Mary Lou Retton Opens Up Publicly For First Time About Divorce From Husband Of 27 Years

Retired Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast and America’s forever sweetheart, Mary Lou Retton, is on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) and has been tearing up the dance floor with pro dancing partner Sasha Farber. And while Retton’s signature smile has been shining as bright as her dance costumes on the hit competition dance show, things have been a bit tougher for Retton behind the scenes.

On Monday’s episode, Retton told Farber during rehearsals that her marriage to former Texas Longhorns quarterback Shannon Kelley was over:

“I went through a divorce. People don’t know that. It’s the first time I’ve actually said it publicly—after 27 years, so it’s very new.” 

Retton, who wed Kelley in 1990, confided to Farber that she and her ex had finalized their divorce in February of this year.

“We still love one another, but we weren’t GREAT together anymore.”

She also said the separation, “…was hard. I felt very alone.” 


She credits her four daughters (Shayla, 23, McKenna, 21, Skyla, 18, and Emma, 16) with helping her through that difficult time:

“Thank God for my four girls. They loved me unconditionally.”

Fans were saddened by the news of the couple’s split:

Retton intimated that DWTS had helped change her perspective on starting over newly single:

“When I walked in here, I knew I was starting over, and I was scared. But now, I know I’m starting over, but I’m excited. There’s that mental switch.”

Farber responded by cheering the champ on with a high-five and saying:

“You’re back on the market!” 

Sadly for the five-time Olympic medalist, it was her last night on DWTS, as she was voted off by the episode’s end.

For those unfamiliar with Retton’s 1984 gold-winning moment, here’s your chance to see her shine: 

H/T: People Magazine, YouTube