Since he entered the NFL in 1991, Brett Favre has been incapable of staying out of the news. Whether for his MVP play as a quarterback or his off the field issues, Favre is the definition of a public figure. This is his story.
Before he was an NFL legend, Brett Favre was a small town boy. He grew up in Kiln, Mississippi. The town is home to around 2,000 people and is a half hour drive to either Biloxi or the Gulf Coast.
The Favre Family
The Favres lived in Gulfport, Mississippi but moved to Kiln when Brett was young where they built a beautiful house on a large plot of land. Land was important to them so they could fish and hunt on and around their property. Irvin Favre used to say that he wanted a house to hold parties at so he could entertain guests, and they could enjoy themselves. More importantly, they would not have to go far to have a good time.
First Game Ever
Surprisingly, Brett Favre’s first position was not quarterback. In fifth grade, Favre played in his first football game. In the game, part of the “Fifth Grade Jamboree,” he scored three rushing touchdowns. After one of his three scores, another kid pulled down his pants in front of the entire audience and class. He was embarrassed by the incident, but let his play do the talking. It would not be the last time he got caught with his pants down.
Coach Favre, A.K.A. Dad
In high school, he attended Hancock North Central High. Favre played baseball in addition to football but focused primarily on the pigskin. He played quarterback, lineman, safety, kicker and punter for the team with a well-known coach – his father. Irvin was a hard-nosed coach and pushed Brett harder than anyone to do more and do better. Even though he had a great arm, Irvin’s team ran a run-oriented option offense. The young Favre barely threw more than five times in a game.
A Crash Course With College
He only received a single scholarship offer from Southern Mississippi after high school. Coaches wanted him to play defensive back, but he only wanted to be a quarterback and started his freshman year as the seventh string. He worked his way up to starter, but his football career was nearly derailed when he got into a near-fatal car accident before his senior year. They took out 30 inches of intestine, but he returned weeks later for a comeback victory versus Alabama.
Flying with the Falcons
Favre ended his time at Southern Mississippi as their record holder in most passing categories. The Atlanta Falcons decided to draft him with the 33rd pick of the 1991 draft to the displeasure of coach Jerry Glanville. Glanville used to make fun of his southern rookie and was quoted saying it would take a disaster like a plane crash for him to put Favre in the game. During his Falcon days, Favre threw two interceptions and completed none of his four passes.
The Beginning Of Addiction
As Brett established himself as a star following a trade to the Green Bay Packers, the pressure began to mount. No matter hard he tried, his team could never get past the Dallas Cowboys dynasty. With injuries mounting and more people depending on him for success, Favre began taking prescription pain medication to help him focus on football and manage his suffering. Over time, he developed an addiction to Vicodin and could be caught taking handfuls of pills.
Long Lasting Love
Outside of his family, the most important person in Favre’s life also grew up in Kiln. Like Favre, Deanna Tynes did not come from a well-off family. She met Brett in grade school, and they began dating in high school. Deanna was a year older and left for a community college to play basketball, but eventually transferred to join Brett at Southern Mississippi. She became pregnant at age 20 and gave birth to their daughter Brittany in 1989.
Brett’s Daughter: Before She Began Embarrassing Him
Brittany Favre was the couple’s first child, born to Deanna and Brett in 1989 while they still attended Southern Mississippi. Also, she was born out of wedlock. She would eventually make headlines of her own that embarrassed her family, possibly the result of the pressures of being Brett Favre’s oldest daughter. By the time of his texting scandal, Brittany was a young woman dealing with college life and the embarrassment of the situation.
Brett had been playing in Green Bay for three years, but Deanna was in Mississippi taking care of young Brittany with her family nearby. Deanna finally decided that Brittany deserved to live with her father, so they packed their bags and headed to Wisconsin. Life was still not so easy for the young family. His addiction was becoming worse, and he became moody, “loud, rough, and often hateful,” she said. She wanted to leave him but feared it could make him spiral deeper.
Road To Recovery
After suffering a seizure at the hospital, Brett’s secret was out. He admitted in a press conference to his addiction and voluntarily entered a treatment center. Two months after his public declaration, Brett surprised Deanna and proposed. She was still a bit hesitant but committed to him after joining him to sign the marriage license. An excited Brittany could not wait for the wedding and asked where the three of them would go for a honeymoon.
The Texting Scandal
When he was a member of the New York Jets later in his career, Favre got swooped up in a scandal. Favre was accused of sending lewd text messages to a handful of girls. One girl, Jenn Sterger, worked with the New York Jets as their game day broadcast host. She claimed that during the 2008 season, Favre sent her a collection of racy text messages, voice messages begging her to come to his room, and not-safe-for-work photos.
