Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Andy Levitre is married to former NFL cheerleader and college football sideline reporter Katie Riznyk Levitre.
She recently gave birth to the couple’s first child, a daughter, and made headlines for showing toughness of her own.
Here’s what you need to know about Mrs. Katie Levitre:
1. Katie Levitre Got a Game Ball From the Team After Watching the NFC Championship While in Labor
Katie Levitre made headlines of her own after her husband and the Falcons won the NFC Championship game in January.
Levitre went into labor while watching the game at the Georgia Dome, but stayed to see her husband and the Falcons advance to the Super Bowl.
The team honored her toughness and “ultimate courage” with a game ball.
Lily Gene Levitre was born at 12:07 a.m. on January 15, according to The Oregonian.
Her contractions were about seven minutes apart before the game, and her mother said she should go watch her husband.
“She said to go to the game and relax,” Katie told WGRZ-TV, “because I could be in this stage for awhile.”
Andy didn’t know his wife was in labor until after the game.
“I went and showered up, came outside, we went home for like an hour, went to the hospital and then she gave birth,” Andy Levitre told ABC News.
For Katie’s part, she said she was in a lot of pain by the time her husband left the locker room.
“It was at the point where I was almost in tears,” Katie told WGRZ. “So I waited for him to come out of the locker room, and as soon as I saw him, I burst into tears. And he knew: It was time to go.”
Lily Levitre will be in attendance Sunday for the Super Bowl after her dad shelled out $1,700 for a ticker, USA Today reports.
“The story that we can tell her when she’s older, I think she’ll really enjoy that,” he told USA Today.
2. The Couple Met While He Was Playing for the Buffalo Bills & She Was a Cheerleader
Andy Levitre and Katie Riznyk met when they were both members of the Buffalo Bills organization, according to Style Me Pretty magazine. He was a rookie lineman and she was in her first year as a cheerleader.
She talked to WAGS Redefined about the moment they met:
Andy and I met at a children’s toy drive hosted by the Buffalo Bills. It was his rookie year playing Left Guard for the Bills and my rookie year as a Buffalo Bills cheerleader. We spoke briefly at the event but there was no romantic spark (and thank God, or I would have been kicked off the squad!). Two years after we met, he walked into the bar I was bartending at in college and we both got that butterflies in the tummy, hearts in the eyes feeling. We think of it like love at second sight. There is something so beautiful about timing. We were both in such a stable place when we met the second time around, it was almost as if fate wanted us to wait a little while to really find our soul mate.
He proposed to her in 2013 and they were married in on the Fourth of July in 2015.
3. She Was the Cover Model for the NFL Cheerleader Swimsuit Calendar in 2011
Katie Levitre was the cover model for the NFL Cheerleader Swimsuit Calendar in 2011, according to Pro Player Insiders.
She grew up in Orchard Park, New York, about five minutes away from the Buffalo Bills stadium, where she would later be a cheerleader.
“Just the title of being an NFL cheerleader and wearing the uniform is awesome. It was easier to gain a sense of legitimacy when you had a title that a lot of people respect. The position opened up a lot of doors for me in terms of modeling and connections to my future career as well,” she said in 2011.
Katie told Pro Player Insiders she wasn’t a natural cheerleader:
I used to get picked on really badly in high school (pushed in the hallway, “cyber-bullied”, called nasty names). When I left high school I became vegan and lost 25 pounds, dyed my hair from my natural blonde to dark brown, and learned who I was and how to be confident. My whole life changed and all of a sudden I went from the “thick”, nerdy, unpopular girl in high school to a 5’6 120 pound brunette NFL cheerleader. I felt beautiful inside and out and to have that celebrate on a calendar cover and Maxim is just icing on the (vegan) cake.
The first big challenge was going from being a bit of a free spirited hippie teenager to a glamed out cheerleader. I was surprised how easy it was for the most part for me to chameleon into the position. I learned how to do my own makeup, how to act properly in tough situations, and I found the holy grail: hair extensions!
4. She Has a Degree in Broadcast Journalism & Says She Wants to Be Known as More Than ‘Andy Levitre’s Wife’
Katie Riznyk Levitre told WAGS Redefined she always wanted to be a journalist. She graduated from Buffalo State College with a degree in broadcast journalism. She was number one in her class.
She interned at a local NBC station and worked for an entertainment site run by the Buffalo News. She also worked as a sideline reporter on college football games for Time Warner Sports.
“I knew the NFL lifestyle wouldn’t be conducive to my life as a journalist. In the end I know I made the right decision by choosing Andy. It’s easy to think about what life could have been if I had chosen to follow my dreams, but no part of me regrets my decision. If I had to do it all again, I would choose love every time,” she told WAGS Redefined.
Katie Levitre told WAGS Redefined she wants to me known for more than just being a football player’s wife:
A large percentage of us don’t work outside of the home because of how much we move, so we don’t have something outside of marriage and children to call our own. I am definitely lucky that Andy always goes out of his way to make sure I am comfortable and made to feel just as important as he is, regardless of the situation. Having someone like him as my husband can make this hard transition a lot easier. I have always been a career driven, independent woman and Andy still treats me like one.
Something else I’ve been passionate about lately is giving not only myself, but also every woman in the NFL a chance to stand on her own. I want to be known as Katie Levitre, not “Andy’s Levitre’s wife” or “the football player’s wife” and I know other women feel the same. Solely identifying as someone’s wife or someone’s mother is not AT ALL a bad thing, but I want to give women a chance to have something outside of the home to call their own if that is what they want. People outside of professional sports don’t understand that its not glitz and glam; women have to leave their families, friends, homes and careers to support their significant others. In every city and on every team we’ve been on at least 5 women have told me that they wish they could work but “no one wants to hire someone for 5 months of the year.” So, I’m making moves to try to change that. I recently spoke with someone from the NFLPA about helping women find companies that would be interested in hiring us in the cities we live in during the season. After all, we are a league full of intelligent, hardworking and mature women!
5. She Had Her Thyroid Removed in a Cancer Scare in 2011
Katie Levitre had a cancer scare in 2011 while she was a Bills cheerleader, and had her thyroid removed. She wrote about her cancer scare in a post on WGRZ-TV’s website, where she was interning at the time.
“I would never wish this experience on anyone, but I somehow find myself feeling fortunate to have had it. It gave me a chance to see how truly insignificant certain things are. I actually had to sit down and ask myself, ‘if I find out my time on this earth is going to be very limited- what will be important to me then?’ Even though a twenty year-old should never have to think about something like that, the enlightenment it brings is profound,” she wrote. “If I could give advice to someone, especially someone my age, it would be to put him or herself in that scary, uncomfortable position of asking, ‘What would I do if I knew I my time on earth would be over soon?’ I think people will be surprised how many things that seem important today, just fall to the wayside.”