The Double Life Of Aaron Rodgers

This article references drug misuse and allegations of homophobia. 

Aaron Rodgers is one of the NFL's golden boys: amiable, talented, handsome, and eligible, but there's a lot more to the quarterback than meets the eye. The athlete's personal life has been a mess ever since the Green Bay Packers quarterback first made it big, and his relatives — including his famous ex-girlfriend, Olivia Munn — have been more than happy to go public about the acrimony within his family tree. It's not entirely clear how the bad blood in this bloodline began, and different sources report different causes for the feuding. No one seems to want to take responsibility for it. While Rodgers and Munn were dating, the tabloids seemed eager to blame her for the beef, despite it existing years before she entered the QB's life.

The more this star athlete's family members pursue fame and relevance in their own right, and the more his exes speak out, the clearer a picture we're able to paint about just what went wrong in this family, and how Aaron may not be entirely the victim in all of this. This is the double life of Aaron Rodgers. 

He's supposedly estranged from his brothers and parents

Although Aaron Rodgers' younger brother, Jordan Rodgers, won "The Bachelorette" in 2017, Aaron doesn't seem too thrilled about it. On the show, Jordan described his family's relationship with Aaron as being complicated and Jordan's hometown visit revealed some clear tension when Aaron's name came up. During the episode, one family member said (via Fox News), "The past year or two, his brother hasn't been a part of [Jordan's] life ... he really misses Aaron, but doesn't like talking about it." While addressing the troubled relationship he shares with his brother,  Jordan claimed, "He doesn't approve of my lifestyle." Aaron also is noticeably absent from family photos on Jordan and their brother Luke Rodgers' Instagram accounts. 

Still, Aaron didn't seem to sweat his name getting dragged through the mud on the reality dating competition. "I haven't seen the show, to be honest with you, so it hasn't really affected me a whole lot," Aaron told WISN. When the hosts prodded him on why he and Jordan are supposedly distant, the QB remained evasive. "I've always found that it's a little inappropriate to talk publicly about some family matters ... but I wish him well in the competition." 

Did he clash with his family's beliefs?

In December 2013, gossip blog, The Fame Driven started publishing theories that Aaron Rodgers was secretly gay and in a romantic relationship with his best friend and roommate, Kevin Lanflisi. In one such video accusing the athlete of keeping his sexuality quiet, the blog cites interviews with Aaron concerning their relationship as well as some fairly innocuous tweets from Lanflisi as being irrefutable proof that the two were more than just platonic pals. A source quoted by Perez Hilton also stated, "There has been speculation for years here in Wisconsin that Aaron is gay." Addressing the rumors on ESPN Milwaukee (via Fox News), the QB insisted, "I'm not gay ... I really, really like women. That's all I can say about that."

It's an individual's choice to decide if one wants to discuss their sexuality. But if the rumors are true, they could create tension with some of Aaron's conservative Christian family members. Brother Jordan Rodgers was a member of a Christian fundamentalist group at Vanderbilt University, where, according to a commenter on Outsports article, he allegedly voiced his opposition to allowing gay students to join the group. Perhaps Aaron disagrees with his family members' views, or maybe he just doesn't want to get dragged into any fallout related to such alleged views. Either way, it could explain why the football star may want to keep his distance.

A former teammate threw him under the bus

While many of Aaron's teammates adore him and comment frequently on his friendliness, he has reportedly iced out others. Tight end Jermichael Finley told Bleacher Report that Aaron never gave him his cellphone number through six seasons together, and he doesn't view the quarterback as a good leader. "In my opinion, he's a different guy," Finley said. "To tell you the truth, it was all about his game and his stats." The football player continued by saying that Rodgers quietly held onto resentments for a long time, adding: "I just don't think he was a natural-born leader. He wasn't put on Earth to lead." He explained that unlike natural leaders, the Packers quarterback didn't respond to confrontation well and was scared of criticism.

That wasn't the only time Finley fired off insults at his former teammate, but Rodgers responded to the narrative about his leadership on "The Pat McAfee Show" in 2021. "It's absolute horses*** to give a platform to people who have no idea what they're talking about as far as my mental state and my focus," he insisted. He also told ESPN Milwaukee (via Packers Wire) that he had personally checked in with Finley after his career-ending injury and thought they had a good working relationship. "At what point did J-Mike think I was a bad leader?" Rodgers asked. "It couldn't have been when I was up in his room every Saturday night before games going over plays."

Did he ditch his fam for his girlfriend?

Aaron Rodgers' family members reportedly weren't fans of ex-girlfriend Olivia Munn, who he dated from 2014 to 2017. A source told Us Weekly that Aaron ditched the rest of the Rodgers clan to be with Munn. "Aaron is the one that has pulled away from the family, not the reverse. When he got together with Olivia Munn, his family told him they didn't trust her and thought she wasn't with him for the right reasons. That made him furious, and he ended up choosing Olivia over his family," the insider claimed, alleging that the actor's personality clashed with his family's values.