Beyond Sterger, massage therapists Christina Scavo and Shannon O’Toole both claimed to be fired by the Jets for complaining about his inappropriate behavior. Unlike Sterger, Scavo and O’Toole did not receive text messages directly from Favre, but he would refer to them in messages to another masseuse. Some of the messages read, “Kinda lonely tonight,” and “I guess I have bad intentions.” Scavo’s husband approached Favre and told him to back off, but Favre ignored his warning, and the Jets stopped contacting the two for work opportunities.
The scandal was put to bed after the Favre’s lawyer announced an agreement between his client and the girls. No settlement details have been disclosed since. The NFL investigated the allegations and Favre’s improper behavior but ruled that they could not conclude that he had violated the league’s personal conduct policy. They claimed they could not “make judgments about the appropriateness of personal relationships.” Favre was fined $50,000 for not cooperating with the league’s investigation since the league did not have enough evidence that he sent the photos.
Jenn Sterger’s First Reaction: “It Was Humiliating”
In an exclusive interview with Good Morning America, Jenn Sterger, the woman who started this texting scandal, broke her long silence to detail her inappropriate relationship with Favre. She told the world, “I’m not a gold-digger…I haven’t made a dime off anything in this whole situation. Not from the pictures. Not from Favre. I never wanted to sue anyone. That was never an intention of mine.” The interview would be another low point for the Favre family.
Not surprisingly, Favre did not speak about the incident much. His only official comments came through his lawyers. When approached by the press, Favre would continually deflect the question and pivot towards his preparation for the upcoming season. At the time, Favre was in the middle of his second season with the Minnesota Vikings. The league did release a statement on Favre, concluding, “On the basis of the evidence currently available to him, Commissioner Goodell could not conclude that Favre violated league policies relating to workplace conduct.”
Favre’s Wife’s Reaction
After two years of silence, Brett’s wife Deanna Favre opened up about Brett’s texting scandal. Like the humble and religious southern girl that she is, in her interview with Good Morning America, Deanna said, “I’m a woman of faith… faith has gotten me through many difficult struggles. It will get me through this one…You have to not let this struggle define you. You have to define your struggle and use it in a good way.”
Net Worth: $110 Million
Favre’s football career has put him and his family in a nice place moving forward in retirement. In 2001, Favre signed a “lifetime” extension of $100 million over ten years in 2001. This was the highest recorded contract in NFL history at the time, beating a $90 million deal to running back Stephen Davis. Favre would reward the Packers with five more playoff appearances. In addition to his playing salary, Favre earned about $9 million per year from endorsements. You can still find him in Wrangler jeans commercials.
The Golden Arm
Anyone who has seen Brett Favre play will instantly notice his incredibly strong arm. His coaches believed that he had the strongest arm they had ever seen. Beyond the physical strength necessary, his coaches believed his power came from his recklessness throughout his career. Favre always seemed to make throws with little margin for error between defenders. To make such passes, he needed to put enough zip on his throws. His “gunslinger” mentality sometimes drove coaches and fans nuts with interceptions, but made him a winner.
The Record Breaker
Although he did not play immediately with the Packers, Favre got his chance when starting quarterback Don Majkowski injured his ankle in week three. The Packers missed the playoffs, but Favre earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl. The next year, he got them on the right track and into the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. In 1994, Favre broke his first of many Packers records, throwing a franchise record (since broken) 33 touchdowns in the season.
Honeymoon? What Honeymoon?
Deanna and Brett wed on July 14, 1996, not long before training camp was set to begin leaving no time for a honeymoon. They would settle on returning to Green Bay. With Brett now fresh out of rehab, no one knew what to expect from him. Would he be the same MVP caliber player that he was the year prior? With an individual award under his belt, it was time for Brett to put his eyes on the true prize – a Super Bowl victory.
The Family Gets Bigger
In 1999, the Favre family got great news – they would be welcoming another daughter. Breleigh helped bring her father back down to earth. He was coming off his greatest stretch of football, winning three MVPs along the way and had become a god to Packers fans. Between his football schedule, endorsements, filming commercials, and public appearances, Favre did not want to make the same mistakes he did in the past, so he became an active father to Breleigh and Brittany.
Brett’s children recall how hard Brett tried to be the fun dad. He was always a jokester, as his teammates can attest. Breleigh has fond memories of her father taking her to school. He would blast country music from his truck with the windows down as he pulled away. Brittany has talked about how Brett would embarrass her at school. After he had dropped her off, he would throw tennis balls at her as she congregated with her friends.
