Setting the record straight. Derek Jeter finally addressed the longstanding rumor that he gave gift bags to women after having one-night stands with them in the ’90s.
“I read the article,” the former New York Yankees player, 48, said in the upcoming docuseries The Captain, referring to a famous New York Post article about his alleged swag bag habit. “You know, you see it, and then it’s like, ‘How the f–k did people come up with this?’ You know, basically, that’s it. And who would believe this s–t? And you believed it!”
In 2011, the Post ran a story called “Jeter’s Booty Hauls” alleging that the athlete — then at the height of his baseball career — gave women “gift baskets of autographed memorabilia” after spending the night with them. One woman claimed that she received gift baskets on two separate occasions, though Post columnist Emily Smith later said the outlet didn’t confirm whether the woman had actually hooked up with Jeter or just visited him.
The former shortstop didn’t address the article at the time, but he now says there’s not any truth to it. “It’s a story that became larger than life,” he explained in the ESPN series, which premieres on Monday, July 18. “People keep regurgitating this story that never happened. Never happened.”
The rumor took on a life of its own, however, to the point that strangers would confront Jeter about how they adopted the gift basket strategy in their own lives.
“I remember being at a Starbucks one time and there’s some random guy behind me and he says, ‘Hey, I just want to let you know that I’m giving out gift baskets because you did,'” the New Jersey native recalled. “And I turned around and said, ‘You’re a f–kin’ idiot!’ And the look on his face. … Like, did he think I was gonna say, ‘Yeah, good job, man!’”
The Baseball Hall of Famer is now happily married to Hannah Jeter (née Davis), but he was linked to a long list of famous women before he and the model, 32, began their romance in 2012. The duo, who tied the knot in 2016, share daughters Bella, 4, Story, 3, and River, 7 months.
In her 2020 memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey, the “Emotions” singer, 53, revealed that her songs “My All” and “The Roof (Back in Time)” were about Derek, whom she dated from 1997 to 1998. “Derek was only the second person I had slept with ever (coincidentally, his number was 2 on the Yankees),” she wrote, adding that she believed he was her “soulmate” at the time.
Their romance didn’t last, but the Grammy winner said that the relationship helped her gather the strength to leave her ex-husband Tommy Mottola, calling Derek “the catalyst [she] needed to get out from under Tommy’s crippling control.”
The Captain premieres on ESPN and ESPN+ Monday, July 18, at 10 p.m. ET.
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