The Untold Truth Of Kelly Stafford

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford and Kelly Stafford (then Kelly Hall) met while both were attending the University of Georgia — he was the star quarterback, and she was a cheerleader. The couple tied the knot in 2015 and have since welcomed four children. Together for more than a decade, the pair show no signs of slowing down.

However, while Matthew is quiet and reserved, Kelly has no problems speaking her mind, usually in defense of her husband. In fact, it appears to be her favorite hobby. During an interview with GQ in 2018, then-NFL-rookie Jalen Ramsey said, "You not a bad quarterback if you do what your team asks of you. Matthew Stafford, I think he's straight. I don't think he the best quarterback out there. But he do what he gotta do." Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but not horrible criticism either. Well, Kelly Stafford didn't appreciate that. "Can someone tell me why GQ magazine is interviewing Jalen Ramsey? I understand ESPN...but not GQ...there is nothing 'GQ' About him..." she said on her Instagram Stories (via The Spun), adding, "Just seems like a complete waste of time and space..."

Tighten up those chin straps and huddle up, folks. Here's the untold truth of Kelly Stafford.

Kelly Stafford required brain surgery

In April 2019, Kelly Stafford announced on Instagram that she was diagnosed with a brain tumor after "things that [she] had been doing [her] entire life were now, all of a sudden, difficult." These symptoms led Stafford to go to the ER where an MRI eventually found an "acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma." Stafford admitted that she was "terrified" of the surgery and "the guilt [she] might feel of being absent from [her] kids for too long."

Fortunately, the surgery went well, and Stafford made a full recovery. Six months later, she penned an essay for ESPN about her journey and life after her 12-hour surgery. "These days, I feel pretty good. Days are longer," she wrote. "Some days are hard — some mornings I wake up a little foggy, and know I have to take the day a little slower. It's rarer for me to get dizzy. Background noise can be tough (but also good — sometimes I don't hear what I don't want to hear)."

At the time, Stafford revealed that she may require the use of a hearing aid, but was just happy to be alive. "The doctors said it would take about a year for me to feel symptom-free and have the same energy I had before. Thursday, Oct. 17, marks six months. I'm really excited to hit that marker," she continued.

Matthew Stafford's wife shared her 'biggest fear'

As previously mentioned, in October 2019, Kelly Stafford shared her harrowing health journey in a first-hand essay for ESPN. Recalling how she struggled with dizziness and felt "off" for months, she revealed how she initially brushed her symptoms off as signs of "aging." Matthew Stafford's wife wasn't even 30 yet, but as she wrote, she had more important things to focus on. "As a mom, you're always on the run. You're chasing after your kids or worrying about your family," Kelly mused, noting, "You tend to put yourself on the back burner, so I didn't feel the urgency to go to the doctor." When she did finally seek medical help, she refused an MRI because she "didn't have time."

Luckily, she got her scan just a few weeks later, which is when doctors found the abovementioned "tumor sitting on some of my cranial nerves." Admitting she initially felt numb, Kelly recalled how "as the day went on, my fears started to show themselves." Once again, her family was her main focus. She recalled asking herself, "What if this thing gets taken out and something goes wrong? What if something happens before that?"

But her "biggest fear" wasn't for herself, it was "not being here to raise my girls." Her post-op recovery was also all about her kids and "one of the hardest parts" was "not having the same energy I usually have around the girls, and being able to be an active mom." Jump to April 2021, and Kelly Stafford celebrated a "clean 2-year scan" on Instagram.

Michigan's COVID-19 restrictions didn't sit well with her

On November 15, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer tweeted notice of an emergency order issued by the state's Department of Health and Human Services: "A three-week pause, targeting indoor social gatherings and other group activities" to help fight her state's rising COVID-19 cases and infection rates. Kelly Stafford didn't appreciate this and posted an Instagram Story letting her thoughts known. "I'm so over it. I'm so over living in a dictatorship we call Michigan," she said in the since-deleted rant (via TMZ Sports).

"I understand there's a pandemic, and I understand it's very scary. I'm scared of it too. If you are at risk, do not leave your house until there's a vaccine," she continued. "But, shutting down all these small businesses, things that people have worked their life for, shutting them down again is not the answer. Because they will not make it." Stafford added, "So, once we are able to leave our house, once this dictatorship decides to let us have some freedom, there will be nothing left. I'm just over it. I see all these people and it brings me to tears."