Back and Better Than Ever
Green Bay Packers fans could not wait to have their savior back on the football field. Following his stint in rehab, Favre came to training camp ready to play and looked sharper than ever. With his head clear and his body feeling right, a healthy Favre was ready to get back in the thick of it. In the eyes of the fans, he was an every man just trying to make it through each day.
The 1996 season became one for the ages for Favre and the Packers. Not only did he throw for a personal best 39 touchdowns, but he led the Packers to the league’s number one offense. On the other side of the ball, Reggie White led the number one defense in the league. It is only the second time a team accomplished both in the same year. After crushing both the 49ers and Panthers at Lambeau Field, the Packers were moving on to the Super Bowl.
Achieving His Goal
The stage was set. Favre brought his number one Packers to the Super Bowl for a collision course with the New England Patriots. The Patriots too had a high octane offense powered by quarterback Drew Bledsoe and running back Curtis Martin. For Favre, he could find comfort in being close to home – the game took place at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, only an hour from Kiln. He trained his whole life for this moment and would not let it slip away.
The Cherry On Top
Favre wasted no time on the game’s greatest stage. On the second play of the game, Favre threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to Andre Rison after changing the play at the line. It was a great moment from the guy who did not know what a nickel defense was when he entered the league. His recognition of the defense made the moment possible. He threw one more touchdown pass and ran for another in the Packers’ 35-21 victory.
Just a Regular Guy
Finally, Brett Favre had his Super Bowl ring, but that did not mean he did not have work to do. While he was getting himself ready for the next season, the American football-watching audience was falling in love with him. At the time, fans felt a general disconnect from their sports heroes. Fans felt differently about Favre however. He seemed to connect with audiences on a different level because of his humble beginnings. They saw him as a typical American who’d achieved his dream.
Everyone Loved Him
Fans were not the only ones that loved Favre. He gained a reputation as a great teammate and great person due to his jovial nature and child-like obsession with joking around and keeping things light. This attitude carried over not only to his teammates, but his coaches, ball boys, maintenance staff, and fans. He claims he did so not to win anyone over or put on a facade, but to remain genuine and do the right thing.
Death of His Father
Tragedy hit the Favre family in 2004. On December 22, Irvin Favre died suddenly. Irvin was everything to Brett – his father, his coach, his mentor. Brett was devastated but made the tough choice to play in his Monday Night Football game the next night. Irvin never allowed Brett to make excuses for not playing in a game. Brett was not going to start disappointing his father on this day and chose to play in the game.
A Game For The Ages
Before the game started, the Oakland Raiders fans respectfully gave him a standing ovation as he was announced as the starter. It would be the last time they cheered the whole game. In a time where everything seemed dark, everything seemed to go right for Brett. Favre picked apart the Raiders defense for 399 yards and four touchdowns (all in the first half) as the Packers cruised to a 41-7 victory. “I know he was watching tonight,” Favre said afterward.
The Beginning of the End
It seemed like Brett would never slow down. In 2003 he was selected to the Pro Bowl as a 34-year-old and led the team to a 10-6 record the next year. Before the 2005 season, the Packers drafted quarterback Aaron Rodgers with their first pick. The team was looking out for their post-Favre future, but Favre was still the man. Unfortunately, he turned in his worst season and led the league in interceptions. With the kid lurking, perhaps it was close to the end.
The Last Waltz In Green Bay
After two mediocre seasons, a 38-year-old Favre rebounded in 2007. The Packers started 10-1 and Favre became the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdown passes and wins. Their success would carry on into the playoffs as they prepared for an NFC Championship fight with the New York Giants. With questions about his future floating, Favre played poorly, but the Packers hung on until overtime. With one interception already, Favre threw an ill conceived pass which was picked off, setting up the Giants’ game winning field goal.
Starting in 2006, Favre began considering retirement. Each off-season would start a new cycle of “will he, won’t he.” On March 4, 2008, Favre officially retired, however, he asked about a comeback that summer. With the Packers committed to Rodgers, he asked for his release, and instead received a trade to the New York Jets. After one injury plagued season, he joined the Minnesota Vikings, one of the Packers’ greatest rivals. He brought the Vikings to the brink of the Super Bowl, showing no mercy against Green Bay along the way.
Ending On His Own Terms
At 41, it was unreasonable to think Favre could repeat his production in year two with the Vikings. His body could no longer take the punishment, and he retired for good after a disappointing year in which he ended his record consecutive games played streak. It took five years for wounds to heal between Favre, the Packers and their fans after his time in Minnesota, but they finally invited him home to retire his number four in 2015.
Hall of Fame
In 2016, Favre found himself among the NFL’s greatest as he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. He gave a moving speech in which he thanked everyone in his life. When talking about his father, he mentioned how excited his dad would have been to introduce him at his induction, and how his dad never let him throw the ball as his coach. Favre can rest easy knowing that Irv was looking down on him that day as proud as ever.
Moving Out And Moving On
After his disappointing rookie campaign, Favre would not take another snap with the Falcons. Packers general manager Ron Wolf was high on Favre in the ’91 draft, but he was picked before Wolf could take the quarterback. Wolf forced the issue and traded a first round pick for Favre. A degenerative hip condition almost derailed the trade, but Wolf overruled the doctors. He would go on to start 297 games straight from September 20, 1992, to January 20, 2008, with the Packers.
Issues With The Play Call
As a younger quarterback, Favre occasionally would try to take off and run for extra yards when a play would break down. It was a throwback to his days in high school running the wishbone offense. He admitted that early in his career he was a slow learner with NFL offenses. His coaches would tell him the play, but he would have no idea what they were talking about. Remaining calm, Favre would smile, nod, then improvise the entire play.
Living A Life With No Regrets
Favre candidly admits, “When I look back over my 20 years, I can honestly tell you — I can’t tell you a lot, but I can honestly tell you that I hold no regrets. Did we win every game? No. Did I make every throw? No. Did I make mistakes? More than I care to count. But I can say this: There was never one time where I did not give it all I could.” And he continues to pass this advice on to his daughters today.
Outside of his football career, 1998 was also the peak of Brett Favre’s acting career. He appeared as himself in There’s Something About Mary as Cameron Diaz’s boyfriend that she only refers to as “Brett.” Favre was not the first choice for the role. Directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly initially hoped to hire Favre’s Super Bowl XXXI competitor Drew Bledsoe for the role, as well as San Francisco 49ers star Steve Young, but both turned it down. Young felt that the movie was too crude.
The “Incident” with Caitlyn Jenner
Brett caused another stir at the 2015 ESPY Awards. The internet reacted wildly to a brief reaction shot of Favre from the awards show. As former Decathlete Caitlyn Jenner approached the stage to applause from the audience, the camera panned over to Brett. With a stern look, Favre clapped and transitioned from his clap to rubbing his hands together slowly. The clip went viral instantly, and the internet had a field day throwing shade at Favre.
The incident caused a great wave of commotion on social media. Everyone found a way to mock Favre for his stone-cold look (and possible confusion) and creepy hand rubbing through memes, gifs, and general comments. One site captioned the photo by calling him a “weirdo.” Jenn Sterger, his accuser from his texting scandal, took a swipe at him on Twitter. She tweeted “Welcome to my world” to Caitlyn Jenner with a gun pointed at an emoji face.
Brett and his wife Deanna have two daughters together. Their youngest daughter Breleigh is currently a freshman at Brett and Deanna’s alma mater the University of Southern Mississippi. She was too young to appreciate the majority of her father’s career – she was not alive for any of his MVP awards – but Favre and Breleigh became close through the twilight of his career. He expressed his fatherly pride following her graduation on Twitter, “Bittersweet day for Deanna and I. Proud of our beautiful and humble daughter, Breleigh!”
Of his two daughters, Breleigh is the most similar to Brett and his athletic prowess. While she is only 18 years old, Breleigh is a stellar volleyball player. She lives up to her famous last name in every sense. The six-foot tall Breleigh has an outstanding leaping ability which helped earn her an athletic scholarship to the University of Southern Mississippi, becoming the second Golden Eagle with Favre on the back of their jersey. She admits that being his daughter can create unfair expectations.
Daughter #2: The “Famous” One
Brittany Favre, Deanna and Brett’s eldest daughter, has gained some online notoriety. The 28-year-old Brittany was born in 1989 and grew up alongside her father’s rise to fame. She was frequently embarrassed by her father in front of her friends. Brittany began to grab headlines as she grew older for reasons that might irk her father. Photos of her began to spread on the internet, highlighting her beauty in some risque photos (not all of which were actually Brittany).
With a great smile, blonde hair and outgoing personality, the online community began taking notice of Brittany. She had appeared on TV on a handful of occasions with her father and family, and people could not ignore her charm and her looks. Many of her photos would be shared through forums and websites, boasting about Brett’s beautiful daughter and her questionable photos. Headlines generally read something like “Brett Favre’s Attractive Daughter.” Hopefully, Brett was not clicking through these sites.
