The Truth About Danica Patrick And Aaron Rodgers' Relationship

Even if you don't know much about NASCAR, there's a good chance you've heard of Danica Patrick. According to USA Today, Patrick won the Indy Japan 300 in 2008, making her the very first female winner in IndyCar racing history. Additionally, she is the only woman to have finished in the top three of an Indy 500 race. Not only is Patrick incredible at her sport, but she's also an inspiration for women throughout the country. 


In August 2017, Aaron Rodgers began his thirteenth season as the Green Bay Packers quarterback. Rodgers led his team through eight consecutive playoff games and on to win Super Bowl XLV in 2010, ESPN reported. While he is a very private person — he only joined Instagram in 2017 — he told ESPN that same year, "I do have a desire to be myself and not have to feel like I've got to be so private."

While Patrick and Rodgers are both very busy, their public relationship proved they can still make time for things like dating. And it seems like Rodgers' desire to be less discreet was finally realized. Unfortunately, their romance wouldn't last.

Danica Patrick and Aaron Rodgers started dating in 2018

At the start of 2018, rumors began swirling about a possible romance between Danica Patrick and Aaron Rodgers. However, the rumors didn't remain rumors for long. After a picture surfaced of the two out to dinner together, Patrick confirmed the gossip in six direct words. "Yes, Aaron and I are dating," she said to the Associated Press. Simple enough!


Though, with Patrick being an accomplished NASCAR driver living in Napa Valley, California and Rodgers residing in Wisconsin as the Green Bay Packers' quarterback, how did the two even meet?

Aaron Rodgers first met Danica Patrick when she was married

It's true that NASCAR and professional football are essentially as similar as apples and oranges. That said, there is one place where sports figures can all come together every year: the ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Awards show. 


Danica Patrick confirmed to The Associated Press that she and Aaron Rodgers first met at the 2012 ESPY Awards, where Rodgers happened to win Best NFL Player. That leaves a gap of more than five and a half years between when the two first met and when they began to date. Why? Well, for one, Patrick was married at that time. 

According to People, Patrick married Paul Hospenthal, a personal trainer and physical therapist some 17 years her senior, back in 2005. The couple met in Hospenthal's physical therapy office where Patrick sought treatment for a hip injury. In those days, Hospenthal and Patrick were happily married and enjoyed spending time with their miniature schnauzer called Billy, another article by People reported.


Danica Patrick divorced her husband but didn't start dating Aaron Rodgers until much later

While Danica Patrick and her husband were happily married for a time, it didn't last. In November 2012, four months after the ESPY awards, Patrick wrote on her Facebook page (via People), "I am sad to inform my fans that after 7 years, Paul and I have decided to amicably end our marriage. This isn't easy for either of us, but mutually it has come to this."


Patrick continued, "He has been an important person and friend in my life and that's how we will remain moving forward."

While this left Patrick open to dating, it wasn't quite time for her and Aaron Rodgers. Though soon after her divorce —  about three weeks — she did start publicly dating again.

Danica Patrick started dating a fellow NASCAR driver

In 2013, Danica Patrick confirmed in a telephone interview with The Associated Press (via Bleacher Report), "I have a boyfriend, his name is Richard." Richard Stenhouse Jr. and Patrick first became friends after racing one another in the Nationwide Series, FOX Sports reported. Stenhouse mentored Patrick as she was just getting her feet wet in the world of NASCAR.


"Obviously, we've been racing together for a couple years now, him and I have always gotten along, we've always had a lot of respect for each other on the track," Patrick explained.

With that respect also came the determination not to allow their relationship to interfere with racing. "I always say I'll race people how they race me until they do something to make me change my mind. I don't anticipate that changing at all, or us having any issues on the track."

Stenhouse himself agreed, "It won't affect how I race on the track. I want to go out and win, I race everyone hard."

Aaron Rodgers found love with actress Olivia Munn

While Danica Patrick and Richard Stenhouse Jr. were dating, Aaron Rodgers went on to get to know actress Olivia Munn. Whereas Patrick and Stenhouse had a remarkable understanding of each others' careers, the same could not be said for Rodgers and Munn. 


In an interview with Conan O'Brien, Munn told the story of when she met Rodgers. "When I met him, I said, 'So, what do you do?' and he's like, 'Oh, I play football.' I go, 'Cool. What college?' He's like, 'Oh, no, I play professional.'" Munn divulged, "All I saw was that he was, like, really attractive. I didn't really care what he did."

