Dale Earnhardt Jr. Admits to Being 'Immature' in His Early Relationship with Wife: 'I Was a Child'

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife Amy opened up about their relationship troubles, including attending couples therapy, to NBC Sports' Graham Besinger

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Amy Reimann
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and wife Amy. Photo: David Becker/NASCAR/Getty

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife Amy are opening up about the struggles they’ve faced in their relationship and how he’s grown since they first started dating.

The recently retired NASCAR driver, 43, didn’t hold back during a recent interview in his North Carolina home with Graham Bensinger.

In a preview of the conversation — which will air this weekend to kick off the ninth season of In Depth — Dale Jr. candidly spoke about his marriage, explaining that therapy saved his relationship with Amy, 36, who he began dating in 2009.

“Me and Amy were having a hard time figuring out how to make our relationship work… Every day was like grinding gears,” the father of one shared. “Just a lot of tension and disagreement and misunderstanding, and there were great times — and then there were days when we would both sort of withdraw and get frustrated with each other and not communicate and hold grudges.”

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Dale Jr. also took responsibility for the difficulties, saying, “I was a really, really immature person. I was a child inside when it came down to it… I didn’t know how to be thoughtful, generous.”

“We had the potential to be great and have a great family together but if we didn’t have [a therapist] I don’t think that we would have met that potential.”

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. and wife Amy. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Amy revealed that her husband was totally opposed to marriage at first. “He said so many times for so many years that he just wasn’t gonna get married,” she recalled. “But he wanted to have kids and so I told him, ‘I get you not wanting to get married. We don’t have to get married, but I’m never having children with you if we aren’t.’ ”

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Eventually, Dale Jr. changed his mind, Amy said. “Coming from his background with his mom and dad and just all the things they went through, I think he realized that if he continued with this path he was on mentally he wasn’t gonna be much different,” she reflected.

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In spite of their complicated history, the couple married on New Year’s Eve 2016 and recently welcomed their first child, a girl named Isla Rose, on April 30.

“She’s finally here! @DaleJr and I are officially parents to a beautiful baby girl, Isla Rose Earnhardt,” Amy tweeted at the time. “It feels like a dream. The best dream ever. 💕”

Added Dale Jr. sweetly in a retweet of his wife’s words, “Everyone was right. It’s a new beginning. Now everything I do will be for her and Amy. So blessed.”

Dale Jr.’s upcoming book, Racing to the Finish, slated for released next month, addresses his family and marriage, as well as his concerns about developing brain trauma as a result of his racing career.

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