Chip Kelly keeps private life private, including fact he was married

AP

Chip Kelly has gone to great lengths to keep his private life, well, private.

He doesn’t open up about the personal to co-workers, so the fact he’s made his family and friends off limits is no surprise. But the veil of secrecy was pulled back a bit in a profile by Kent Babb of the Washington Post, who found among other things that the Eagles coach had an ex-wife that no one knew about.

For all the ink that’s been spilled about Kelly, no one has previously reported the existence of a secret wife, with many of the stories about him referring to him as a lifelong bachelor.

But Jennifer Jenkins talked to Babb about Kelly, without revealing too much about their seven-year marriage. They met in 1989 when she was a senior at New Hampshire. They married in 1992, and divorced in 1999.

“Why does everything say that you weren’t married?” Jenkins recalled a friend asking her. “I just roll my eyes.”

She joked about showing wedding pictures on her iPhone since no one knew or believes it actually happened, but she didn’t divulge much about their past.

“It wasn’t his fault because he was focused on football,” she said. “That’s just not the way we’ve ever — that’s not it. That’s not what happened. . . .“We were just young.”

Kelly’s marital status isn’t really relevant, or even that interesting. But the way he’s gone about his business is fascinating for someone in such a public business.

Babb’s not the first reporter to try to peel back the layers of that onion, and won’t be the last. Robert Huber of Philadelphia Magazine tried back in the summer, and even showed up unannounced at Kelly’s parent’s house.

We don’t talk about Chip outside the family,” his father Paul Kelly said. It wasn’t long before Huber got a call from Eagles PR, and at the behest of their coach, expressed their displeasure with the visit.

And longtime Eagles beat writer Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer just noted that Jenkins probably won’t be doing any more interviews in the near future, pointing out “Chip’s friends, when they talk about Chip, are asked not to do so again.”

At a certain level, it seems at least silly and possibly Nixonian.

Football, specifically at the NFL level, is so thoroughly covered that it feels like we know everything about everyone involved in the process. But we don’t, as reporters who cover teams every day and notice every muscle twinge can go years without truly knowing the players involved. And when the people we cover work as hard as Kelly apparently does to keep a secret, a hard job can be made nearly impossible.

All of which is, of course, Kelly’s right.

But his middle name is Edward. There, the secret’s out now.

34 responses to “Chip Kelly keeps private life private, including fact he was married

  1. My wife’s first husband was a college football coach. She said it was horrible. I think that only a certain type of woman is cut out for that role.

  2. Welcome to weirdsville, and Chip Kelly is the mayor. If there is nothing to hide, then why all of the cloak and dagger non-sense. I don’t care how private he wants to keep his life. If someone wants the story, the appropriate funds will be distributed to make that person talk.

  3. There’s nothing wrong with wanting privacy. Report on what he does as a coach. There’s no reason to pry into someone’s private life if they wish to keep it private.

  4. The man is a football coach, he’s not running for office. Let him have his privacy if that’s what he wants.

  5. Not even George Allen — the most paranoid of all NFL coaches — gave a crap if the media reported on his personal life.

    The guy drank milk 5 times a day, was married, and had 3 kids.

    End of media’s interest in Allen’s personal life.

    Kelly’s paranoia is Cheney-esque. That’s not a compliment.

  6. If you don’t like it, choose a job that isn’t covered by the media. There are many suitable professions – accounting, marketing, teaching, plumbing, NASA… pretty much anything other than sports, music, and acting. Comes with the territory big boy, now go put your pants on.

  7. Showing up unannounced at his parents house? Really? And some wonder why the media is despised. Leave the guy alone.

  8. “And when the people we cover work as hard as Kelly apparently does to keep a secret, a hard job can be made nearly impossible”

    Good for him. People should be allowed private lives. If he was doing something to disgrace his club then that is a bad thing. Shielding his ex-wife from the “do you remember when you were married” questions seems a kindness to him. It use to be back when Deirdorph was a player that off the field players could have a life. I went to church with him when I was a kid. I ran into the wall that he was. My reaction was “excuse me, Mr Deirdorph” and went along. I was in Pop Warner football at the time. It never crossed my mind to bother him or any of the other football players who came to my church. They were dads.

    Mr Kelley should be allowed to have a private life. It should be private until he does something wrong. I think it is a good thing.

  9. nflofficeadmin says:
    Jul 24, 2015 1:24 PM
    If you don’t like it, choose a job that isn’t covered by the media. There are many suitable professions – accounting, marketing, teaching, plumbing, NASA… pretty much anything other than sports, music, and acting. Comes with the territory big boy, now go put your pants on.
    ——————-
    Or maybe he can do whatever he wants with his personal life. It’s a free country, last time I checked.

  10. Considering most of what we hear about players & coaches off the field keeping his private life just that may be the best move he has ever made.

  11. And the sad thing is, there is a market for this stuff otherwise Mr. Babb wouldn’t be digging around in others trash like a homeless soul.

    Even if I were the biggest Eagles fan on the planet, I can honestly tell you I could care less about the marriage history of the head coach. We are celebrity driven. How sad. And now we have a celebrity leading the polls for the presidential election. Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

  12. This is the sort of information that caters to the non-fan demographic. People who follow the sport don’t care if the coach is married, divorced, straight, or gay. We really don’t. We care about winning.

    Reporting on the personal lives of coaches is reality-TV style journalism that caters to the masses who couldn’t tell you the difference between the X and the Z receiver but could tell you where those dudes are known to party in the offseason.

  13. True story – he was also stood up by his fiance back in 2008/2009 time frame. Pretty sure the 2 met at University of New Hampshire as well, prior to him going to Oregon. Long story short, she broke it off either the day of or weekend of the wedding.

  14. Heck, I didn’t know Belichick had a daughter until I saw the article and picture. Of course, after seeing the picture, I can see why it’s not widely known.

  15. He never mentioned being married because it’s no one’s business and doesn’t matter. Seriously, this is what passes for news anymore?

  16. If the fans don’t care, then why should the media? You got these clown fans who every year he’s going back to college, yet all he does is put up winning seasons. The media gets so upset with him being innovative and secretive. What has having an extremely high profile gotten any coach? Look at clowns like Rex Ryan, The Arizona coach, and Jarret down in Dallas. Their high profile media loving ways become huge distractions and actually hinder their teams. Hence, I appreciate a brilliant young coach who wants to keep his life away from the media scrutiny.

  17. Yep. Chip Kelly will be out of the NFL two years from now. This time, I’m sure of it. And if I keep making the same prediction every year, I’ll be right about it eventually.

  18. People had iPhones in 1992? Was she taking pictures of pictures or something? Sounds to me like she just wants her name out there.

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