Why Paulina Gretzky ‘stayed away from athletes’ before Dustin Johnson



Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky
Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky
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Paulina Gretzky and Dustin Johnson are one of golf’s most beloved couples, but the daughter of hockey great Wayne Gretzky didn’t exactly have her heart set on dating an athlete.

While appearing on the “Pillows and Beer” podcast Thursday with “Southern Charm” stars Craig Conover and Austen Kroll, Gretzky opened up about her dating life prior to Johnson, whom she’s been engaged to since 2013.

“How I looked at it was like, I don’t ever want to date somebody that’s an athlete because, whether or not it was me or not, I felt like it was like a achievement for them. Being with me, dating me, whatever it was, it just didn’t feel authentic,” Gretzky said. “I truly stayed away from athletes, I really did.”

Gretzky, 32, then explained that she dated people “around where I was”, but that Johnson, the planet’s No. 3 ranked golfer, was her first “real” romance “through that world.”

Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky have been engaged since 2013.
Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky have been engaged since 2013.

“Dustin was the first person, I won’t talk about the other one before … I didn’t like that, really,” Gretzky said.

The model was then jokingly asked about being a cleat-chaser.

“F–k no,” Gretzky replied.

The couple, who is in now the midst of wedding planning, met in 2011, when Gretzky’s mom, Janet, played with Johnson during a pro-am event.

“She told Dustin about her daughter, blah-blah-blah, and invited him to the house that night. I’m sure he was rolling his eyes, and so was I when my mom invited me over to meet this golfer she had just met,” Gretzky told Golf Digest in 2014. “So I show up looking like a complete ragamuffin, and here’s this really cute guy. I didn’t stay long, but he was such a gentleman, so endearing. He’s always been that way to me. We exchanged numbers, and here we are.”

Both Gretzky and Johnson have opened up about their relationship over the years. In a 2020 interview with Golfweek, Johnson said it’s family first in their household.

“For me, golf was always the most important thing. And now, it’s Paulina and the kids. And they’ll always be the most important,” Johnson said of the couple’s two children, sons Tatum, 6, and River, 4.

“Obviously, I love the game of golf, competing and playing. But they’re the most important thing.”


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