Deanna Favre, how will she respond?

Deanna Favre, Brett Favre’s wife, wrote a book published in 2007 entitled, “Don’t Bet Against Me! Beating the Odds Against Breast Cancer and in Life.” It was an account of her life with Brett as well as coping with tragedy on many levels. She lost her brother, her father-in-law and dealt with breast cancer all in the span of about a year’s time. But it is the nature of her relationship with the icon we know as Brett Favre that might be more important at this point in time.

She is credited with getting him clean and sober twice during their marriage. What happens in that part of his life, after the dust settles about the recent allegations of salacious behavior, might have more of a lasting effect on him as a man than any punishment meted out by the NFL.

Deanna wrote that it wasn’t hard to see that the fame, fortune and adulation that came along with Favre’s career, left him vulnerable to all the temptations life has to offer.  Brett and Deanna weren’t married nor did they live together in Wisconsin until Brett had been with the Packers for a few years.  Although they were a couple since high school and parents since their college days, she operated as a single mother, living with family while completing college and working part time. Being without Deanna and his daughter during football season seems to have contributed to him living the life of a carousing footballer who ultimately got addicted to Vicodin.

Her realization of that and her insistence that he get clean was behind her husband’s decision to go public with his problem and news of entering a rehab facility. Only after getting sober did he propose and they married in the summer of 1996. The timing of his recovery can’t be ignored. After that he led the Packers to two Super Bowls, winning one, making one wonder what might have been his legacy and career stats had he continued down the road he was on.

That didn’t do the trick, however, and within three years, the post-Super Bowl Brett Favre, made his way through many a bar and late night-early morning arrivals at home. Brett asked her to be his keeper and monitor his alcohol consumption. As you would expect, that didn’t work and it led to her ultimatum in 1999. Deanna said, in her book, “He kept telling me, ‘I want to stop all this, you’re going to have to help me. Whatever you do, don’t let me drink.’ ”

She packed his bags, left them outside their home and called his agent to say she was done. As she tells it in the book, “I said, ‘Take your stuff and go. I’m done,’ ” she remembers. He begged, refusing to leave, so she called his agent. “You need to come get him, I’m not putting up with this anymore. He needs to get out of my house or I’m calling 9-1-1,” she said.  According to Deanna, that led to good times, “And it totally changed the quality of our life.”

Sports journalists who covered the Packers and Favre at the time of his second stint in rehab say that he was vocal about his fear of getting through life without Deanna at his side. Roll the tape forward to 2010 and we have the allegations that while alone in New York, playing for the Jets, he was on the make without conscience.

If the allegations of any unprofessional or sexual harassment acts between Favre and Jennifer Sterger that were first reported by hold true, perhaps Deanna Favre will not tolerate a third-strike. If so, you can expect Brett Favre’s life to be radically altered in a way that mere punishment by the NFL would not produce. That is the other side of this story that hasn’t been getting much air time. Be prepared to have that other shoe drop if some or all of the news we have heard is true.

Used with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles.

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