JJ Watt and Kealia Ohai Watt's Relationship Timeline

JJ Watt and Kealia Ohai Watt tied the knot in the Bahamas in 2020

Kealia Ohai and J. J. Watt attend the NFL Honors at University of Minnesota on February 3, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
J.J. Watt and Kealia Ohai Watt. Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Football star JJ Watt and soccer pro Kealia Ohai Watt are a power couple in the sports world. They began dating in early 2016 and although the couple chose to keep their relationship private at first, speculation about their romance started when JJ wore Kealia's jersey number to a press conference.

Kealia, a star forward for the women's soccer team the Houston Dash, was the first to confirm her relationship with JJ, a defensive end for the Houston Texans, and the two tied the knot over Valentine's Day weekend in 2020. In June 2022, the couple announced they were expecting their first child together.

From their first spark to their pregnancy announcement, here's a complete timeline of JJ Watt and Kealia Ohai Watt's relationship.

Early 2016: JJ Watt and Kealia Ohai Watt start dating

J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans and girlfriend Kealia Ohai of the Houston Dash court side during Game One of the first round of the Western Conference 2017 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on April 16, 2017 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement
Bob Levey/Getty

Although they didn't reveal their romance until 2017, PEOPLE reported that Kealia and JJ started dating in early 2016. They were initially introduced by Kealia's brother-in-law, Brian Cushing, who had been a teammate of JJ's.

While the pair did their best to keep their relationship quiet, fans began speculating that the two were an item after JJ wore Kealia's jersey number to a press conference. The two were also spotted on date nights around the city.

October 2016: Kealia Ohai Watt admits that she and JJ Watt are a couple

As a guest on the 2 Up Front podcast, Kealia was asked about her relationship with JJ. The soccer star confirmed that they were a couple, saying, "The rumors are true. We are dating. I've known JJ for a really long time, and we've always been great friends." She also added that she was proud of JJ for overcoming a season-ending injury and undergoing back surgery.

January 31, 2017: JJ Watt takes Kealia Ohai Watt on a birthday trip to Mexico

Although Kealia went public with their relationship in October 2016, JJ kept teasing the pair's romance — he shared a snap of "J" and "K" stockings at his home during the holidays — until Kealia's birthday in 2017. JJ finally made their relationship public when he took her on a getaway to Mexico to celebrate her birthday and posted a photo of the two cuddling on the beach. Alongside the photo, he wrote, "Happy Birthday beautiful. May this be your best year yet!"

JJ later spoke to PEOPLE about Kealia and their trip. "She's awesome. We just went to Mexico for her birthday and the whole weekend was competition — whether it was ping pong or the weight room," he said. "She's extremely competitive which is a ton of fun. She's incredible."

As for why he waited nearly a year into the relationship to make it public, he said: "There's a little bit of that cat and mouse game where everyone wants a photo of us and wants us to confirm it. And I was like, all right, I'll do it so now we can enjoy ourselves and live happily. And it's been great."

March 22, 2017: Kealia Ohai Watt flies to Wisconsin for 12 hours to celebrate JJ Watt's birthday

Kealia didn't let distance stand in her way of seeing JJ for his 28th birthday. Although she could only stay for 12 hours, she flew to his cabin in Wisconsin to be with him and celebrate.

Along with a photo of the couple, JJ posted about the experience on social media, stating, "On her only off day during preseason camp, flew in to spend 12 hours here for my birthday. Such an awesome surprise. Thank you, beautiful."

May 2019: JJ Watt and Kealia Ohai Watt get engaged

On May 26, 2019, the football athlete announced that he had proposed to Kealia. The couple shared the news on social media, with JJ writing, "I'm the luckiest man in the world." He posted four photos from the beachfront proposal, including one that showed him on bended knee in front of Kealia.

As one more surprise to his new fiancée, he flew Kealia's closest family members and friends to Houston to celebrate their engagement. Among those who joined the celebration were Kealia's sister, Megan, and brother-in-law, Cushing, along with her former Houston Dash teammate Chioma Ubogagu.

August 2019: Kealia Ohai Watt supports JJ Watt at practice

As JJ worked hard at the Houston Texans open training camp practice at the Houston Methodist Training Center in mid-August 2019, he was treated to a visit from his fiancée. Kealia came by to support him and watch him play. He posted a photo of the two together at practice, writing, "Today was a good day."

December 2019: JJ Watt and Kealia Ohai Watt admit their relationship is competitive

J. J. Watt and his girlfriend Kealia Ohai arrive for the 2017 Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Award Show on December 5, 2017, at Barclays Center in New York City.
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty

At the Sports Illustrated Awards, the couple opened up about how their athletic careers affect the dynamic of their relationship. JJ told PEOPLE, "We're very competitive. Very, very competitive and we like to work out together. She's much faster than me, [while] I'm slightly stronger."