Furthermore, Aaron's father, Ed Rodgers, told The New York Times that a Bleacher Report story that claimed the family feud began when Aaron and Munn began dating was accurate, adding, "Fame can change things." The New York Times reported that Aaron had politely declined to discuss the private matter when questioned about it by the press, stating, "I just don't think it's appropriate talking about family stuff publicly." Apparently, Ed didn't see it that way. "It's good to have it all come out ... It's complicated," he said. "We're all hoping for the best."

Aaron said Olivia was not the problem

Despite all the bad blood and the gossip concerning who had caused it, a source close to Olivia Munn told People that she was not behind the family rift. "This is not her issue; this is the Rodgers family issue," they insisted. "Aaron has never wanted want to air this out in a public forum," The insider further explained that there had been existing family difficulties before the actor came along.

Aaron made his feelings about Munn clear when he praised her in an interview with ESPN (via Extra). "With Olivia, I have that person who is in my corner always, is willing to make me a priority and be understanding with my life and everything that comes with it," he observed. "Surrounding yourself with encouraging, positive people [helps me live a] healthier, happier, life on and off the field." If it's true that he ditched his family when he hooked up with Munn, that statement could be the baller's way of throwing some subtle shade at his brood, implying that his family members may not be a positive influence on how he wants to live his life.

But did she fan the flames?

While Olivia Munn insisted she was not involved in the Rodgers family feud, her social media activity told another story. After the Green Bay Packers lost to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game, the actor posted a photo of a handwritten note that said, "So proud of this team. They faced a lot of adversity on and off the field but battled to get this far. Thank you to those of you who encouraged and supported them by choosing to put out only positive energy. It helped them get this far." No shade there, right?

Except after posting that, sports gossip blog Terez Owens alleged that she promptly began liking comments from fans who were dissing the quarterback's family, including one that read, "Thank you for standing by Aaron when his own family sold stories to the media in recent weeks and tried very hard to wreck his momentum. He is lucky to have found you. Real love is a gift." Munn could have just as easily done nothing, but by liking comments like that, she may have deliberately sent a very passive-aggressive message to her boyfriend's fam.

Munn spilled the beans on the Rodgers family rift

In May 2018, 13 months after Olivia Munn and Aaron Rodgers broke up, the actor used an appearance on SiriusXM's "Andy Cohen Live" to state that her ex-boyfriend's relatives are all at fault for the acrimony within their relationship. Munn claimed that she was friendly with Jordan Rodgers and had even met Aaron's parents a couple of times. She also suggested that Aaron hadn't spoken to his family for eight years before they began dating and that she tried to get them to reconcile. 

As she told it, Aaron had renewed a dialogue with his parents, but the good will didn't last. In part, that was because the family may have been too into Aaron's sports career. "I do believe that family and fame and success can be really complicated if their dreams are connected to your success," Olivia said. "There's a lot of complications. I don't think either side of the road is clean, but I do think it's not okay if you try to stand on someone's shoulders, then throw dirt in their face."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Aaron never responded — but Jordan did! Speaking with Us Weekly, he said, "I'll say I have no idea why she's still talking about an ex, I don't get that." 

He had to avoid politics with fiance Shailene Woodley

Aaron Rodgers announced his engagement to the actor Shailene Woodley in his 2021 MVP speech, reflecting on how crazy 2020 had been for him. "I got engaged and I played some of the best football of my career," he revealed. Some were confused about how the pair managed to avoid fighting about politics since Woodley is an avid environmentalist and Bernie Sanders supporter. But sources told People that they managed to avoid conflict by just ignoring certain subjects or accepting that they would never fully understand each other's perspective. "They are not talking about their politics, and they never really have," one source explained. "They disagreed on a lot of things. Early on, they decided to agree to disagree about things and not debate them." 

However, Woodley did stand up for her fiance during the controversy over his unvaccinated status, posting a series of Instagram stories in response to news articles claiming to have spotted Rodgers grabbing a takeaway coffee. "Literally ya'll need to calm the f*** down. This is straight up hilarious," she wrote, pointing out the physical differences between Rodgers and the man in the photograph. "News outlets still grasping at straws to disparage Aaron. Finding random f***ing men on the streets of LA and saying it's him."

Rodgers and Woodley split up in 2022

But by February 2022, the pair had split. Inside sources blamed their intense professional lives, explaining that the couple both took their respective careers very seriously and didn't spend enough time together. "It was an amicable split; it just wasn't working," one anonymous source told People, insisting that there was no acrimonious reason for the separation. "They're very different people with busy careers and there were obstacles that they couldn't surmount," they added, claiming that they were going to stay in touch and maintain a friendly relationship. "... There's no bad blood and no drama. It just didn't work out for them."

Woodley later reflected on how the public scrutiny had ruined their relationship, telling Net-a-Porter that she had never considered her personal life to be a subject of public speculation. "Then, I dated somebody in America who was very, very famous," the actor recalled. "It was the first time that I'd had a quote-unquote 'famous' relationship." She added that the media attention around them as a couple, especially given the controversy over his opinions, had soured her experience and even convinced her to delete her social media. "It just felt violating in a way that, before, it was fun."

