Quarterback Derek Carr’s wife, Heather Neel, may have been a cheerleader in college — but the pair didn’t meet on the football field.
Carr and Neel were both students — and athletes — at Fresno State in the late 2000s. However, it wasn’t until Carr walked into the restaurant where Neel worked that he first laid eyes on his future wife.
Their meet cute turned into a whirlwind romance and the couple have been together since. After tying the knot in 2012, they went on to welcome four children and and Neel has remained by Car’s side since he entered the NFL in 2014.
Keep scrolling to relive Carr and Neel’s relationship timeline:
Carr met Neel for the first time while she was waitressing at a restaurant close to their college.
“I had, like, diamond earrings in my ear and I had them both, I knew I did. And he said, ‘Why are you only wearing one earring?’” Neel recalled in a 2013 interview with ABC 7. “And it made me check my ears. And I was like, ‘That’s your pickup line?’”
While Neel shared she was initially unimpressed by Carr’s cheesy attempt to flirt, she noted that he won her over in the end. Carr, for his part, told the outlet he knew from the moment he met Neel that she was going to be his wife.
Three years later, the twosome tied the knot while they were still in college.
In his final year at Fresno State, Carr took the Bulldogs to the championship. Despite their impressive season, the team ultimately lost to USC.
That same year, Carr and Neel welcomed their first child, son Dallas Mason, who was born eight days early in August. The little one was born with his intestines entangled and had three surgeries to fix the condition.
Carr began his journey in the NFL when he was drafted by the Las Vegas Raiders (formerly the Oakland Raiders).
“We’re #Raiders!!!!,” Neel shared via Instagram in May 2014 alongside a photo of the trio donning hats supporting her husband’s team.
Neel and Carr expanded their family with the addition of son Deker Luke.
“Deker Luke Carr born last night at 11:22 pm 9lbs 3oz || 20.75 inches || God has blessed us with a healthy baby boy!” Neel announced via Instagram in March 2016.
Three years later, Neel gave birth to their third son Deakon Derek. “Welcome Deakon Derek Carr! You are so loved!,” Carr shared in November 2019.
Neel and Carr welcomed their first daughter Brooklyn Mae in November 2020. “We’re in love with our sparkly new Carr ✨🤩🚗,” Neel penned at the time.
After playing with the Raiders for nine seasons, Carr was released from the team in January 2023 after he waived the no-trade clause in his contract. Two months later, he signed as a free agent with the New Orleans Saints.
“To the city of New Orleans — thank you for welcoming my wife and children literally everywhere we have gone,” Carr wrote in a joint post with the Saints in March 2023.