The Untold Truth Of Danica Patrick

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Danica Patrick wasn't the first female race car driver, but she is, by far, the most famous. She's the first woman to win an IndyCar race (via ESPN), and, in doing so, she likely served as an inspiration for little girls who weren't used to seeing women in a male-dominated sport. And it definitely didn't hurt that Patrick had a marketable look. During the height of her popularity, she appeared in everything from GoDaddy Super Bowl ads to CSI:NY, to a Jay Z music video.

Though Patrick's racing career came to an end when she retired in 2018 (via USA Today's For the Win), she doesn't appear to be stepping out of the limelight any time soon. After all, there are more products to promote, and her love life continues to make headlines. Clearly, there's still a Danica demand. For those who can't get enough of her, here is the untold truth of Danica Patrick.

She has a girly side

Patrick is no tomboy — and she never has been. But that's not to say she didn't have tomboy-ish interests when she was younger. In addition to being a life-long Chicago Bears fan and having a history of racing go-karts since she was 10 years old, Patrick always had a thing for beauty and fashion. In an interview with The Independent, she called herself a "normal" child who "played with Barbies a lot" and participated in several sports and extracurriculars, including cheerleading.

However, Patrick's cheerleading career never really took off, as, in tenth grade, she was kicked off the squad at Hononegah Community High School in Rockton, Ill. Why, you ask?  She reportedly missed "too many games and practices" due to her on-the-rise racing career. "Everyone always thinks I did something super, super sketchy and, like, crazy," Patrick told Get Up (via ESPY's Twitter page), "but no."

High school dropout

You're probably not going to get a "Stay in school" speech out of Patrick. She dropped out of high school at the age of 16 to further her racing career in the United Kingdom, and she couldn't have been happier with her decision. "I loved not having to go to school anymore," Patrick once boldly told a group of high school kids, as reported by The Post Game. "I was moving an ocean away from my parents. That was exciting!"

For the record, Patrick said she doesn't recommend dropping out. She's well aware of the value society puts on a diploma, but she is also of the opinion that you don't have to graduate from high school to be successful in life. "Everyone has a different path," she said. Her path eventually led her to earn her G.E.D., or, as she called it in an interview with The New York Times, her "Good Enough Diploma."

This star doesn't want to go dancing

Dancing with the Stars has come calling for Patrick on multiple occasions and, each time, she has said no. It's not because she has two left feet. On the contrary, she told People, "I can dance, since I was a cheerleader." She just doesn't think she's chipper enough for a show where you have to win over judges and viewers, like fellow driver and season five winner Helio Castroneves did. Patrick told People, "I don't have the personality that Helio does; he won everyone's heart. I would be a bit too serious for the show."

Her decision to turn down the show also came down to time. During a Daytona 500 media day, Patrick said (via espnW) that she's just too busy. But that was before she retired from racing, so who knows! Maybe Patrick will be more willing to put on a happy face and do the foxtrot now that she has more time on her hands.

She converted to Catholicism for ex-husband

Patrick wasn't a churchgoer when she was younger. For her, Sundays were likely more for racing than for religion. She wasn't even sure what faith her family belonged to, admitting to The New Yorker in 2010 that she once "didn't even know" and thought she might be Lutheran. It wasn't until she noticed The Passion of the Christ was playing in a theater in 2004 that she became interested in the subject (via Danica Patrick: Racing to History). That was when she learned that Paul Hospenthal, whom she had been seeing at the time, was Catholic.

The two got married the following year by a priest in a church, which is what Patrick wanted. But in order to make it happen, Patrick, as she told The New Yorker, had to convert to Catholicism. Unfortunately, the marriage didn't last, and the couple divorced eight years later (via USA Today). It's unclear if Patrick still considers herself Catholic, but, judging by a 2017 Instagram post, she definitely believes in God.

Mom and Dad, you're fired

If you think firing someone sounds super awkward, just imagine what it's like firing your parents. That's what Patrick did to her dad, T.J. — who was Patrick's "coach, mechanic, and crew chief," as well as her contract negotiator — and her mom, Bev, who was her assistant. "We never had a single conversation that didn't have to do with business," Patrick told The New Yorker, adding that her parents lived on the bus with her and were always on the track. And their constant presence apparently became too much. "It's really unfair for my husband, too," she noted. So, how did her parents feel about the decision? T.J. admitted to The New Yorker, "It's a touchy situation."