She later apologized in another since-deleted video for her "not so smart use of words" (via The Detroit News). "I'm really sorry. I was in the heat of the moment," Stafford said. "I have a friend losing their business, and it's just getting to me a little bit, so I apologize for calling it a dictatorship."

The NFL's COVID-19 protocols didn't impress Kelly Stafford

On August 1, 2020, Matthew Stafford was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. However, he was removed three days later after it was determined the test was a false positive. "I know everybody is doing the best that they possibly can. I'm glad it happened to me at this point, and the league is trying to change and make sure it doesn't happen again," he said (via ESPN).

Kelly Stafford, on the other hand, didn't take it as well. "I have been losing my mind because of how my Family has been treated since my husband was put on the Covid-IR list," she wrote in an Instagram post that tagged the NFL three times. She claimed that "even after we knew it was a false positive," the family was subject to harassment from people claiming they were endangering the public for doing things like grocery shopping and playing on a playground. Kelly went on to directly blame the league and its "test sites" for turning her life into "a nightmare" as a result of the false positive.

To its credit, the NFL then took steps to prevent such false positives from happening again. However, Matthew was placed on the reserve list again in November 2020 after being exposed to the virus, but tested negative. "Here we go again," Kelly wrote on her Instagram Stories (via the New York Post), adding, "Thank you again NFL for throwing my family out there when no one is positive."

Kelly Stafford criticized Colin Kaepernick then apologized

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality became a divisive issue across the country. The outspoken Kelly Stafford certainly had her opinion on the matter. In a 2017 Instagram post, she shared a quote that stated, in part, that "the anthem is not the national police song." Kelly then suggested the only way to show unity was to stand: "Let's stand united against terrorists, against racism, against white supremacists, against killing of cops, against police brutality, against sex slave trafficking."

Three years later, she understood that she missed the point of Kaepernick's protest. "When Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem, I had strong feelings about it. Even when he kept saying it had nothing to do with the flag or military, I didn't listen," Kelly wrote. "I kept not listening to him or anyone else and let the political rhetoric persuade me that him kneeling was disrespectful to our military." Her change of heart was communicated in yet another Instagram post that revealed she and her husband, Matthew Stafford, were donating $350,000 to "a social justice program for University of Georgia Athletics."

"Over the past several months, I have opened my ears, mind, and heart and it has opened my eyes to see how wrong I was and for that I am sorry," Kelly continued, adding that defeating systemic racism will take all of us. "Matthew and I thought this was a good place to start."

The Staffords are very charitable

The Staffords didn't stop with just the $350,000 social justice donation. In August 2020, the couple announced that they would be donating a total of $1.5 million to the University of Georgia. According to the Detroit Lions' official website, the UGA program would develop "an environment that will effect meaningful change in the areas of areas of diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice for all of the Association's members, including student-athletes, coaches and staff."

"Kelly and I have thought a lot about how we can improve our society and make a meaningful impact on the current social situation. Each and every time, we came back to education, and there's no better place to create that kind of positive change than UGA," the team's then-longtime quarterback, Matthew Stafford, said in a statement. "When we learned more about this program and others across campus, we were happy to lend our support."

"We are incredibly grateful to Matthew and Kelly for their support of this important program and the university as a whole," Director of Athletics Greg McGarity said, adding, "Their generosity will create positive experiences for many students across multiple areas at UGA and will ensure our student-athletes continue to enjoy exceptional experiences on campus."

Kelly Stafford shut down the trade rumors

Matthew Stafford had been the Detroit Lions' starting quarterback since 2009, but after only three playoff games in 12 seasons and $226.5 million in career earnings, the trade rumors began in 2020 when he entered the final year of his contract. And nothing fanned the flames of those rumors more than when the Staffords listed their $6.5 million lakefront mansion in a Detroit suburb for sale.

However, Kelly Stafford quickly put those trade rumors to rest and explained the selling of their house had nothing to do with her husband being shipped off. The reason for the move? A parental decision. "No speculation is needed," Kelly said in a now-deleted Instagram video (via Detroit Free Press). "We're about to have our fourth child and I personally do not want to live on a lake or have a pool with four children under the age of a little over 3. So that is the reason that it's on the market." She added, "It makes us super sad (to sell our home). That house has been incredible. We'll never have another house like it. So it is a super sad thing, but it just makes us feel better knowing that there's no real dangers of having tiny ones running around all the bodies of water, so that is the reason." 

