Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and Kelly Stafford (then Kelly Hall) met while both were attending the University of Georgia — he was the star quarterback and she was a cheerleader. The couple tied the knot in 2015 and have since welcomed four children. Together for more than a decade, the pair show no signs of slowing down.
However, while Matthew is quiet and reserved, Kelly has no problems speaking her mind, usually in defense of her husband. In fact, it appears to be her favorite hobby. During an interview with GQ in 2018, then-NFL-rookie Jalen Ramsey said, “You not a bad quarterback if you do what your team asks of you. Matthew Stafford, I think he’s straight. I don’t think he the best quarterback out there. But he do what he gotta do.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but not horrible criticism either. Well, Kelly Stafford didn’t appreciate that. “Can someone tell me why GQ magazine is interviewing Jalen Ramsey? I understand ESPN…but not GQ…there is nothing “GQ” About him…” she said on her Instagram story (via The Spun), adding, “Just seems like a complete waste of time and space…”
Tighten up those chin straps and huddle up, folks. Here’s the untold truth of Kelly Stafford.
Kelly Stafford required brain surgery
In April 2019, Kelly Stafford announced on Instagram that she was diagnosed with a brain tumor after “things that [she] had been doing [her] entire life were now, all of a sudden, difficult.” These symptoms led Stafford to go to the ER where an MRI eventually found an “acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma.” Stafford admitted that she was “terrified” of the surgery and “the guilt [she] might feel of being absent from [her] kids for too long.”
Fortunately, the surgery went well and Stafford made a full recovery. Six months later, Stafford penned an essay for ESPN about her journey and life after her 12-hour surgery. “These days, I feel pretty good. Days are longer,” she wrote. “Some days are hard — some mornings I wake up a little foggy, and know I have to take the day a little slower. It’s rarer for me to get dizzy. Background noise can be tough (but also good — sometimes I don’t hear what I don’t want to hear).”
Stafford revealed that she may require the use of a hearing aid soon, but she’s just happy to be alive. “The doctors said it would take about a year for me to feel symptom-free and have the same energy I had before. Thursday, Oct. 17, marks six months. I’m really excited to hit that marker,” she continued.
Michigan's COVID-19 restrictions didn't sit well with Kelly Stafford
On Nov. 15, 2020, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tweeted notice of an emergency order issued by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services: “a three-week pause, targeting indoor social gatherings and other group activities” to help fight her state’s rising COVID-19 cases and infection rates. Kelly Stafford didn’t appreciate this and posted an Instagram story letting her thoughts known. “I’m so over it. I’m so over living in a dictatorship we call Michigan,” she said in the since-deleted rant (via TMZ).
“I understand there’s a pandemic, and I understand it’s very scary. I’m scared of it too. If you are at risk, do not leave your house until there’s a vaccine,” she continued. “But, shutting down all these small businesses, things that people have worked their life for, shutting them down again is not the answer. Because they will not make it.” She added, “So, once we are able to leave our house, once this dictatorship decides to let us have some freedom, there will be nothing left. I’m just over it. I see all these people and it brings me to tears.”
She later apologized in another since-deleted video for her “not so smart use of words” (via The Detroit News). “I’m really sorry. I was in the heat of the moment. I have a friend losing their business, and it’s just getting to me a little bit, so I apologize for calling it a dictatorship.”
The NFL's COVID-19 protocols didn't impress Kelly Stafford
On Aug. 1, 2020, Matthew Stafford was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. However, he was removed three days later after it was determined the test was a false positive. “I know everybody is doing the best that they possibly can. I’m glad it happened to me at this point, and the league is trying to change and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said (via ESPN).
Kelly Stafford, on the other hand, didn’t take it as well. “I have been losing my mind because of how my Family has been treated since my husband was put on the Covid-IR list,” she wrote on Instagram post that tagged the NFL three times. She claimed that “even after we knew it was a false positive,” the family was subject to harassment from people claiming they were endangering the public for doing things like grocery shopping and playing on a playground. She went on to directly blame the league and its “test sites” for turning her life into “a nightmare” as a result of the false positive.
To its credit, the NFL then took steps to prevent such false positives from happening again, however, Matthew was placed on the reserve list again in November 2020 after being exposed to the virus, but testing negative. “Here we go again,” Kelly wrote on Instagram (via the New York Post), adding, “Thank you again NFL for throwing my family out there when no one is positive.”
