How Did Danica Patrick and Aaron Rodgers Meet?

One star football player is having a really good year so far — and it began long before the NFL season kicked off in early September.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers became the highest-paid NFL player in 2018. He also started dating former NASCAR driver Danica Patrick the same year.

Rumors about their relationship began circling in early 2018. Many fans speculated the validity of their relationship, some believing it was a publicity stunt to keep Patrick in the spotlight as she ended her racing career and promoted her upcoming book.

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick | Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway

But Patrick officially confirmed the two celebrity athletes were dating a few weeks into the new year. And a new relationship isn’t the only good thing that’s happened to Rodgers in recent months. In addition to his record NFL contract, he also conquered a lifelong fear.

Despite this year’s highlights (so far), Rodgers is still facing controversy surrounding an ongoing public feud with his family. He doesn’t appear to get along with his siblings or parents, and likely won’t reveal the true reason why.

Fans aren’t sure whether or not his previous relationship with actress Olivia Munn. But the two ended their three-year relationship in 2017, and from what they’ve disclosed, Rodgers and Patrick are still very happy over eight months into their friendship-turned-love story. How that came to be is no longer a mystery.

Award ceremonies might not seem like the ideal place to fall in love. But since Rodgers gained NFL fame and Patrick is a female NASCAR legend, it makes perfect sense for them to have crossed paths for the first time at a sporting event — of sorts.

The two first met at the ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) awards in 2012, and continued to see each other there year after year. Apparently, they became fast friends, and didn’t realize how much they had in common until Rodgers’s previous relationship ended.

Patrick told For the Win, “We’ve just been sort of friends the whole time, kept in vague touch and seen each other at the ESPYs almost every year, and other places. So one thing led to another, and we realized how similar we were, and yeah, that got the ball rolling.”

Danica Patrick and Aaron Rodgers

Danica Patrick and Aaron Rodgers | Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Technically, Patrick was still married to personal trainer and physical therapist Paul Hospenthal when she met Rodgers in 2012. She announced the end of their relationship shortly thereafter.

Patrick isn’t the only celebrity athlete Rodgers has been romantically linked to, either. Rumors surfaced about a possible fling with Lindsey Vonn during the Olympics, and he and pro soccer player Marie Margolius were spotted having dinner together.

Other notable ladies include Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott and Gossip Girl‘s Jessica Szohr.

Patrick grew up outside Chicago and rooted for the Bears until she and Rodgers started dating. She then told the Associated Press, “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.”