Ever since her days of being an Olympic gymnast, Mary Lou Retton has kept the details of her personal life very private.
Retton has kept her privacy so well, in fact, that she managed to keep her divorce out of the press until she decided to release the news on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”
Retton had one of the more respected marriages in sports/entertainment. She and her husband, former quarterback Shannon Kelley, had been married for almost three decades.
And whenever they were in public, they seemed to be completely happy.
Needless to say, Retton’s fans were more than a little surprised when she announced the divorce, which was finalized in February.
Retton and Kelley seemed to experience what many couples do after being together for so long — “we grew apart,” she told People.
After so many years, they simply did not “work” anymore.
“We still love one another, but we weren’t good together anymore,” Retton stated.
She is looking forward to moving on with her life now.
“I’m on a really good path, and I’m happy with my life,” Retton told People. “I’m really excited for what this new chapter is going to bring instead of being that scared person that I was a couple of months ago. I really have done a full turnaround.”
Still a Family
One cannot help but wonder how something like this impacts other members of the family.
While her daughters were initially upset, they did come around and understand the situation. “My daughters were amazing. There’s that fine line between a daughter and a friend, so there’s a lot that I couldn’t share with them. They were angry in the beginning, and any child should be with their family being torn apart — but we’ve vowed that we would do holidays together and we’re going to try to make it as seamless and as painless as possible,” Retton told People.
“I don’t think they were surprised,” Retton said. “We were arguing towards the end a lot, but I think that they were shocked that it actually happened.”
Retton’s four daughters range in age from 16 to 24.
Opening up about her divorce turned out to be a wise move: in addition to clueing in her fans to her recent personal struggles, Retton found it opened up a new support system.
She was actually amazed at the fan support she received after the news was made public. “There were women saying they’ve been in the same predicament as myself [with a] long marriage and thanking me for giving them the hope and courage to continue,” she said.
Retton danced in the reality competition show’s 27th season with pro dancer Sasha Farber.
After being eliminated from DWTS during the sixth week, Retton is back in Texas, recovering from both the daily grind of the competition and the mental strain from the divorce.