He lied about being vaccinated

During his 2021 season, Aaron Rodgers faced the biggest scandal of his career when it was revealed that he had misled the public about being vaccinated for COVID-19. He tested positive for the virus on November 3 and the rules for unvaccinated players at that time were clear: he had to stay isolated for 10 days regardless of symptoms or subsequent tests. An inside source subsequently claimed to NBC Sports that Rodgers was infuriated by his vaccination status being leaked to the public. During the subsequent backlash, he was dropped by sponsors and criticized by sports legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for hurting the reputation of professional athletes, per Reuters.

In 2020, Rodgers had previously told journalists that he had been immunized when they asked him directly whether he had received the COVID-19 vaccine. After it was revealed that the football player had never actually been vaccinated, Rodgers insisted that he had technically told the truth, even if he hadn't gone into detail about the alternative medicine he'd pursued. "I'd been ready the entire time for this question," Rodgers explained during an episode of "The Joe Rogan Experience." He admitted that he had planned how he would get around the topic and said "immunized" to keep his answer deliberately vague. But as NBC Sports pointed out, he had been appearing at indoor press events without a face mask, deliberately leading journalists to believe that he was one of the vaccinated players who was allowed to do so by NFL protocol.

He cost his team hundreds of thousands

Aaron Rodgers is a valuable player and his contract reflects that. He became the highest-paid quarterback in the league during the 2022-2023 season with a stunning salary of $50 million a year. But he cost his team more money in 2021 when the Packers were fined $300k and he was personally fined $14,650 for breaking the NFL's COVID-19 protocols.

Alongside wide receiver Allen Lazard, it was revealed that Rodgers had attended a Halloween party despite being unvaccinated, putting everyone there at risk. The NFL review found that they had violated the rules of the league and NFL Players Association protocols through their party attendance, as well as by repeatedly failing to wear face masks around the team facilities. They also pronounced that the Packers should have responded to this situation by penalizing their players, which is why the team was fined. There was no evidence that the team as a whole was promoting an atmosphere of COVID-19 guideline violations.

"We respect the League's findings and we recognize the importance of adherence to the COVID protocols to keep our team and organization safe and healthy," Packers president Mark Murphy told NFL Media in an official response, promising that players like Rodgers would have to follow the rules even if they were unvaccinated COVID-19 skeptics. "We will continue to educate the team regarding the importance of the protocols and remain committed to operating within the protocols."

He spread conspiracy theories

In the wake of his vaccination scandal, Aaron Rodgers defended himself by going on "The Pat McAfee Show" and making false claims about the vaccine. Stating, "I'm not some sort of anti-vax, flat-earther. I am somebody who is a critical thinker," the NFL star argued that he had been the victim of a misinformation campaign. He went on to insist that unvaccinated people weren't more at risk from the virus and that doctors didn't know how the vaccine would affect people's fertility in the long run. 

Per USA Today, in reality, the CDC found that COVID-19 was 11 times more fatal for unvaccinated patients. He also alleged that big pharmaceutical companies were the ones discrediting alternative solutions like the anti-parasite medication ivermectin. This was despite the fact that small studies claiming to prove the drug's potential effectiveness were deemed by experts to have been low quality, without merit, and performed with bias, per PolitiFact.

A teammate revealed that Rodgers had also previously spoken about September 11th conspiracy theories. DeShone Kizer, who had been a quarterback for the Packers, told "The Breneman Show" that the star interrogated him about the terrorist attack during one of their first conversations together. When Kizer said that he believed the reported narrative regarding the incident, Rodgers told him enigmatically, "You should read up on that." The player reportedly introduced him to a variety of conspiracy theories, with Kizer explaining, "We really bonded over that and started sharing some books and talking about some other things. Got into history, and business, and finance."

He opened up about his ayahuasca use

While Aaron Rodgers was opening up about his thoughts on medical science, he also revealed that he had flown out to Peru in order to try ayahuasca. The plant-based psychedelic contains DMT and is usually served as a brewed drink during spiritual ceremonies. Rodgers credited his successful 2020 MVP season to the drug and said that he might use it again, telling the "Aubrey Marcus Podcast" that it had helped him access unconditional love for himself and others. "I came back and knew I was never going to be the same," the football player explained, adding that he had felt hundreds of hands reaching out to him during the hallucinogenic experience. "I really feel like that set me on my course ... to be way more free at work, as a leader, as a teammate," he noted. 

His confession sparked a lot of discussion over whether Rodgers had broken NFL rules. However, in the end, a spokesperson for the league explained that his off-season ayahuasca experiment didn't count as substance misuse or involve a performance-enhancing substance, per ESPN. Controversial YouTube personality Jake Paul also came forward in 2023 to reveal that he had once consumed the psychoactive beverage with Rodgers. "Aaron and I were actually together when we did the ayahuasca," Paul told Fox News. "... We spent the week there doing it ... going into the deepest parts of the mind."