All sports fans know who Skip Bayless is. Whether you love him or absolutely hate him, his opinions are trending every time you turn around. It has been this way for years and his voice is louder than ever. Knowing what he’s like outside of the sports media space, however, has certainly been a little bit of a mystery.
From his days as a sports columnist to now as a television personality and social media warrior, Bayless’ life has been consumed by sports. It’s the biggest part of his identity and a jaw-dropping net worth proves he’s been quite successful throughout his career.
When the camera is on, Bayless is the king of scorching takes. When the camera is off, the 69-year-old enjoys his time with his wife Ernestine Sclafani. Needless to say, it’s been a tough balance because his job has always been his top priority. He even admitted that on their first date.
Skip Bayless Wife: Who is Ernestine Sclafani?
John Edward Bayless II — known by all as Skip Bayless — grew up in Oklahoma City, went to Vanderbilt University, loves the Dallas Cowboys and has churned out an impressive career in sports. After graduating from Vanderbilt, he has been a sportswriter across the United States for the Miami Herald, Dallas Morning News, Dallas Times Herald, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune.
Bayless also hosted sports talk shows and even published books before his stardom in weekday television working alongside Stephen A. Smith at ESPN on “Cold Pizza” and “First Take” before teaming up with Shannon Sharpe for “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed” on Fox Sports 1.
Love always seemed to escape the sports commentator early in his career, though.
Bayless has a first wife before Ernestine. He was married to his high school sweetheart before the couple separated years later. He was also reportedly in four long-term relationships that didn’t work out. Then, one day at ESPN, he met Ernestine Sclafani.
According to her LinkedIn, Ernestine Sclafani was born in Long Island, New York, and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology. She’s a public relations executive who has worked as the director of public relations for Bally of Switzerland and vice president/group head at Edelman Public Relations Worldwide. She served as the vice president of consumer media relations at Weber Shandwick from 2005-18 and now has her own public relations firm.
How Did They Meet?
How Skip and Ernestine Sclafani Bayless met was as sweet as it was awkward. Working for a public relations agency at the time, Ernestine’s client was called to the set of “Cold Pizza.” Skip, of course, was the famous host of the ESPN2 show.
Bayless forgot some notes, however, and rushed back to his dressing room to retrieve them during a commercial break. That’s when the loud TV personality and Ernestine met, according to her book, “BALLS: How to Keep Your Relationship Alive When You Live with a Sports-Obsessed Guy,” which is available on Amazon.
“He literally ran past the door of the green room, where we caught each other’s eyes,” Ernestine wrote, via Yahoo! Sports. “I guess I gave him a look of familiarity because he stopped and said, ‘Do I know you?’…He later confided that he wasn’t sure what to say — he gets possessed during his show, just lost in how to win the next live TV debate. So now neither of us was thinking clearly.”
“I left my notes for our final segment in my dressing room. I had never done that, and I haven’t done that since,” Bayless added. “As I literally ran down the hall during a commercial break, I glanced sideways into the green room and caught the gaze of a woman I’d never seen before…We chatted awkwardly for maybe 45 seconds, and she gave me her card. You might call it love at first spark. There was just something startling to me about the way we instantly clicked.”Advertisement
Sports has always been his life, however. Skip even told Ernestine on their first date that she would always be “1A to my job.” She decided to stick around.
Skip Bayless and Ernestine Sclafani, a New York native, dated for 11 years, including a six-year engagement, before tying the knot in 2016. She also appeared his FS1 show on a couple of occasions last year while debating the NBA and his favorite NFL team in Texas.
Being married to television personality Skip Bayless has to be a full-time job by itself, but they make it work and she sticks by his side, no matter what.