Danica Patrick Opens Up About Aaron Rodgers Romance and Why She's Retiring From Racing

Patrick will ride her final race on Sunday at the Indianapolis 500

Leading up to her final race on Sunday at the Indianapolis 500, Danica Patrick opened up about her relationship with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and why she is stepping away from the race track for good.

While appearing on Jenny McCarthy’s SiriusXM radio show on Tuesday, Patrick — who, at 36, is the most successful female driver in the history of American open-wheel racing — revealed how her recent romance with Rodgers developed many years after they originally met.

“We met at the ESPYs in 2012. We both remember meeting each other, it was quick,” Patrick said, before laughing. “I got his email address, and I remember thinking to myself, ‘Oh, not a phone number? Just an email address?”

Patrick and Rodgers, 34, kept in contact on and off throughout the years, until, finally, something sparked between them — even if she is a fan of the Chicago Bears, the longtime rivals of the Packers.

“We kept in touch a little bit, and there were some years we didn’t talk to each other, and then some every now and again, but it wasn’t until obviously recently that we actually had phone numbers,” Patrick recalled. “We referred to each other as Chicago and Green Bay — it was very cute.”

Rodgers, who helped to lead the Packers to victory in the 2010 Super Bowl, ended his relationship with Olivia Munn in 2017 after three years together. Their breakup came after months of engagement speculation that started when Munn was spotted with a diamond ring on her left ring finger. Patrick was previously dating NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. before their split in 2017.

Now they have found love, Patrick said they keep up the romance at home by doing sweet things for each other, like eating homemade waffles together on Sundays.

Turns out, their relationship is going so well that Patrick went so far as to say she will not only be cheering for Rodgers, but the entire Packers team, when they take the field for the upcoming season.

“I can’t wait to go to Lambeau,” Patrick told USA Today on Sunday. “I was a Bears fan (but) I’ve known Aaron for quite awhile and I’ve always told him I would cheer for him. As I’ve said before, I cheer for him, I just don’t want his team to win. Now, of course, I cheer for the whole team.”

With Patrick preparing to retire from the sport she has been a household name in for years, she told USA Today that there are things she likely won’t miss from her adrenaline-filled races.

“I don’t think I’ll miss too much how nervous you get and how uncomfortable. I’m not going to miss that discomfort, and it’s a lot. You have a knot in your stomach for a while,” she said. “But, fortunately, those moments also have given me some of my most memorable moments as well, so I don’t know. I’m sure there will be something that I miss about it, but the discomfort I won’t.”

NASCAR Daytona 500 Auto Racing, Daytona Beach, USA - 18 Feb 2018
Reinhold Matay/AP/REX/Shutterstock

In an interview with ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, Patrick expanded on the reasons why she felt the time was right to walk away from the sport.

“I just stopped having fun, I don’t love racing—like I love cars and I love driving them—my favorite part is really about the progression and setting goals and accomplishing them,” Patrick explained. “For me, a lot of the things that I was there for seemed like they were slipping away, so it wasn’t as fun anymore.”

She added: “I’m kind of just ready to set the bag of bricks down and be a little less stressed all of the time.”

When it comes to her legacy, Patrick simply said she wanted to be remembered as an entertaining driver who did the best she could each time she was behind the wheel.

“I want to be remembered as a great driver, and someone who stood their ground, someone who was run and interesting to watch,” she said. “I hope they respect my honesty and authenticity, and just remember me as a great driver—and as a girl, too. That’s also been part of my story.”

Tune in to coverage of the Indianapolis 500— and Patrick’s final ride—on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Eastern on ABC.

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