Former NFLer Raising Kids With Husband & Ex-Wife

Joshua Ross and Jeff Rohrer (photo: Allen Zaki)
Joshua Ross and Jeff Rohrer (photo credit: Allen Zaki)

In November, Instinct covered the marriage of retired Dallas Cowboy linebacker Jeff Rohrer, who became the first NFLer to celebrate a same-sex wedding.

Rohrer has now opened up to People about settling into his new home life raising two teenagers under the same roof with his ex-wife Heather and new hubby, aesthetician Joshua Ross.

The former athlete didn’t come out until long after his football days. “Being gay was not a part of my life when I played football,” says Rohrer. 

But, after years of struggling with his sexuality, being closeted took a toll on his 17-year marriage. He and his wife, Heather, split for 18 months barely speaking to each other.

“It wasn’t that Jeffrey came out to me, but once I figured it out, it was obvious he was gay,” Heather tells People. “He thought it was wrong; he was so angry. He thought his children wouldn’t love him, that he’d lose his job. I tried to help him. I kept trying to tell him it was okay, that it was no big deal. But it was to him.”

But then in 2013, the two decided for the good of their two children – son Dondillon and daughter Isabella – that Rohrer should move back in so they could co-parent as a family unit.

Over the next couple of years, the LA-based commercial producer slowly came to terms with being gay.

In 2015, Rohrer met Ross in at a happy hour and began seeing each other. Six months into dating, Ross asked to meet Rohrer’s children and ex-wife.

Ross shared with People, “It was a very pivotal time in our relationship to be able to take that next step forward.”

Heather didn’t object – “I was totally okay with it.”

And the kids were unfazed about their dad dating Ross. “It wasn’t really like coming out,” says Dondillon. “I pieced it together that they were dating. And eventually he called Josh his boyfriend. I was fine with it.”

Things progressed and Rohrer proposed to Ross in May of 2018. Two months before the November wedding, the 37-year-old moved into the family’s Manhattan Beach home.

There were adjustments ahead for the new blended family, but Heather says, “Being together for the kids is the important thing for us.”

“It’s been difficult to get to this place, but it’s worth it,” she added.

“We get in our fights, but we find a way to make up,” said Ross. “We’re just trying to do the best that we can.”

Daughter Isabella describes life at home as “one big bundle of very strong personalities, so sometimes we butt heads.”

“But in the end, we’re always laughing,” shares the 16-year-old.

“There are all these different dynamics,” adds Rohrer.  “And it’s working out really well so far.”

Heather sums up the situation for People saying, “Jeff and Josh are my family, and we’re a better team together than apart.”

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2 thoughts on “Former NFLer Raising Kids With Husband & Ex-Wife”

  1. Nice story except the writer should have looked up the word nonplussed before using it incorrectly – it means surprised confused reaction, don’t know what to do. It does not mean “cool with it”


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