The football star, who played for the New England Patriots for 20 years before becoming a Tampa Bay Buccaneer in spring 2020, made it clear over the years that he wasn’t ready to stop playing football despite his age, even joking about his retirement in commercials.
However, the oldest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl hinted on more than one occasion about when — if ever — he would hang up his cleats.
“We’ll see how long it goes,” Brady said in November 2019 when asked if he could stay on the field into his late 40s. “Easier said than done. I know the kind of effort I am putting in right now, but what a great privilege to play a sport that I love.”
While fans were happy to hear the athlete’s plans to stick around the NFL a little longer, his then-wife, Gisele Bündchen, wanted a little more clarification on the topic — and Brady understood why.
“I think my wife has, you know, held down the house for a long time now, and I think there’s things that she wants to accomplish,” he said during a September 2021 episode of his “Let’s Go” podcast. “You know, she hasn’t worked as much in the last 10, 12 years just raising our family and kind of committing to being in a life in Boston and then moving to Florida.”
The California native and Bündchen tied the knot in 2009 and welcomed son Benjamin the same year. In 2012, they welcomed daughter Vivian. Brady, who also shares son Jack with ex Bridget Moynahan, has called meeting the Brazilian model the best thing that ever happened to him.
“I think the one phone call that changed my life was my friend Ed, who called me one day and he said, ‘I have this girl and I think you should call her,’” he told WSJ. Magazine in September 2021. “I ended up calling her and it ended up being the love of my life. … She didn’t pick up, actually. I had to leave a voicemail.”
While Brady continually played coy on when he’d say goodbye to his signature sport, the TB12 Method author always said that spending more time with his family would be his reason for leaving.
However, the idea of walking away proved to be hard for the seven-time Super Bowl champion, who took home six trophies with the Patriots and one with the Bucs during his career.
“It’s been a huge part of my life for a long time, and I love thinking about it,” the University of Michigan alum said during a February 2021 press conference. “I think football to me is much more than just a sport because there’s the physical element, there’s a mental approach, you know, how you’re going to get the job done, and there’s the emotional part.”
Throughout his football journey, Bündchen was always right beside him, with a source exclusively telling Us Weekly in February 2021 that the model is “over the moon proud of Tom and his accomplishments thus far.”
When Brady announced his return to the NFL in March 2022 following a brief retirement one month prior, his marriage to Bündchen seemingly took a hit. Us confirmed in September 2022 that the pair hired divorce lawyers amid their relationship woes.
The duo announced in October 2022 that they had already split and finalized their divorce and were no longer together after 13 years of marriage.
In February 2023, when Brady confirmed his official retirement from the NFL, the supermodel again showed him support. “Wishing you only wonderful things in this new chapter of your life,” Bündchen wrote in response to her ex-husband’s announcement that he “wouldn’t change a thing” about his long career.
Keep scrolling to see what both Bündchen and Brady have said about the athlete’s retirement goals over the years — including their statements on both of his step backs from the league: