In 1984, Mary Lou Retton catapulted to international fame by clinching the gold medal in artistic gymnastics at the Los Angeles Summer Olympics, etching her name into the annals of household recognition. The West Virginia native’s influence extended far beyond her Olympic triumph, earning her a place of honor in the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997, and later in the Houston Sports Hall of Fame in 2020. Amidst the zenith of her Olympic stardom, Retton harbored another quintessentially American aspiration: to build a family and find marital bliss.
In 1990, Retton exchanged vows with Shannon Kelley, a former college quarterback with his own storied history in the world of sports. Over the ensuing years, the couple celebrated the arrival of four daughters: McKenna, Shayla, Skyla, and Emma. However, the union that had once seemed unbreakable eventually faced a trying crossroads, leading to their decision to file for divorce in 2017 after 27 years of marriage.
Though Retton initially kept the details of her divorce guarded, she later mustered the courage to reveal the emotional underpinnings of their separation during her participation in “Dancing With the Stars.” Her revelation resonated deeply with fans, shedding light on the complexities of their relationship. “We still love one another, but we weren’t great together anymore,” she confessed, encapsulating the poignant reality of their situation.
In subsequent interviews, Retton provided deeper insight into the dissolution of her marriage, emphasizing that it wasn’t characterized by a single defining moment, but rather a gradual drifting apart. Her decision to candidly discuss her struggles and challenges on a public platform was motivated by a desire for authenticity and transparency.
Despite Retton’s assurance that she and Kelley remained amicable, reports suggest that their divorce proceedings were fraught with intensity. Court documents obtained by The Blast indicated that Retton sought a temporary restraining order, highlighting the irreconcilable differences that had led to the irreparable breakdown of their marriage. After three months of mediation, the couple arrived at a settlement, divesting of their shared properties and forgoing child support, ultimately departing with equal shares of $1.955 million each.
Since the finalization of their divorce, Retton has channeled her energies into a diverse array of professional pursuits and has dedicated herself to her daughters’ well-being, a facet of her life she frequently shares on her Instagram. Tragically, in October 2023, Retton’s children revealed that she was battling a severe case of pneumonia in the hospital, urging supporters to contribute to a Spotfund campaign established to alleviate her mounting medical expenses. Despite the challenges, the family remains resolute, asking for privacy and support during this trying time.