Kealia chimed in, "I've never heard him admit that. That I'm faster than him. That's nice!"

JJ jokingly added, "Sometimes. I have a broken leg so that's why."

January 2020: Kealia Ohai Watt signs with the Chicago Red Stars

In an Instagram post, Kealia shared that she had joined the Chicago Red Stars. Alongside a photo of her in a Chicago Red Stars sweatshirt, she stated, "Extremely excited to be a Red Star!!! Can't wait to get to work."

JJ congratulated his fiancée, writing, "Very proud of you and excited for you!! I'll hold it down here, you dominate in Chicago!!"

He followed with a celebratory photo of himself wearing a Chicago Red Stars hoodie, sweatpants and beanie.

"Let's go @Kealiamae!!!!" he captioned the picture.

February 15, 2020: JJ Watt and Kealia Ohai Watt get married in the Bahamas

JJ and Kealia tied the knot at The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort, in the Bahamas on Feb. 15, 2020. They wed in the resort's Versailles Gardens venue, and the couple's wedding planner, Piper Hatfield, told PEOPLE that they chose the backdrop because they loved the details of the 12th-century cloister, which was built in France and reassembled.

He posted wedding photos to Instagram, declaring that it was "the best day of my life." In a sweet and funny nod to his family, he also posted a video of him dancing with his grandmother to Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines."

March 2020: JJ Watt and Kealia Ohai Watt quarantine for their honeymoon

The couple tied the knot just a few weeks before the country went into lockdown. He told PEOPLE, "Obviously, having a nationwide quarantine right after your wedding isn't exactly how you planned the honeymoon phase."

The newlyweds didn't just relax, though. They trained together at their home in Wisconsin. "It was great, we really enjoyed it. We got a chance to spend a lot of time together, to train and just to be together after our wedding," he recalled.

In a later interview on the 3rd Hour of Today, JJ called the experience "different but exciting."

July 9, 2020: JJ Watt and Kealia Ohai Watt return to their respective teams

JJ Watt and Kealia Ohai
Kealia Ohai Instagram

As the sports world prepared to return during the ongoing pandemic, JJ and Kealia went to train for their teams in different cities.

Kealia returned to play with the Red Stars when the National Women's Soccer League moved forward with its season, entering a "quarantine bubble" with her teammates during her league's Challenge Cup tournament in Utah.

"I haven't actually seen her in about a month and a half," JJ told PEOPLE of his wife. "I'm not allowed to go, not allowed to see her. So, it's very bittersweet because I love — I absolutely love — watching her play soccer. I love watching her compete. I love watching her play. For me, it's incredible."

He also explained his situation, saying, "When I came back down to Houston, they opened the gym I work out at. It's just me and the trainer. He wears a mask, and we get full workouts in there and then we run on the field," he continued. "It's been really good. We really worked hard on my body all off-season long."

He added he was, however, "missing his wife."

March 1, 2021: JJ Watt says Kealia Ohai Watt is the better athlete

JJ Watt and Kealia Ohai
Kealia Ohai Instagram

During an interview for the U.S. troops that was organized by the United Service Organizations, JJ opened up about who was the better athlete in his relationship. "If I say anything but my wife I'll get my a-- kicked," he joked.

He went on to say that his wife is better at "speed and agility" drills, but he also added, "I challenge her on strength activities."

March 2021: JJ Watt signs with the Arizona Cardinals

JJ announced that he signed with the Arizona Cardinals just a couple of weeks after he was released by the Houston Texans, for whom he had played for a decade. Kealia celebrated the news the following day by posting a selfie of her and JJ. "Bird Gang @jjwatt @azcardinals," she captioned the photo, which showed her wearing an Arizona Cardinals hat.

March 22, 2021: Kealia Ohai Watt calls JJ Watt her favorite person on his 32nd birthday

For JJ's 32nd birthday, Kealia shared a sweet birthday tribute to her husband. Alongside four throwback photos of JJ, she wrote, "Happy Birthday to my favorite person in the world. I'm so grateful for every moment I get to spend with you. You make life so beautiful for everyone around you. I love you forever." She concluded with a blue heart emoji.

February 2, 2022: JJ Watt and Kealia Ohai Watt celebrate their 2nd wedding anniversary

Kealia posted a photo of her embracing JJ on their wedding day to celebrate their second anniversary. "2*15*20 The best day and the best two years married to you. Happy Anniversary, I love you so much @jjwatt," she wrote.

JJ replied in the comments, "Best day of my life."