Despite the initial misunderstanding, the relationship continued to flourish. Munn even had to dispel engagement rumors in an interview with Stephen Colbert. "No, we are not engaged — at all," Munn explained, "Just some random magazine decided to say it one day." 

Colbert added, "The followup question is 'What is he waiting for?' He must think he's pretty special if he's [thinking he's] gonna do better than this."


Danica Patrick and Richard Stenhouse Jr. split up

After almost five years of dating, Danica Patrick and Richard Stenhouse Jr. decided to go their separate ways at the end of 2017. The two NASCAR drivers are "no longer in a relationship," a spokeswoman for Patrick officially confirmed to People.


According to The Charlotte Observer, fans of the couple started wondering if there could be trouble in paradise when Patrick did not attend the NASCAR Awards with Stenhouse, who was honored at the event. Less than a month later came the confirmation of the split. 

Aaron Rodgers and Olivia Munn split as well

Seven months before Danica Patrick and Richard Stenhouse Jr. decided to call it quits, Aaron Rodgers and Olivia Munn also made the choice to part ways after nearly three years of dating. 

After the breakup, Rodgers sat down for an interview with ESPN and explained what he learned from the experience of dating a celebrity. "When you are living out a relationship in the public eye, it's definitely... it's difficult," he said. "It has some extra constraints, because you have other opinions about your relationship, how it affects your work and, you know, just some inappropriate connections [referring to rumors Munn hurt his performance on the field]."


Despite the difficulty, Rodgers did not give up on dating, nor did he give up dating public figures.

Danica Patrick and Aaron Rodgers finally got together

Danica Patrick and Aaron Rodgers may have met all the way back in 2012, but both were seemingly slow to make a move. Perhaps it just took them each being single at the right time.

Regardless, Patrick appeared to have bounced back rather quickly post-breakup with Richard Stenhouse Jr. In mid-January 2018, just a month after Patrick confirmed her breakup with Stenhouse, TMZ obtained and posted a photo of her dining al fresco with Rodgers, along with a few other people, at Mission Mexican restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona. 


Patrick then confirmed the validity of the picture by addressing her relationship with Rodgers to The Associated Press. It seemed to be a long time coming so this news was especially exciting. However, there was just one problem...

Packers and Bears? Oh my!

Aaron Rodgers is, of course, a Green Bay Packer. The problem was that Danica Patrick isn't exactly a Packers fan. At least she wasn't at first.

Rich Eisen, on his eponymous show, asked Patrick, "Are you a Bears fan?" Patrick responded enthusiastically, "I am." Explaining why she's not a Green Bay Packers fan and why she instead roots for the Chicago Bears, "We lived on the state line. So, I was born in Beloit, Wisconsin but we lived in South Beloit, Illinois." 


What about when she was dating Rodgers? "I told him a long time ago I'd always root for him as a player. Now I am probably going to cheer for the whole team," she stated in an interview with The Associated Press. Patrick went on to add, "Take out the word 'probably.' Now I'm going to cheer for the whole team."

Danica Patrick and Aaron Rodgers weren't meant to be

After the competition of the 2018 Daytona 500 and Indy 500, Danica Patrick planned to retire at 35 years old, ESPN Women reported. "Retirement looks bright," Patrick explained, "I think many people retire and don't know what they're going to do next and have to figure it out, but I know what I'm going to do." Patrick elaborated on her plans to dedicate more time to her wine brand, Somnium, and her clothing brand, Warrior. "I'd like to expand in the book world as well," she added.


That's not all. She told ESPN Women, "I'd also like to have a cooking show, to help people learn how to cook healthily." Additionally, she'd enjoy traveling and attending concerts "on the side." Patrick's retirement goals sound amazing. 

But we wonder, with more time in her schedule, would Patrick want to settle down? Is that part of her plan? It certainly can't be ruled out. "I do [want to start a family], I don't know if it's in my future but it'd be something I think I'd really like to have," Patrick said in an interview with E! News. What's more, The Charlotte Observer reported that Patrick, uncertain about her future, decided to have her eggs frozen when she was 33. 

Notably, with Aaron Rodgers claiming to be "on the back nine" of his career at the time, fans might have thought both athletes would go on to retire, settle down, and have children. But that just wasn't in the cards. In July 2020, E! News reported that Patrick and Rodgers had split up after two years of dating.