Mindy Jennings is Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings’ wife, the mother of his two children, his college sweetheart, and the subject of numerous homespun anecdotes he’s shared.
Don’t forget Ken’s accomplishment; 74 Jeopardy victories, netting his family $2.52 million. That’s given him the financial freedom to craft several new career paths. Since then, he’s been active on social media, written numerous books, has had a blog and a podcast, and has frequently shared anecdotes about his wife and kids. “Mindy knows, when she comes home and all the laundry that was sitting in front of the laundry room door has been cycled through the wash, that my book must not be going well,” he wrote with one, to give you a flavor.
According to his IMDB profile, Ken has been married to Mindy Boam Jennings since September 16, 2000.
Jennings is squaring off against Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer, the other two biggest winners in Jeopardy! history. They “return to the stage for a showdown to decide – once and for all – who is the greatest of all time,” the show says, starting on January 7, 2020.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Jennings & His Wife Have Two Kids & an ‘Excitable’ Dog
Ken Jennings has a blog where he shares information about his Jeopardy! wins and family. “Ken lives in Seattle with his wife Mindy, his son Dylan and daughter Caitlin, and a small, excitable dog named Chance,” he wrote.
In 2018, he said that his kids were then ages 15 and 11. He also shares details of his family on Twitter.
Ken told Life Hacker that the kids were planned but his life since Jeopardy was a “total free-for-all.”
“The kids were planned,” he said to the site. “(Well, the conceptions were planned. Everything since then has been a total free-for-all.) My career change has been the biggest surprise. I was a perfectly happy suburban dad and computer programmer back in 2004, the year I turned thirty. I was not expecting to win on Jeopardy! for six months straight and start a new career as a writer and professional know-it-all.”
2. Mindy & Ken Graduated Alongside Each Other From Brigham Young University
Ken and his wife were college sweethearts. He provides some bio on his blog, saying he “was born in 1974 just outside Seattle, Washington, but grew up overseas. His family spent fifteen years in Korea and Singapore, where his father worked as an attorney. His only lifeline to American pop culture during those years was TV on the Armed Forces Network, where he watched Jeopardy! religiously after school every afternoon.”
Jennings “moved back to the States to attend the University of Washington and transferred to Brigham Young University in 1996 after a two-year Mormon mission in Madrid, Spain. At BYU, he double-majored in English and computer science, and graduated in 2000 alongside his fiancée Mindy, whom he married that fall,” the blog says.
According to the blog, “Ken was working as a software engineer for a Salt Lake City health care staffing company in 2004 when he got the phone call telling him that his contestant audition had been successful and he would appear on Jeopardy! that June.”
3. Ken Writes a Lot on His Blog About His & Mindy’s Humorous Conversations With Their Then Young Children
One entry, from 2009, was titled, “Bewildering Conversations with a Six-Year-Old.” Ken explained, “I have to leave for the airport in a few minutes for New York and a game show thing I’m not sure if I’m allowed to mention. But before I go: here’s a Bewildering Conversation from last week that I didn’t want to forget.”
He then recounted this conversation,
“Me (watering plants): Hey Mindy, all these verbena we planted are totally dying.
Mindy: Maybe we should have had sprinklers put in up there.
Me: I’ve been watering them by hand every day. Whatever it is, it isn’t water.
(Long pause, while Dylan stares, fascinated now, at my watering can. Finally:)
Dylan: Maybe it’s lemonade.”
His blog is full of similar anecdotes involving the children and Mindy. You can read it here.
4. Jennings Has Described the Life He Shares With His Wife as Being Constant Carpooling
To Life Hacker, Ken described his life as family-centered and carpooling heavy. “With two kids and two of us and two pretty flexible work schedules, we can cover most of the bases ourselves. But the driving! Even with just two kids, we are driving somebody somewhere all the time,” he told the site.
He also shared details about Mindy’s life on the blog, commenting that she likes Greek yogurt in one post. “Like most American men in a committed relationship, I have an entire shelf in my fridge devoted to yogurt, even though the last time I opened and ate a thing of yogurt, I think I was watching The Arsenio Hall Show at the same time,” he added.
5. Mindy Was a Theater Major Who Worked as a Preschool Teacher
Mindy Jennings spoke about her family to the Week, which says, that she was a theater major who “worked as a preschool teacher after BYU.”
The couple spoke to the Week from their home in Seattle, Washington. Mindy told the Week that Ken didn’t give off airs of intelligence in college and it took him nine months to ask Mindy out even after telling his roommate he wanted to date her.
“He mostly wanted people to know he was funny,” she said to The Week. “He’s not the type of person who wants you to know he knows everything.”