Tom Brady has come a long way since he was first drafted by the New England Patriots in 2000.
After signing with the Pats, the football player eventually earned a G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) nickname thanks to his impressive skills on the field. Brady has even appeared in nine Super Bowl games, winning seven of them. (Brady helped the Pats win the Lombardi Trophy six times and once for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.)
After an impressive tenure with the Boston-based team, Brady announced in March 2020 that he was leaving the Pats for Tampa Bay’s NFL squad.
“Excited, humble and hungry …if there is one thing I have learned about football, it’s that nobody cares what you did last year or the year before that…you earn the trust and respect of those around through your commitment every single day,” the California native wrote via Instagram at the time. “I’m starting a new football journey and thankful for the @buccaneers for giving me an opportunity to do what I love to do. I look forward to meeting all my new teammates and coaches and proving to them that they can believe and trust in me…I have always believed that well done is better than well said, so I’m not gonna say much more – I’m just gonna get to work!”
After helping the Bucs win the Super Bowl during his inaugural season with the Florida-based team, the TB12 founder confirmed his professional retirement in February 2022.
“I have always believed the sport of football is an ‘all-in’ proposition — if a 100% competitive commitment isn’t there, you won’t succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game. There is physical, mental and emotional challenge EVERY single day that has allowed me to maximize my highest potential,” he wrote via Instagram statement at the time. “And I have tried my very best these past 22 years. There are no shortcuts to success on the field or in life. This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes, I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention.”
Brady eventually reversed his decision just six weeks later and noted his intentions to return to the Bucs for another NFL season. Despite Brady’s excitement to hit the field with his teammates again, his professional career made headlines in August 2022 after it was announced that he was taking a leave of absence.
“Tom has been excused today. He’ll be taking … he’ll be back somewhere around after Tennessee,” Bucs head coach Todd Bowles said during a press conference. “He’s going to deal with some personal things.”
As Brady sought to deal with his personal issues, reports swirled that his marriage to Gisele Bündchen was in jeopardy.
“Gisele was not happy when Tom un-retired from the NFL after such a short time,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly that September. “There is tension between them. They’re working through things and trying to come out the other side.”
The supermodel — who shares son Benjamin, born in 2009, and daughter Vivian, born in 2012, with Brady — has been candid about how she felt about her husband’s retirement.
“I’ve done my part, which is [to] be there for [Tom],” the Brazil native said in her Elle cover story in October 2022. “I moved to Boston, and I focused on creating a cocoon and a loving environment for my children to grow up in and to be there supporting him and his dreams. Seeing my children succeed and become the beautiful little humans that they are, seeing him succeed, and being fulfilled in his career — it makes me happy. At this point in my life, I feel like I’ve done a good job on that.”
She added: “I have a huge list of things that I have to do, that I want to do. At 42, I feel more connected with my purpose.”
As Brady and Bündchen remained tight-lipped on the specifics of their marital issues, the athlete touted fatherhood as one of his greatest achievements.
“I want ’em to obviously define something they love to do, but it would be really hard to follow in my football footsteps for sure, or my wife’s footsteps,” the quarterback — who also shares son Jack, born in 2007, with ex-girlfriend Bridget Moynahan — exclusively told Us in June 2022 of his three kids. “I want them to find something where they can go into it without these exceedingly high expectations for themselves before these kids have had an opportunity to make mistakes.”
He added: “Kids are the best thing in the world. They just bring so much perspective into our lives and they’re so much fun. They’re the party. And at the same time, it’s a lot of energy! You better make sure you have it for ’em and just try to do the best you can. … I remember when they were newborns and to see ’em now and how they communicate to people … they kind of make me so proud!”
In October 2022, Brady and Bündchen confirmed their decision to split after nearly 14 years of marriage, revealing they’d already finalized their divorce. “We arrived at this decision amicably and with gratitude for the time we spent together. We are blessed with beautiful and wonderful children who will continue to be the center of our world in every way,” the football icon wrote in a statement shared via his Instagram Story. “We will continue to work together as parents to always ensure they receive the love and attention they deserve.”
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Scroll below to revisit Brady’s highs and lows through the years: