Sports Spouse Spotlight: Shelby Waddle

One click. That’s all it took.

A sales manager by trade, Shelby Teeter decided to follow offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle on Twitter after coming across his profile by chance years ago.

“He followed me back and we kind of had playful banter back and forth,” Shelby said. “Eventually I slid into those DM’s and we ended up talking.”

They began chatting about Peyton Manning and his word choice at the line of scrimmage.

“One of our first conversations was about the Super Bowl with Peyton Manning,” Shelby said. “His big thing was yelling ‘Omaha, omaha’ and the past three years, we’ve been at the Super Bowl and it’s funny how that’s come full circle.”

Before Shelby met LaAdrian, she was paying her way through school in sales and as an event planner for an entertainment agency called E3 Detroit. Even with planning all these extravagant events, Shelby preferred her time alone.

“With that job you would think that I was the party girl and all that which could not be further from the truth,” Shelby said. “I didn’t get out much, I actually used to lift all the time, I would wake up at 4:30 every morning [to lift] and after work I would do two-a-days which didn’t leave much time for going out, it wasn’t really my thing I don’t like when people buy me drinks because then I’d have to talk to them all night, I didn’t like that.”

The couple’s first face-to-face meeting came when LaAdrian asked Shelby for a ride when he landed at the Detroit airport. A Ford Fusion and a 6-foot-6, 315-pound offensive lineman made for a funny combination and an unforgettable first encounter.

“[He was] not really meant for a Ford Fusion but what else am I going to pick him up in I didn’t have another car,” Shelby said. “I pulled up and I park on the side of the airport and I get out and he says ‘Where’s the rest of ya’ He thought that I was way taller and I was like ‘Listen buddy this is what you’re gonna get.'”

Random people II.jpg
Shelby and LaAdrian posing with Pat Patriot. Photo: Shelby Waddle

Shelby came from a family of women business owners. Her mother and late grandmother owned gravel and construction companies in Michigan.

With that background, she was taught to be very independent in a short period of time. She however, did not have the perfect role model.

“My mother was an alcoholic so that definitely forced me to grow up very quickly,” Shelby said. “This is something that basically taught me exactly what not to be so for me I’ve always been independent.”

Her independence was a big factor in making things work with Waddle early on as she and the then Detroit right tackle would do there own thing during the day and come home in a very convenient routine.

It was not simple for long. A year to the day when LaAdrian tore his ACL, couple chaos ensued when he was released by the Lions. The next day, he was signed by the New England Patriots.

“We were in the stages of still planning our wedding,” Shelby said. “He had to pick up his life and he absolutely moves everything, I was there for him so me and my cousin had 36 hours to pack up our entire home and move it while we were also buying a house in Texas at the time, so we had to split everything between Massachusetts and Texas.”

The glamorous lifestyle is not all that it seems as the couple almost married three years, have dealt with all the challenges imaginable. Shelby gave advice she thinks is crucial if you want to date a professional athlete.

“As an NFL wife, I always tell them if they’re thinking about dating a guy who’s a professional athlete ‘Do not marry that man for the money,'” Shelby said. “Because that doesn’t mean a thing when you’re sitting alone all the time when he’s gone or you’re having to pack up his things or whatever, money does not make you happy and if that’s all you’re there for, you’ll be divorced in a week I guarantee it.”

Football is truly a home and field effort. While LaAdrian is on the field, Shelby is making sure the other facets of their lives are in order. One is making sure LaAdrian is eating correctly. Being overweight at training camp costs them $600 a pound.

But while LaAdrian does his work on the field, Shelby is tackling her own opponent when it comes to her body. Since their final days in Detroit, Shelby has had to deal with a genetic disease passed down from her mother and grandmother, called ankylosing spondylitis.

“I started having these really strange pains, one night I was still living with my parents and I was alone on the couch and I went to go to bed and I couldn’t move my leg,” Shelby said. “I couldn’t move it without it being the most excruciating pain of my life and I had a lot of those pains.”

Shelby dealt with discomfort in her knee which eventually went to her hip and she couldn’t do simple things like get up from a chair or get in a car without intense pain.  The pain is a result of the bones in sacroiliac joints forming together and pinching the nerves.

No one believed Shelby and nine doctors could not find anything wrong with her until the Patriots’ team doctor ordered an MRI and they found the problem.

“I would sit in the dark in the living room and cry [because of the pain],” Shelby said. “I would go days at a time not sleeping and it took the Patriots’ doctor to do MRIs and blood work and figure out that I actually had the same disease that my mother and grandmother had.”

This led to problems mentally for Shelby as her inability to sleep inhibited her from having a job or doing anything she loved doing.

“I was absolutely depressed, I couldn’t lift or workout anymore because I was already in so much pain and so I got to the point now thank goodness because I saw a psychiatrist and I have no shame in saying I got help.”

Even with all of her pain, Shelby goes to every single one of LaAdrian’s home games. Rain or shine.

Random People III.jpg
Shelby and LaAdrian after a Patriots’ win. Photo: Shelby Waddle

It is a challenge that they tackle together as LaAdrian even with his busy schedule, is there to help his wife whenever possible.

“People don’t realize that we are people, that we go through awful things that people don’t understand and my husband has been with me every step of the way,” Shelby said. “That man has carried me when my legs literally give out and when I wake up and I’m sobbing from the pain, through everything. It’s in sickness and in health and we mean it.”

With her experiences, Shelby takes to Twitter as a mental health advocate and wants to make sure nobody is afraid to get help whether they’re an average joe or NFL wife.

“If I can help one person by letting people know that it’s ok to not be ok, but it’s not ok to not get help,” Shelby said. “Even you think they don’t, people need you around so if I can help one person by sharing my story, I hope that it can help somebody and I’m always there, I don’t care if I’ve never met you in my life, if I could be there to talk to you and be a listening ear, I’m absolutely there.”

While in New England, Shelby got her second college degree and has been sporadically taking classes. VII
Shelby and LaAdrian Waddle reading to kids at an event. Photo:

Shelby told a story that she thought best illustrated LaAdrian as a man when they went to get sandwiches at a place in Dearborn, Michigan. A man walked up to their table first presumably asking for money but what happened next surprised Shelby.

“The guys in the back didn’t really want to wait on the guy and LaAdrian took him up to the counter and he told him ‘Order whatever you want,'” Shelby said. “He said ‘Let me get you a drink’ And he took him over to one of those fancy drink machines and showed him how to do it, it just brings me to tears the kindness of that man and no one was there and he didn’t care that no one was watching him, he was just doing what LaAdrian Waddle does. That’s the type of man LaAdrian Waddle is, that’s the man I married.”



Check us out on our socials:   
Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
Facebook Page: Prime Time Sports Talk
Join our Facebook Group: Prime Time Sports Talk 
Instagram: @primetimesportstalk

Share this:

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *