" podcast. "A girl in the front row has, like, a piece of shot glass, like, hanging out of her cheek. And I'm not talking about a little thing, her whole cheek is red. She looks like a mime."