Michael Phelps won the most Olympic medals in the history of everything. While he's rightfully known for his hardware, there's another side to Michael. Phelps may have broken countless records, but he's had his heart likely broken too many times to count.
The heartthrob with gills has been switching lanes in the dating game since gaining fame in 2004. He's dated fellow Olympians, television hosts and former Miss Californias. He's dated two former Miss Californias, to be exact. One of them is now his wife.
Michael Phelps' Wife Nicole Phelps
Nicole Johnson was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, 12 days after Phelps was born in Baltimore.
She moved to California when she was young and attended Westlake High School. Johnson won the Miss California USA 2010 title. Heavily considered the favorite for Miss USA, she finished the national competition in the top 10. She had just begun dating Michael Phelps at the time.
How Did They Meet?
They met for the first time at the 2007 ESPYs red carpet (while Nicole worked for ESPN) but didn't become romantically involved until 2009. Phelps and Johnson dated off-and-on until 2015. Then, the gold medalist got down on one knee. They were wed a year later in 2016 after the birth of their first son.
Phelps spoke about their relationship in a 2015 interview with USA Today Sports.
"Her and I have been on and off for eight years," he said. "It's been a long time. We've been through a lot. But I love her to death. We've been able to grow as a couple through everything we've been through, the positive changes I've made in my life. We're at a completely different level than we've ever been in our past relationships."
Michael & Nicole Phelps Kids
Michael Phelps and wife Nicole welcomed their first son, Boomer Robert Phelps, before they tied the knot.
Their second son Beckett Richard Phelps was born two years later. Their youngest son Maverick Nicolas Phelps was born a year after that in 2019. With the pandemic hitting just months after the birth of her third son, Nicole and husband Michael Phelps struggled during last year's lockdown.
Phelps has been a vocal advocate for mental illness awareness since before his retirement from swimming. In retirement, the "Baltimore Bullet" has opened up about mental health even more, sharing his mental health issues and struggles and what he's going to do about it. His wife Nicole told TODAY Parents that his tendency towards suicidal ideations regularly cost her sleep.
Nicole worried that losing a daddy like Michael might affect her sons Boomer, Beckett and Maverick, especially after seeing how Kobe Bryant's sudden helicopter crash involved Vanessa Bryant and her family. After Vanessa lost Kobe, Nicole determined to do whatever's necessary to help her husband, becoming the ultimate lifeline.
"After Vanessa (Bryant) lost Kobe, all I could do was look at Michael and be like, 'Can we please help you? Because if I lose you, I don't know what I'm gonna do,'" Nicole told TODAY Parents.
"Michael is the most amazing father and partner I could have ever asked for."
Fortunately for the Phelps family, Michael is well on the road to recovery. Depression has ups and downs, but Phelps makes progress with therapy, healthy choices and the support of his family. Nicole Phelps may not be able to be Michael's doctor or his therapist. Still, she's already someone much more monumental in Phelps's life: his partner, the mother of his children and his wife.
Michael Phelps Dating History
Michael Phelps has dated many women over the course of his career, including a different Miss California. Here's just a brief list of the fish in the sea he's been linked to:
- Stephanie Rice: Phelps was rumored to have shared a kiss with the Australian swimmer and three-time Olympic gold medalist, although no sort of relationship was ever confirmed.
- Carrie Prejean: She won Miss California USA 2009 and finished first runner-up in Miss USA 2009 after a controversial answer to a question. Prejean's grandmother (talk about a wingwoman) confirmed the relationship in an interview, but Phelps denied any dating rumors. She went on to marry former NFL quarterback Kyle Boller.
- Brittany Gastineau: If the name sounds familiar, it's because Brittany is the daughter of former New York Jets defensive end and five-time Pro Bowler Mark Gastineau. She's also a socialite and reality TV star. They never went official, but they were spotted together in 2010.
- Megan Rossee: Phelps dated the model in 2012 and made a red carpet debut at a Speedo event. However, they split up the same year and the break-up didn't look amicable.
- Win McMurry: Phelps and Golf Channel reporter Win McMurry locked arms at the 2013 ESPY Awards, but it was never revealed how serious they were.
Michael Phelps Career
"Number 19! No one has more!"
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) December 20, 2019
We all know who Michael Phelps is. You'd have to live under a rock at the bottom of a chlorine pool to be unaware of who Michael Phelps is. Even then, you'd probably know who Michael Phelps is.
Retired Olympic swimmer Michael Fred Phelps II goes by "The Baltimore Bullet," "Flying Fish," "American Hero" and "Lap God." He's the winningest Olympian of all time with 28 medals, 23 of which are gold medals.
Phelps perfected the pool at Townson High School in Maryland and the University of Michigan. At 15, he competed at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics. He then began collecting his numerous Olympic gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics, 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
He now works for NBC as a swimming commentator and analyst, which he'll do at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. He's sure to be a trending topic near the pool in Japan.
He's graced the Wheaties Box and holds 21 Guinness World Records. But between the world championships and the world records, the freestyles and the butterflies, the relays and the individual medleys, incredible human being and swimmer Michael Phelps somehow found time for love. Now, he's a family man.
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