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Although she’s retired now, Danica Patrick made a huge impact on NASCAR. She changed the way women are perceived in the league, as one of the few female drivers, but most people still don’t know much about her. Especially her personal life.

But if you like a good romance, here’s the story of how Patrick found love, lost it and then found it again. 

Danica Patrick was married when she became a NASCAR star

Danica Patrick on the red carpet
Danica Patrick | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

In 2002, Patrick was a junior Formula driver when she injured her hip during yoga. Seeking treatment for her injury, she met the handsome physical therapist, Paul Hospenthal. Although he was 17 years older than her, they began a romantic relationship and were married in 2005. 

Hospenthal had a keen business sense. He built up his own physical therapy and personal training business in Scottsdale, Arizona, which treated high-profile professional athletes. Patrick trusted him with her finances and wouldn’t make any important decisions without him. In fact, she credited Hospenthal with teaching her about smart money management. 

“He’s smart and has had his own company for a long time,” Patrick told USA Today. “He’s just an intelligent guy. I learned from him how to take care of things. I want to have money when I retire. You don’t do that by spending it all.” 

When Patrick started to earn the big bucks from her racing career, she was smart with her income. Unlike some other professional athletes, she didn’t blow it on private jets or lavish purchases. Instead, she followed her husband’s example to save for early retirement

Danica Patrick’s marriage ends

Unfortunately, after seven years of marriage, the relationship broke down. In 2012, Patrick announced on her Facebook page that she was getting a divorce. She called the separation “amicable.”

According to People, she wrote, “This isn’t easy for either of us, but mutually it has come to this. He has been an important person and friend in my life and that’s how we will remain going forward.”

When the news of their divorce became public, Patrick became known as the most eligible bachelorette in NASCAR. Her beauty had already earned her a reputation as a sex symbol and desirable woman with racing fans, now the rest of the world began to take notice.

As a woman in NASCAR, Patrick appeared to be the perfect, girl next door type. The type of woman you could have fun with, discussing cars and other typically testosterone-dominated hobbies, but also beautiful and sexy. She wouldn’t stay single for long. 

Danica Patrick finds love again

Soon Patrick began dating another race car driver, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The relationship lasted five years but ended when Stenhouse didn’t propose. According to TMZ, Patrick posted an April Fools joke on social media, claiming that she was engaged. It soon came out that is was only a joke.

Patrick admitted that Stenhouse had not popped the question, but added that she was “ready yesterday” to marry him. 

Unfortunately, even with all the pressure around an engagement, Stenhouse just wasn’t ready. Instead, they called the relationship off. 

Patrick is now dating NFL player Aaron Rodgers. They have been together for almost two years and Patrick appears to be back to her old tricks regarding an engagement. During a recent interview on The Jenny McCarthy Show, Patrick was asked when she thought Rodgers and her might get married. 

“Um, tom[orrow] — wait, no, what?” She said. After more discussion about the issue with McCarthy, Patrick joked, “I’ll probably get proposed to tomorrow now.”

Judging by her answer, Patrick is ready to tie the knot. Although, we don’t know how Rodgers feels about it. When he hears the interview, it sounds like Patrick is hoping he’ll be inspired to propose. But what if, like Stenhouse before him, Rodgers feels like there’s too much pressure? It may bring about the end of another relationship. 

You’d think Patrick would have learned her lesson the first time. But if she insists on joking about engagement, we hope that it works out for her this time around.