By Terrance Turner
Feb. 16, 2022 (updated Feb. 22, March 8)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and actress Shailene Woodley have ended their engagement, according to multiple sources. InTouch magazine was the first to report the news. “While Shailene is supportive of Aaron’s career, he put football first and they were barely spending any time together,” says one source. “She felt he neglected their relationship. Neither of them was happy.”
The source also claims that Rodgers is an “independent guy” who “got cold feet” about his impending nuptials. (Rodgers, 38, has never been married and has no children.) People magazine quoted a source with a slightly different take. “It was an amicable split; it just wasn’t working,” the source says. “They’re very different people with busy careers and there were obstacles that they couldn’t surmount. They will remain friendly; there’s no bad blood and no drama. It just didn’t work out for them.”
The split caps a whirlwind romance that wasn’t public until last February, when Rodgers won Most Valuable Player at the NFL Honors. Accepting his award virtually, Rodgers reminisced on a 2020 filled with “some amazing, memorable moments: 180 straight days of having my nose hairs scraped, playing for very little fans or no stands the entire season. I got engaged, and I played some of the best football of my career.”
The announcement sent shockwaves throughout the NFL and sports world; Rodgers and Woodley’s romance wasn’t widely known until that very week. Even more surprising than the sudden engagement was the courtship’s rapid pace: Rodgers had just broken up with racecar driver Danica Patrick in July 2020; by February 2021, he was engaged to Woodley.
The low-key romance flourished during the pandemic, but Rodgers came under fire in November, when he tested positive for COVIDo-19 and was later exposed for having broken the league’s COVID protocols. (In August, Rodgers had answered questions about his vaccination status by telling reporters, “Yeah, I’m immunized.”) As a number of media outlets called Rodgers out for misleading the public, he doubled down, telling host Pat McAfee that he was the subject of a”woke mob” and questioning the NFL’s rules relating to their virus. (He even threw in an MLK reference for good measure.)
Though Woodley defended Rodgers publicly, the flap exposed a potential rift in their relationship. People quoted a source who said the two avoided dialogue on sensitive subjects. “They are not talking about their politics, and they never really have,” says the source. “They disagreed on a lot of things. Early on, they decided to agree to disagree about things and not debate them.”
“She is not someone whose mind you can change, so Aaron hasn’t even tried,” the source added. Significantly, when Rodgers won his second straight MVP award last Thursday at the NFL Honors, he did not mention his fiancee in his acceptance speech.
UPDATE (Feb. 22, 2022): Late last night, Rodgers uploaded a lengthy Instagram post thanking his Packers teammates, coaching staff, and others. “To my teammates, past and current, you are the icing on the beautiful cake we call our job; football,” he wrote.
But he also took time to craft a heartfelt message to his ex-fiancee: “@shailenewoodley, thanks for letting me chase after you the first couple months after we met, and finally letting me catch up to you and be a part of your life. Thanks for always having my back, for the incredible kindness you show me and everyone you meet, and for showing me what unconditional love looks like,” he wrote. “I love you and am grateful for you.”
UPDATE (March 8, 2022): Aaron Rodgers and Shailene Woodley both attended the wedding of Rodgers’ teammate David Bakhtiari on March 5th. Rodgers officiated the ceremony, according to NBC’s Green Bay affiliate. But his ex was there, too. “They were holding hands while walking around the hotel grounds,” a source told E! News of Woodley and Rodgers. “They walked hand in hand through the lawn to get to the wedding.”
People magazine also cited sources that said the two have been spending more time together. People suggested that with the NFL season over, Rodgers is focusing on an effort to get his fiancee back. One source told the magazine, “Now, when Aaron’s season is over, he wants to give it another try. He thinks Shailene is very special. She is more hesitant, though.”
A second insider—who is close to the NFL star—exclusively told E! News that “they are spending time together but not fully back on” and are “testing the waters.” Apparently those “waters” include the Atlantic Ocean. Today, Rodgers and Woodley were spotted together in West Palm Beach, Florida. According to People magazine, “The pair flew into West Palm Beach airport on a private jet for a brief visit, leaving on the same plane just hours later.”