June 2, 2022: JJ Watt and Kealia Ohai Watt announce they are expecting their first baby

On June 2, 2022, the pair revealed they were pregnant with their first child on their respective Instagram pages. JJ shared a picture of the couple that showed Kealia cradling her baby bump with the caption, "Could not be more excited. ❤️💙." On her own page, Kealia shared that the baby is due in October.

July 2022: JJ Watt and Kealia Ohai Watt go on a babymoon

The couple shared a series of photos from a beach vacation on Instagram.

"Hang it in the Louvre 😍😍😍," the NFL player captioned a photo of his pregnant wife sitting in a pool. JJ also posted snaps from a beach walk on his Instagram Story.

July 2022: JJ Watt and Kealia Ohai Watt attend his brother TJ's wedding

JJ and Kealia celebrated the wedding of JJ's brother, TJ Watt, and pro soccer player Dani Rhodes.

His sister-in-law Gabriella Watt later shared family photos from the event in September, in which Kealia shows off her baby bump in a one-shoulder maxi dress.

October 23, 2022: JJ Watt and Kealia Ohai Watt welcome their first child

The Watts welcomed their son, Koa James Watt, into the world on Oct. 23, 2022. They made the announcement on Instagram by sharing a sweet image of mom, dad and baby at the hospital.

"Love and happiness have reached heights we never even knew existed," the couple wrote.

October 30, 2022: JJ and Kealia Watt celebrate their baby boy's first game day

Kealia shared a photo on her Instagram Story of her newborn son, Koa, supporting his dad as the Arizona Cardinals played against the Minnesota Vikings. In the photo, Kealia showed off the baby boy's red onesie, which featured JJ's name and jersey number on the back. "Koa's first game day ❤️ Let's go daddy!!! @jjwatt," Kealia wrote on the photo.

That same day, JJ shared a sweet snap on his own Instagram page. His post featured a pair of football cleats printed with Koa's name, date of birth and baby footprints. "Purpose," the athlete wrote in the caption.

December 27, 2022: JJ Watt announces his retirement with family photos

JJ posted photos on Twitter and Instagram featuring him, Kealia and their 9-week-old son, Koa, at State Farm Stadium. In the caption, the Arizona Cardinals player shared news of his retirement.

"Koa's first ever NFL game. My last ever NFL home game," he wrote. "My heart is filled with nothing but love and gratitude. It's been an honor and a pleasure."

January 8, 2023: JJ Watt shares a sweet moment with Kealia Watt after his final game

Following JJ's last NFL game, the newly retired athlete spoke during a postgame news conference and then headed back to the field. There, JJ posed with Kealia and their son, Koa, for one more family photo in his Arizona Cardinals uniform.

Earlier that day, Kealia marked Watt's last game by sharing an adorable photo of JJ feeding their infant son on her Instagram Story. "4 hours before his last NFL game ever 😍 we love you @jjwatt," Kealia wrote.

January 31, 2023: JJ Watt has a Taylor Swift-themed cake made for Kealia Watt's 31st birthday

JJ got Kealia an incredible acrylic cake for her 31st birthday, inspired by Taylor Swift's Midnights album cover. At JJ's request, the bakery photoshopped Kealia's face on the cover of Midnights in place of Swift's.

"When your wife loves cake and @taylorswift13…" the NFL player captioned an image of the extravagant dessert on Twitter.

February 8, 2023: Kealia Watt says J.J. Watt retired in part to spend more time with Koa

Kealia talked to PEOPLE about J.J.'s decision to retire from the NFL. "I think that there were obviously many things that went into his decision," she said. "I know he wanted to be with Koa."

"The way it worked out, it was just the perfect time and it couldn't have been better for us and Koa," the soccer player added.

February 9, 2023: Kealia Watt says her and J.J. Watt's relationship has changed since becoming parents

Kealia spoke to PEOPLE about how her and J.J.'s lives have changed since welcoming their son, Koa. "We have grown so much as a couple and as partners through this whole thing," the soccer player said. "We've really figured out how to be a good team and to work together and work with each other."

However, the mom of one admitted that the change hasn't been easy. "That affects your relationship," she said of becoming parents, "and you really have to communicate and find time for each other, because the first couple of months, it's like that goes out the window because you have no time."

She added, "A baby is not something that makes your relationship so much better and easier."

May 1, 2023: Kealia Watt and J.J. Watt invest in Burnley Football Club

On Instagram, Kealia and J.J. announced their decision to invest in Burnley Football Club — an English soccer team.

"I've only been retired for about four months now, but I really need something to do," J.J. said in a video. "We are going to invest in European football. We don't have 'buy an entire European football club' kind of money, we're more along the lines of minority investment but massive emotional investment."

In a separate post, Kealia wrote: "Incredibly excited to be joining the @burnleyofficial ownership group (and for JJ to have something to do 😂😂)."

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