Patrick's tune changed following her split from Paul Hospenthal. In an interview with In Depth with Graham Bensinger, she blamed her ex-husband for "manipulating" her and pressuring her to choose between him and them. At the same time, she said, "I think that it's best to not have your parents working for you," and she questioned, "How do you hold your parents accountable for the little things when they're your parents?" It sounds to us like maybe Patrick would have made that decision to let her parents go even without Hospenthal's coaxing.

Can Patrick take a joke?

If Patrick is able to take a joke like she says she can, then she had us fooled at the NASCAR Awards in 2013. She and her then-boyfriend, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., infamously shot death stares in host Jay Mohr's direction after he joked, "Danica, I hope you're not too uncomfortable tonight. I know you're not used to being this close to the front." Mohr followed this jab with compliments, but Patrick and Stenhouse's stares remained unchanged.

Afterwards, Mohr told The Dan Patrick Show that he was surprised by the couple's reaction, which he described as an "icy cold glare." He said, "I had way worse jokes, meaner jokes, to other drivers. ... Danica, I thought, that was pretty easy in my opinion." Ironically, Patrick hosted the ESPYs years later and was tasked with razzing the famous attendees just like Mohr had. No death stares were delivered during her awkward monologue, but there were plenty of blank ones, which might be worse.

She froze her eggs as an 'insurance policy'

Patrick hopes to become a mother one day and she even took out an "insurance policy" to improve her chances, according to her interview with The Joe Rogan Experience. By that, she meant she underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment to freeze her eggs. "I'm getting older and I drive race cars and I can't, you know, do any of that stuff," she told The Joe Rogan Experience.

The procedure, which took place during her post-divorce relationship with fellow race car driver Ricky Stenhouse, involved daily injections for about a month and "uncomfortable" weight gain. But just because Patrick went through with the process doesn't mean she will for sure go the frozen eggs route if and when she decides to have kids. She told The Joe Rogan Experience that she just wanted to keep her options open: "It doesn't mean I can't try a different way if I want to."

She claims more than just Irish roots

Because of her last name, people often immediately think Patrick is of Irish descent. And they're right — she does have some Irish in her. But that's only part of the story. Patrick told espnW that she's actually half Norwegian and just a quarter Irish. She also shared that she has some Italian, French-Canadian, and American Indian roots.

In another espnW story, Patrick talked about how her American Indian ancestry inspired the logo for her Warrior clothing line. "I started searching American Indian symbols, tribal symbols. I actually am a tiny bit American Indian," she explained. "I thought the thunderbird was cool. It also means unlimited happiness."

But having a mixed ancestry doesn't mean Patrick values her Irish roots any less. After crashing at the NASCAR Sprint Cup practice in March 2014, she credited the "luck of the Irish" for keeping her safe (via E! News).

Her love life wasn't always an open book

Patrick isn't one of those celebs who keeps mum about her love life. She's been pretty open about her relationship with ex-boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse and beau Aaron Rodgers in interviews, going so far as to gush over the latter on the Rachel Ray Show. "He's funny, he's very kind, he's thoughtful. He's super smart," she said. "And he's really good at football." She's also had no problem with sharing photos of them on Instagram either, having posted a pic of her and Rodgers smooching in July 2018.

But Patrick wasn't always an open book. She used to have a reputation for being private. She discussed her relationship with ex-husband Paul Hospenthal only on rare occasions and was adamant that it wasn't something she wanted to make a habit of. "I've always been very private about my private life and I'm going to keep it that way," Patrick once told HuffPost Live (via Sporting News). Funny how things have changed.

Her dad disagrees with Rodgers on this issue

While some families might be able to discuss scandalous news stories, Danica Patrick might want to avoid bringing up the NFL national anthem controversy around her boyfriend and dad. After President Donald Trump verbally attacked NFL players who knelt during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, Patrick's beau Aaron Rodgers encouraged fans to lock arms during the anthem in a sign of equality and unity, as reported by ESPN. Rodgers told media, "This is about ... growing together as a society and starting a conversation around something that may be a little bit uncomfortable for people."