Kelly Stafford criticized Colin Kaepernick then apologized
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality became a divisive issue across the country. The outspoken Kelly Stafford certainly had her opinion on the matter. In a 2017 Instagram post, Stafford shared a quote that stated, in part, that “the anthem is not the national police song.” She then suggested the only way to show unity was to stand: “Let’s stand united against terrorists, against racism, against white supremacists, against killing of cops, against police brutality, against sex slave trafficking.”
Three years later, Stafford understood that she missed the point of Kaepernick’s protest. “When Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem, I had strong feelings about it. Even when he kept saying it had nothing to do with the flag or military, I didn’t listen,” she wrote. “I kept not listening to him or anyone else and let the political rhetoric persuade me that him kneeling was disrespectful to our military.” Her change of heart was communicated in yet another Instagram post that revealed she and her husband were donating $350,000 to “a social justice program for University of Georgia Athletics.”
“Over the past several months, I have opened my ears, mind, and heart and it has opened my eyes to see how wrong I was and for that I am sorry,” she continued, adding that defeating systemic racism will take all of us. “Matthew and I thought this was a good place to start.”
The Staffords are very charitable
The Staffords didn’t stop with just the $350,000 to the University of Georgia Athletic Association. In Aug. 2020, the couple announced that they would be donating a total of $1.5 million to the social justice program. According to the Detroit Lions official website, the UGA program will develop “an environment that will effect meaningful change in the areas of areas of diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice for all of the Association’s members, including student-athletes, coaches and staff.”
“Kelly and I have thought a lot about how we can improve our society and make a meaningful impact on the current social situation. Each and every time, we came back to education, and there’s no better place to create that kind of positive change than UGA,” said Matthew Stafford said in a statement. “When we learned more about this program and others across campus, we were happy to lend our support.”
“We are incredibly grateful to Matthew and Kelly for their support of this important program and the university as a whole,” Director of Athletics Greg McGarity said, adding, “Their generosity will create positive experiences for many students across multiple areas at UGA and will ensure our student-athletes continue to enjoy exceptional experiences on campus.”
Kelly Stafford shut down the trade rumors
Matthew Stafford has been the Detroit Lions starting quarterback since 2009, but after only three playoff games in 12 seasons and $226.5 million in career earnings, the trade rumors began in 2020 when Stafford entered the final year of his contract. And nothing fanned the flames of those rumors more than when the Stafford’s listed their $6.5M lakefront mansion in a Detroit suburb for sale.
However, Kelly Stafford quickly put those trade rumors to rest and explained the selling of their house had nothing to do with her husband being shipped off. The reason for the move? A parental decision. “No speculation is needed,” Kelly said in a now-deleted Instagram (via Detroit Free Press). “We’re about to have our fourth child and I personally do not want to live on a lake or have a pool with four children under the age of a little over 3. So that is the reason that it’s on the market.”
“It makes us super sad (to sell our home),” she added. “That house has been incredible. We’ll never have another house like it. So it is a super sad thing, but it just makes us feel better knowing that there’s no real dangers of having tiny ones running around all the bodies of water, so that is the reason.” As far as the trade rumors go, Matthew Stafford said, “I pay less attention to them than my wife does.”
If you come for Kelly Stafford's man, you best not miss
If anybody comes for Matthew Stafford with any semblance of criticism, you can be sure that Kelly Stafford will have something to say about it. One of the most staunch defenders of her husband’s play, Kelly took that fight to a reporter at the Detroit Free Press who blamed Stafford for the Lions’ humiliating 41-21 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in November 2020.
In his article entitled, “Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford deserves most of the blame for loss to Colts,” staff writer Carlos Monarrez blasted Stafford for “some easy throws that would have either extended a drive in the first half and helped out a tired defense” and for throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Since the Colts have a great defense, Monarrez argued: “That meant the margin for error was narrow and didn’t allow for the Lions’ best player to have an off day.”
Kelly Stafford read all she needed to read. Posting a screencap of the article’s headline to her Instagram story, Kelly wrote, “[Detroit Free Press] proving they have zero idea what they are talking about YET AGAIN. Stick to EVERYTHING besides sports. K thanks, bye” (via Yardbarker). What was Matthew’s reaction to the loss? “If I play like that, it’s going to be tough for us to win,” he said (via SB Nation). “So if you guys want to put it on somebody, put it on me.”
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