Celebrating Mother’s Day with NFL Wife and Mother, Rebecca Feely – Part 1

Rebecca Feely and kids

The first time we met was for dinner at the Rustic Inn in Ft. Lauderdale. She and her husband had just joined the Miami Dolphins and she was proactive in connecting with me, since I was the chaplain for the Dolphins’ wives at the time. Stunningly beautiful, yet amazingly humble and gracious is what I thought of her then.  Having watched her grow through the years into an even greater woman than that (which you will witness in this interview), it is a pleasure for me to introduce you to Rebecca Feely, wife of Jay and my very first twitter follower (smile).


Jay and Rebecca Feely and family

Rebecca was raised in a family of faith, where they experienced a lot of tragedy. Her parents leaned more towards legalism, which somehow seemed a safer place to them. Growing up in a strict Baptist church, there were a lot of rules and restrictions. This type of upbringing left her feeling that she could never do enough to please God. The God she knew didn’t really love her, but He would strike her down if she didn’t follow the rules. Living under such tight constraints, proved very difficult.

So she rebelled.

She went away to the University of Michigan, where she partied hard, yet still excelled academically as a pre-med major. While taking time off from school to pursue a modeling career in Chicago, Feely became disillusioned when she witnessed the dark side of the industry and the lifestyles of those involved. After experiencing some disturbing events in her own life, she hit rock bottom.

Immersing herself in Christian books and apologetics, Feely began to read about a God completely different from the one she grew up with. This God had a plan for her, loved her and valued her. At 19 she asked Him to take over her life.

Feeling peace for the first time, a drastic change ensued. Feely exchanged late-night parties for regular church attendance, heavy drinking for the worship team. In 1997 she crossed paths with a young man she had never seen before, even though he, too, attended the University of Michigan and the same church. They were simply going in the same direction spiritually and at the right time, they met. Ten months later, they were married.

Rebecca says, “It’s been a rollercoaster ride since then.”


Jay and Rebecca Feely

Kim Anthony – You’ve moved 12 times in 14 years. That can’t be an easy thing to do. How does your faith play into you being able to do something like that and still have your family intact?

Rebecca Feely – It hasn’t been fun. There are times when I come to him (Jay) teary eyed and say, “I need stability. What can you give me?”

It (my faith) just reminds me that our home isn’t here on this earth. I just want to be where God wants me to be. Every time we’ve moved I’ve been put in situations with people who have needed encouragement in their faith or (help) to find faith. I trust Him and I know we’re not supposed to be secure here on earth. I just try to make the best of where we are and get involved and be a positive role model. Every team we’ve been on, we’ve tried to be a part of the Bible study; either host it in our home or be actively involved. Whatever charity events are open and available, we try to be there.

KA – So charities are very important to you?

RF – Oh very! I’m able to be involved in a number of places. One of the closest places to my heart here in Arizona is called Hacienda and it’s a group home for mentally and physically disabled people. I’ve fallen in love with the people there and formed friendships. One girl named Cassie and I are doing a book club together. I go in and read to her and we pray together and I’m just her buddy. There are a number of people I’ve been able to do that with.  It puts things in perspective for me. How dare I complain about the weather or having to move again? Here, these people are quadriplegics. Cassie’s dying of a brain tumor. How dare I be bitter or angry? I come home and I tell my kids that too, “Guys, I hung out with a 17-year-old boy today who dove into a pool and broke his neck,” and how thankful we should be for every day we have… and make the best of it.

KA – What a wonderful example that is for your kids…

RF – Oh it’s great! As soon as they’re old enough, they’re coming with me. I can’t wait to get them involved and teach them that life isn’t always about them.

KA – It’s great to hear that passion you have for other people because there is this idea that all NFL wives are money hungry women who are all about fashion and beauty and nothing else. So to hear your story and your compassion for others is refreshing. What would you say to other wives who find themselves moving around the country, following their husbands to support them, yet feeling a sense of loss regarding their own dreams?

RF – Oh! I’m totally there. That’s one area where I get weak at times, too. When Jay and I got married, I was applying to medical school and he had plans of being a football coach and a teacher. And I thought I would be the breadwinner. I was career-driven and motivated and it absolutely flip-flopped on us. I ended up being a stay-at-home mom, having four kids in a row and moving. I just decided that once I had children, that (would be) my life. That was what I was about. It was my purpose and my plan, to raise my kids well and I didn’t want anyone to do that for me or take that awesome opportunity from me.

For those wives in the same situation, I say: As soon as I get into a new city, we get settled, we find a network of friends, we find a church that we’re comfortable in and we just start praying for opportunities. You don’t have to look too far to find a place to be involved. It’s amazing to be a wife and mother and also feel like I’m contributing to make someone else’s life better too.

In Part 2 of her interview, find out what advice Rebecca Feely gives to young NFL wives, her secret to a strong marriage, and the passion that helps make her a healthy and happy mom.

Kim Anthony can be contacted through www.KimAnthony.net or on Twitter @RealKimAnthony.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.