I’m not sure who was the first person to say “behind every great man there is a great woman,” but I know who the last person to say it was—Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander, yesterday.
Verlander is the midst of another All-Star season and yesterday, he gave the credit for it to his uber hot wife, Kate Upton.
"She was instrumental in me not ... like, jumping off a bridge," Verlander says. "I was depressed and kind of just upset at the world.."
It was 2014, and Verlander thought his career was over. Pitching for the Detroit Tigers, his ERA was up and win totals were way down, and he had given up more runs than any pitcher in the American League.
Verlander had been dating Upton for two years at that point. He says that as a model who had lived her life in the public eye, Upton understood the pressure of stardom and the cruelty of critics. She also knew all about physical issues that can derail a career.
"She obviously had dealt with more than me in her life," Verlander says. "I mean, being a woman… in that industry? Being that famous? That was a level I hadn't dealt with."
Upton helped him realize that he needed help, physically and emotionally.
"I don't like to talk to people about being hurt. As athletes, you're not supposed to. It's an excuse. ... But she was someone I could talk to. I mean, basically a therapist," Verlander said.
Verlander says he started seeing a physical therapist who helped him rehabilitate a body that was wearing out. Verlander worked with the therapist to change how he pitched. By 2016, Verlander was back. He was traded to the Astros last August and was instrumental in helping them win the World Series—even if Upton wasn’t credited with a save.