Whoops! This is Embarrassing
As it turns out, many of these photos of “Brittany” are not actually of Brett Favre’s oldest daughter or anyone related to him. Brittany herself does have some risque photos, but the most famous ones are not her. She has a look-a-like whose photos people have passed around claiming to be Brittany. The curvy woman is not afraid to show herself off. Many people have made the mistake of including photos of the fake Brittany in lists of athlete’s children.
Since entering retirement, Brett and Deanna have had plenty of time together. While Deanna has become an advocate for breast cancer detection and treatment, the couple has tackled some outdoor activities. In 2015, the Favres entered the Key West Sprint Triathlon. Brett used the fake name “Brett Lorenzo” to shield some attention, but could not hide when Deanna beat him. He came in 184th overall, and she came in 97th. Deanna also finished 3rd in her age bracket.
Home Sweet Home
After 18 years of bouncing from Atlanta to Green Bay to New York and Minnesota, it was time for Brett Favre to head back home to Mississippi. Right off Highway 98, the Favres have settled into a 465-acre mansion in the small town of Sumrall. The house is surrounded by nature and sits on a river, allowing Favre to hunt and fish as he did as a child. It might be the furthest thing from Green Bay, but he can appreciate being back home.
Throughout his career and life, Brett Favre has always been a truck guy. When most of his teammates and peers were off spending their salaries on luxury sports cars, Brett stayed true to his country roots. In 2009, Brett put his 2007 Ford F-150 up for sale on eBay, eventually fetching $35,000. The truck, which includes Favre’s signature on one of the visors. The car has since been sold and is now listed at $17,000 for anyone interested in driving in Brett’s shoes.
A Fresh Face
With Brett’s career in its last stages and retirement rumors swirling, people began to talk about who would be the Packers next quarterback. Some names came up as fodder, but the Packers eventually drafted Aaron Rodgers from the University of California, Berkeley with the 24th pick of the 2005 draft. Rodgers was brought up as a potential first pick but dropped to near the end of the first round. After Brett retired in 2008, the Packers committed to Rodgers, leaving Favre behind when he decided to un-retire that summer.
Like most athletes with a story, someone felt it was necessary to turn Brett’s life into a documentary. Todd McWilliams, a lifelong Packers fan from Wisconsin, decided he wanted to chronicle Favre’s life and interview him. Although he could not get an interview with Favre himself, McWilliams gathered over 200 hours of footage from interviewing his old teammates, coaches, friends, and family. Finding Favre is shot from a fans perspective, in what McWilliams refers to as the “mostly true story of Brett Favre.”
Trouble Is In Their Genes
Brett is not the only Favre to find himself in some trouble. Brett’s older brother Scott found himself in the middle of the legal system in 1996. A drunk Scott parked his car on train tracks with his best friend in the car. The train came crashing through and killed his friend. He was eventually sentenced to a year of house arrest and two years probation. Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour pardoned Scott on his last day in office.
Brett’s sister found herself in hot water as well. In 2011, Brandi was arrested along with five others for possession of ingredients for illicit substances and generating hazardous materials. It was not her first run-in with the law. She was arrested in 1999 for felony shoplifting for stealing 19 items from a Biloxi, Mississippi department store. The former Miss Teen Mississippi had her first entanglement with law enforcement in 1996 for unlawful use of a weapon as part of a drive-by shooting.
Brett Favre NFL Legend
To this day, Brett Favre is considered one of the greatest NFL players of all-time. After he joined the Packers, he would break numerous NFL records. He is still the all-time leader in completed passes, after retiring as the leader in touchdowns and passing yards (since eclipsed by Peyton Manning). Favre is the only player to win three straight MVP awards. With a championship in his pocket and a Hall of Fame jacket on his back, Favre had quite the career.
Currently, Brittany Favre is married to Alex Mallion and has tacked his last name on to hers with a hyphen to hide, but not completely cover her notable father. Brittany and Alex have two young kids, Parker and AJ. Brett was beyond thrilled when Parker was born. He posted on his website,”Deanna and I are very proud and excited to welcome our new grandson, Parker Brett, to the Favre family…We’re pleased to say that both mom, dad and Parker Brett are healthy and doing great.”
Every Father’s Dream
Beyond her family, Brittany Favre-Mallion is starting her career off right. She finished law school at Loyola University in 2015 (only an hour from Brett’s hometown of Kiln) and works hard as a lawyer and mother. Unlike Breleigh, Brittany played sports when she was younger, but never felt the passion for it that her father and sister had. She joined a law firm in Hattiesburg, Mississippi after passing the bar. Brett and Deanna were proud to stand next to her at her graduation.