Brett Favre is revered in the hearts of many NFL fans, especially the Green Bay Packers faithful. The “gunslinger” threw for more than 70,000 yards (fourth-most in NFL history), made 11 Pro Bowls and won Super Bowl XXXI to become a legend in the land of cheeseheads.
Favre’s path to becoming a Pro Football Hall of Fame member wasn’t an easy one. After lighting up the college football scene at Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Favre was selected in the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. He was traded the following year to Green Bay and spent 16 seasons there before finishing with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings.
During the course of his career, Favre admitted to being addicted to painkillers and alcohol. He experienced mood swings and seemed like a different person at times to his wife. She also stood by him during an embarrassing scandal involving him sending lewd pictures to another woman.
Today, though, Brett and Deanna Favre are stronger than ever.
Brett Favre’s Wife Deanna Favre
Brett Favre is marred to Deanna Favre. They both grew up in a tiny town called Kiln, Mississippi, and began dating at Kiln Hancock North Central High School.
Deanna recalled how the hunky jock first asked her out.
“I remembered his cute blond cowlick and the way he sat in the bleachers in high school with the laces of his high-top sneakers untied,” she told GuidePosts.
“We got to know each other playing two-on-two basketball?I was just as much a jock as he was. One day he called me up and I could hear a lot of voices in the background saying, ‘Ask her, ask her.’ Finally he drawled out, ‘Will you go with me?'”
Deanna graduated in 1986 and played basketball on scholarship at a nearby community college. Brett finished up high school a year later, and Deanna transferred to the University of Southern Mississippi to be with him.
In 1996, while Brett was an established quarterback in the NFL, Deanna Tynes took her partner’s last name and the two tied the knot.
Deanna has two siblings. Her brother, Casey, died in 2004 following a tragic ATV accident in Hattiesburg.
What Does Deanna Favre Do?
Deanna is an author. She’s written two books: “Don’t Bet Against Me” and “The Cure for the Chronic Life: Overcoming the Hopelessness That Holds You Back” (co-written with Shane Stanford). The first was written about her battle with breast cancer.
She Helped Him Overcome Addictions
The former Green Bay Packers quarterback has admitted to being addicted to the pain reliever Vicodin, saying he would even take as much as 14 of them at a time.
“It is really amazing, as I think back, how well I played that year. That was an MVP year for me,” he told Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King of his 1995 MVP season.
“But that year, when I woke up in the morning, my first thought was, ‘I gotta get more pills.’ I took 14 Vicodin, yes, one time. I was getting an hour or two of sleep many nights. Maybe 30 minutes of quality sleep. I was the MVP on a pain-pill buzz. The crazy thing was, I’m not a night owl. Without pills, I’d fall asleep at 9:30. But with pills, I could get so much done, I just figured, ‘This is awesome.’ Little did I know (fiancée and now wife) Deanna would be finding some of my pills and when she did, she’d flush them down the toilet.”
Deanna helped get his painkiller addiction under control. The two eloped while he was still fighting the addiction.
Favre also had another vice: alcohol. He checked into rehab on numerous occasions. The way he tells it, he was a binge drinker who “drank to excess.”
A boiling point in Brett and Deanna’s relationship came around the same time in the 1990s. Deanna wrote in “Don’t Bet Against Me” that she walked into his room one night and heard him on the phone with a woman she found out he’d been calling.
“‘That’s it,’ I told him. ‘I don’t deserve to be treated like this. You asked me to move up here to Green Bay and now you’re calling these girls — well, you’re on your own now. I’m not living this way. All this stuff is over for me,'” she wrote.
According to the Star Tribune, however, Deanna only stayed with Brett because she was convinced he would end up harming himself because of his Vicodin addiction.
Favre had a minor surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle in 1996 and had a seizure. It was discovered he had a “toxic liver,” according to the Star Tribune. He began drug rehab soon after.
She Looked Past Extramarital Scandals
Football fans likely remember this one well. In 2008, Favre allegedly (according to Deadspin) sent lewd pictures of his penis to New York Jets game day host Jennifer Sterger. Favre was obviously married at the time. It would have been a social media explosion if it happened today.
The NFL fined Favre $50,000 for “failure to cooperate” in its investigation. He traded in the Jets green for Minnesota purple the following season.
As for Deanna, the woman who has put up with Favre’s shenanigans for so long, she told Good Morning America she relied on faith during the scandal.
“I’m a woman of faith,” Deanna told GMA. “Faith has gotten me through many difficult struggles. It will get me through this one.”
At Brett’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2016, Deanna presented him before his speech.
“Having my wife introduce me was an easy choice considering she was there long before my first touchdown pass and long after the last,” he said during his speech.
She Survived Breast Cancer
In October 2004, right after losing her brother, Deanna was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was just 35.
Following a lumpectomy and five months of grueling chemotherapy in which she lost her hair and felt sick constantly, she was finally cancer-free. She said she leaned on Brett and her family during that time of her life.
“Cancer can make you feel so alone. Love and support are the only antidotes. Brett used his experience getting off painkillers to share his strength with me. It wasn’t my strength or Brett’s. It was our strength,” she told GuidePosts.
The breast cancer survivor then started the Deanna Favre Hope Foundation to support the fight against breast cancer. She had previously headed the Brett Favre Fourward Foundation in Wisconsin and Mississippi.
Brett & Deanna’s Two Children
Deanna was 20 when she gave birth to the couple’s first daughter, Brittany Favre, in 1989. She was still in school and working at the time, on top of juggling her relationship with Brett. Brittany Favre-Mallion wound up doing the same; She graduated from Loyola University’s law school while raising two children as a single mother.
Their second daughter, Breleigh Favre, was born in 1999. She played collegiate volleyball at her father’s alma mater. Brett and Deanna traveled all over the country watching their daughter serve, set and spike.
“As a volleyball parent, it really has been a lot of fun to watch our daughter, but also been very stressful,” he told USA Volleyball.
“Parents who have had children playing organized volleyball, they know. I played in the National Football League for 20 years, and now I know what my family went through watching me play. As a spectator, I can?t control anything and it is a test of my patience. I want to go out there to help and make things easier, but I can?t. I?m just a spectator.”
Brett Favre may be finished throwing touchdowns as an NFL quarterback, but he’s not completely out of the national spotlight. You’ve seen him on TV commercials for companies like Copper Fit, MicroTouch Tough Blade and, of course, Wrangler jeans.
How long before he makes his way to the broadcast booth like Tony Romo or Troy Aikman?