As far as the trade rumors went, Matthew said, "I pay less attention to them than my wife does." Of course, by January 2021, the Lions' longtime QB was traded to the Los Angeles Rams.

If you come for Kelly Stafford's man, you best not miss

If anybody comes for Matthew Stafford with any semblance of criticism, you can be sure that Kelly Stafford will have something to say about it. One of the most staunch defenders of her husband's play, Kelly didn't shy away from slamming a Detroit Free Press reporter who blamed Stafford for the Lions' humiliating 41-21 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in November 2020. Posting a screencap of the article's headline, which claimed "Stafford deserves most of the blame for loss to Colts," Kelly blasted the outlet in her Instagram Story, calling the criticism proof "they have zero idea what they are talking about." She then unleashed (via Yardbarker), "Stick to EVERYTHING besides sports. K thanks, bye."

Jump to November 2021, when Kelly was at a Rams vs. 49ers game and threw a soft pretzel at a 49ers fan doing some good ol' trash talking, per TMZ. The incident was dubbed "pretzelgate" and the NFL WAG eventually apologized. Explaining the hater "was saying a bunch of things that were aggressive towards our crew," she conceded that was "zero excuse" for her behavior and noted, "I'm an idiot." Kelly added she'll "always stand up for my guy and everyone I love, but obviously needed to do it completely different!"

For his part, Matthew took both incidents in good stride, telling his wife following the latter one (via the New York Post), "I wish I was as accurate as you were, but I guess only one person in the family was accurate that night."

Kelly Stafford's wild encounter with Leonardo DiCaprio

Kelly Stafford talks about everything on her podcast, "The Morning After with Kelly Stafford," but one of the most incredible stories she's shared to date was about her run-in with Leonardo DiCaprio. As revealed in a January 2022 episode (via the New York Post), she and Matthew Stafford were vacationing at the Bahamas' Baker's Bay Golf & Ocean Club — a members-only "luxurious, secluded island retreat" — with Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons and his wife, Sara. The two couples were invited to a special dinner where their table guests were DiCaprio, his model girlfriend, Nina Agdal, and two of their friends. After "kicking each other under the table," Stafford & Co. played it cool and even scored an invite to play beach volleyball with the actor the next day.

Despite Agdal getting hit in the face, they had a great time and DiCaprio apparently suggested ultimate frisbee be next on their list. Kelly recalled thinking, "Why in the world does this guy keep challenging us to sports?" Things became even more unbelievable when they launched a drinking game called Picolo. "As the game goes along, the challenges get, I would say, a little dirtier," she explained. Soon, they were "all hammered," and Leo's challenge was to "lick Sara's ear four times or drink six sips." Kelly was sure he'd drink, but instead he supposedly "slowly walks over to Sara ... squats slowly and just goes after Sara's ear. Licks her ear, I don't know, about four seconds, gets up, sits back down." Talk about memorable!

NBC's fake Kelly Stafford is actually her BFF

It was September 2021 when Matthew Stafford made his big debut with the Los Angeles Rams, helping the team score a 34-14 victory over the Chicago Bears. And as Yahoo! Sports reported, the excitement may have been a bit too much for a "Sunday Night Football" staffer. Amidst all the action, NBC zoomed in on someone who was not Kelly Stafford and proudly labeled her as the quarterback's wife. As Yahoo! Sports noted, the mysterious Rams fan had blonde hair, but the resemblance ended there, making it a "perplexing mistake." Announcer Al Michaels quickly set things right as the camera found the real Kelly Stafford and he explained, "You know, we go at warp speed here."

The proud NFL WAG had fun with it. Posting a snap of herself and the other blonde to her Instagram Stories, she wrote "Wife one" next to herself and "Wife 2" next to the mystery blonde. Making the mix-up even more noteworthy was the fact that they not only knew each other but that they're real-life BFFs. Kelly Stafford set the record straight on the debut episode of her podcast, "The Morning After with Kelly Stafford," the next day, inviting "Matthew's second wife" on the show. Turns out her name is Ali Chapas and she's Kelly's "best friend from high school." That explains why the two ladies and vocal Rams fans were sitting in the same section, leading to the on-air flub.