Abby Wambach & Wife Glennon Doyle on Co-Parenting (& Coaching Kid Soccer!) with Doyle's Ex-Husband

"We make sure the kids' lives are as least disrupted as possible," says soccer icon Abby Wambach about married life in a blended family with the best-selling author

abby waumbach and glennon doyle
Abby Wambach and Glennon Doyle. Photo: Melissa Lyttle

When Abby Wambach fell in love with best-selling author Glennon Doyle, the retired World Cup soccer champ found an unexpected joy in the family she never knew she needed.

"Before I met Glennon, I was living fast and hard," Wambach, 39, tells PEOPLE in the new issue out Friday. Now "bonus mom" to Doyle's three children—Chase, 17, Tish, 14, and Amma, 12—with her ex-husband Craig Melton, Wambach adds: "The kids and Glennon have taught me everything."

Wambach and Doyle, self-isolating at home in Naples, Fla., spoke in a joint interview via Zoom—coincidentally, on their third wedding anniversary—to promote Doyle's latest bestselling book, Untamed. In the memoir, Doyle, 44, recounts how she fell fast for Wambach when the pair crossed paths at a literary conference in 2016—and how she subsequently decided to end her 14-year marriage to Melton, a former model.

"The decision about whether to stay in my broken marriage or go with Abby didn't feel just about love," Doyle tells PEOPLE. "It was about whether I will abandon myself or be wild enough to abandon everyone's expectations of me?"

The pair, sober after years of struggle with addiction, wed in 2017 and have made their new blended family a priority.

"Divorce is difficult," says Wambach, who was married to soccer player Sarah Huffman for three years. "But Craig, Glennon and I make a choice every day. We ensure that the kids' lives are as least disrupted as possible."

glennon doyle family
From left: Tish Melton, Craig Melton, Chase Melton, Glennon Doyle, Amma Melton and Abby Wambach. Glennon Doyle/Instagram

That daily commitment "shows up in how we treat each other," says Wambach, who coached Tish's soccer team with Melton. "We're in constant communication."

Being a parent, or "bonus mom" to the kids, "has changed my perspective," says Wambach. "I didn't know how to be one. I had the instinct, but I grew up in a very different family than Glennon, and I are creating."

Ultimately, "Craig gave me the biggest gift in allowing me into the family dynamic," says Wambach. "He gave the kids permission to love me."

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