But T.J. Patrick clearly wasn't a fan because, under a photo of the Packers locking arms on Facebook, he wrote (via Terez Owens), "Can someone please tell me what they're protesting?" Papa Patrick later made a similar comment under a photo of Rodgers and his daughter putting their hands over their heartS during the Daytona 500 national anthem. This time, he wrote, "No kneeling in NASCAR!! Hand in heart!!" And here we thought the biggest issue between the two men would be the fact that T.J. is a Bears fan and Rodgers plays for the rival Green Bay Packers.

She's no stranger to the Super Bowl

Here's a bit of trivia for you: Danica Patrick has appeared in a ton of Super Bowl commercials, taking part in a whopping 14 ads by 2017 (via espnW). This is, in large part, due to her partnership with the web hosting company GoDaddy. And Patrick would have been in more, but her 2015 GoDaddy commercial was pulled because some felt it promoted puppy mills, as USA Today reported. And, well, that's just no good.

Patrick was used to her risqué GoDaddy ads stirring up controversy and wasn't surprised by the backlash. "I mean, people have opinions about everything, especially when you get into that world of animal rights or tree rights or whatever rights," she said during Daytona 500's media day (via USA Today). She later added, "We were here to be funny and enough people didn't think it was funny."

Shots fired!

Aaron Rodgers' average annual salary of $33.5 million not only makes him the highest-paid player in the NFL, according to Forbes in 2018, but also Danica Patrick's first boyfriend who is wealthier than she is. When asked about the topic during her interview with In Depth with Graham Bensinger, Patrick responded, "I finally found someone who pays for things. That's never happened ever. ... I would buy dinner most of the time." She also shared that allowing Rodgers to foot the bill took some getting used to, stating, "It was super uncomfortable in the beginning with Aaron to have him paying for things because it was so out of the norm for me."

Regardless of where you stand on the "Who should pay: The guy or the girl?" debate, one thing seems certain: Patrick took a dig at exes Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Paul Hospenthal with those comments.

What did Patrick do to Eminem?

Rapper Eminem has slammed so many celebrities in his songs over the years that it's hard to keep track of all the insults. For the most part, these disses involve pop stars and rap rivals, with the occasional president mixed in (via Billboard). So why exactly did Danica Patrick make Slim Shady's hit list? 

Eminem has picked on the race car driver not once, but twice in his songs, as noted by AutoWeek. In the 2013 track "So Far," he calls Patrick out by name and labels her a "vacuum," which can mean a few things — none of which are good. He then name-dropped Patrick again on the 2018 song "Venom," spitting, "What's her name at the wheel? Danica Patrick." He then poked fun at her crash at the Indy 500. It's unclear what Patrick did, if anything, to draw Eminem's ire. But at least Patrick has another rap legend on her side: Jay Z. Hov cast Patrick in his music video for 2006's "Show Me What You Got."

She hated France because of... steak?

Patrick said her time in Europe early in her career left such a bad taste in her mouth that she didn't return there until after she retired. She moved to England as a teenager when she was an aspiring race car driver and told the Associated Press that she didn't like the country during that time. She felt the same way for France. She said she once ordered a steak in Paris and got sick because they refused to cook it longer. And she wasn't very fond of the people there either, whom she said "weren't very nice."

But Patrick has since changed her tune. She returned to London and said that "the people are nice, the food's really, really good and it's a really cool city." And after she went back to Paris, she said that "the people were so nice and the food was so good and the city was so beautiful." Patrick chalked up the change of heart to her maturation and the fact that she's financially in a better place and "can do more things." Yeah, that probably helped.

She has a spiritual side

If Danica Patrick writes another book, don't expect it to be about fitness like her 2017 one, Pretty Intense. She has something a little different in mind. "I think it would be more spiritual, more metaphysical, quantum science kind of stuff," Patrick told the Associated Press. "Maybe I'll just submit my journal."

There were signs of Patrick's growing spirituality in Pretty Intense. She quoted Mahatma Gandhi and Deepak Chopra, and she also advised readers to "be the light" and "develop a relationship with your all-knowing soul" (via Entrepreneur). In an interview with espnW, Patrick said she has been working on her spiritual development and adopting "a 'we're all one' kind of attitude," in addition to becoming more compassionate.

It appears her relationship with Aaron Rodgers may have even started with a spiritual question. She told In Depth with Graham Bensinger"It all really started with me asking if he was stalking me on the astral plane." Not sure what that means? But she said Rodgers "knew what that meant and then it just went from there."