What to Know About Johnny 'Football' Manziel's Many Ups and Downs Following His Split from Wife
Manziel and wife Bre Tiesi recently split after experiencing troubles in their marriage
In the years since rising to prominence as a gifted quarterback at Texas A&M, Johnny Manziel has fallen at the center of multiple controversies that have derailed the promising career he once had ahead of him.
The former Cleveland Browns quarterback recently signed with the newly formed Alliance of American Football in March after spending just under a year playing in Canada. The 26-year-old made his debut with the Memphis Express on March 24, but the happiness would be cut short just a few days later when he confirmed he and wife Bre Tiesi have separated. The split came after the model accused Manziel of cheating on her while she was overseas on vacation earlier this month, sources told PEOPLE.
The reports of infidelity follow turmoil that has seemed to surround Manziel since as early as his freshman year at Texas A&M.
According to Sports Illustrated, Manziel was arrested for fighting and giving police a fake ID in June 2012, and was charged with disorderly conduct, failure to identify and possessing a false identification card, and would pay $2,000 in fines as part of his plea agreement.
While he was briefly suspended by Texas A&M, Manziel would go on to break a 43-year-old offensive record in his first season as starting quarterback.
Then, just two games later, Manziel would break that record again, and become the first player in SEC history to have two 500-yard total offense games in a season.
Manziel won the Davey O’Brien Award and the Heisman Trophy in 2012, making him the first freshman ever to nab both awards.
With anticipation mounting heading into his second season as quarterback in 2013, Manziel was criticized for cutting short his scheduled stay as a college coach and counselor at the Manning Passing Academy — which some speculated was because he was “partying,” according to ESPN. Manziel’s father claimed at the time that his son left the program early due to dehydration.
The most serious of Manziel’s college controversies occurred when it was alleged he signed autographs for thousands of dollars, which is prohibited by the NCAA. The organization later acknowledged that Manziel did not receive money for his signatures, but he was still suspended for the first half of the university’s season opener.
Joining the Cleveland Browns
In 2014, Manziel declared his candidacy for the NFL draft and attempted to put the scandals at Texas A&M behind him.
“I was a kid who made some goofball decisions,” he told the Houston Chronicle at the time. “That’s been part of my journey. Maybe it’s part of the whole Johnny Football deal that I’m trying to get away from. I’m trying to show people I’ve grown up and I’ve learned from my experiences. I feel like you’re a stupid person if you continue to make the same wrong decisions.
While he was initially projected to be a top pick, it was hard to identify how high he would go in the draft. Though he was undeniably talented, many saw Manziel as a potential liability.
“I don’t like his antics,” Former NFL head coach Barry Switzer told Yahoo Sports of Manziel. “I think he’s an arrogant little prick.”
Manziel was eventually selected with the 22nd pick by the Cleveland Browns — but his stint with the team did not begin smoothly — he was fined $12,000 by the NFL after he made an offensive hand gesture during a nationally televised preseason game.
Then, in December of that year, a Browns fan sparked a fight between himself and Manziel’s entourage when he tried to approach the quarterback in the lobby of an apartment building in Cleveland. The fan later apologized, according to the Cleveland Scene.
Manziel would not earn the starting quarterback job with the Browns until a game late into his rookie season, which ended in a 30–0 blowout loss. In his second start, he suffered a hamstring injury and did not play again.
Treatment and domestic assault allegations
Manziel checked into a treatment facility in January 2015 and stayed there for 10 weeks. While the next few months following his release from treatment were quiet, Manziel was later stopped by police for driving on the shoulder of the road. A few weeks later, Manziel was benched by the Browns after video footage showed him partying at Texas A&M during a bye week. More videos of repeated late night partying followed in the coming weeks.
In February 2016, it was reported that Manziel threatened to kill his then-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, and then himself during an alleged domestic assault. Manziel was released by the Browns the following month.
In April of that year, Manziel was indicted by a grand jury on a misdemeanor assault charge in the incident, according to the New York Post. The charges were later dismissed after Manziel attended anger management classes and participated in a substance abuse program.
In February 2018, Manziel told ABC News that he suffers from depression and was taking medication for bipolar disorder.
“That’s what I thought would make me happy and get out of that depression,” Manziel said. “When I would wake up the next day after a night like that, going on a trip like that, and you wake up the next day and that is all gone, that liquid courage, or that liquid … sense of euphoria that is over you, is all gone.”
He would marry Bre Tiesi in March 2018. A rep for Manziel declined to comment to PEOPLE on the dissolution of the relationship.