Jonathan Paul “J.P.” Arencibia is a Fox Sports Florida analyst and former professional baseball player who has been dating conservative host Tomi Lahren. They started posting photos together on their respective social media accounts in mid-February but it’s unclear exactly how long they have known each other.
Lahren’s romantic life has made headlines in the past. She was previously engaged to Brandon Fricke, an account executive at iHeart Media and former college football player. They started dating in 2018 after connecting over Instagram and Fricke popped the question in June 2019, People reported. But the couple called off the engagement in April 2020.
Rumors of a romance between Lahren and Jay Cutler, Kristin Cavallari’s ex-husband, got started after the two were spotted having dinner together in Nashville in September 2020 along with two other friends, E! News reported. Both Cutler and Lahren laughed off the online gossip. Lahren tweeted at the time, “I love it when the internet tells me who I’m dating. Good one.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Arencibia & Lahren’s Relationship Attracted Attention Because of an Online Confrontation Between Arencibia & Comedian Jason Selvig
Arencibia and Lahren have not yet shared publicly when they started spending time together. They first appeared on each other’s Instagram accounts in mid-February. On February 13, Lahren tagged Arencibia on her Instagram Stories. A screenshot shared on Twitter by @_mitchrobson showed the two of them lounging on either a bed or a couch.
Lahren posted photos on February 15 from a road trip she made with Arencibia. She explained in the caption, “Find yourself someone who will drive you from Miami to Nashville so you don’t miss another day of work. Check.”
Arencibia shared a photo from the same road trip the following day; Lahren was wearing the same jacket and hat from her own post. Arencibia hinted at their romantic relationship when he wrote, “Future is bright but damn do I enjoy every day with you.”
But Lahren and Arencibia’s relationship attracted a lot more attention after an interaction with comedian Jason Selvig. In a video shared to TikTok and Instagram, Selvig appeared to troll Lahren at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando. Selvig posed for a photo with Lahren before asking her, “How are you feeling about Donald Trump losing the election?” She let out a surprised laugh and walked away.
Threat? No threat there. We will meet again and have a conversation.
— Jp Arencibia (@jparencibia9) March 7, 2021
According to Arencibia, there was more to this interaction. According to Selvig, Arencibia sent the comedian direct messages that included, “Should’ve shown the rest of that video you coward. Would love to run into you again. And don’t you worry. We will meet again sweet heart [sic]. Happy I know now who you are.”
Selvig shared a screenshot of the messages on Twitter on March 6 and wrote, “Tomi Lahren’s boyfriend who is a baseball player/ @foxsportsfl analyst is threatening to beat me up. Luckily, I looked up his batting average and I doubt he could make contact.”
Guess it’s not cool to post the rest of the video when I confronted him shortly after and he 💩 down his leg. Unfortunately the world we live in no one wants to be exposed. But he knows what happened. 😨😨
— Jp Arencibia (@jparencibia9) March 6, 2021
Arencibia responded, “Threat? No threat there. We will meet again and have a conversation.” He again insisted there was more to the story when he commented in a separate thread, “Guess it’s not cool to post the rest of the video when I confronted him shortly after and he [poop emoji] down his leg. Unfortunately the world we live in no one wants to be exposed. But he knows what happened.”
But Arencibia adopted a more conciliatory tone on March 7. He wrote on Twitter, “Emotions got the best of me defending someone I care about. I apologize for sending the message, I will be better and focus on spreading more positivity.”
2. Arencibia Was a Starting Catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays & Retired From Pro Baseball in 2017
Arencibia pursued his professional baseball career for about a decade. He was chosen by the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round of the 2007 Major League Baseball draft, according to MLB.com. He was the 21st pick overall that year.
After three years playing in the minors, Arencibia made his MLB debut on August 7, 2010, in a win against the Tampa Bay Rays. He hit a home run on the first pitch thrown to him, according to Bluebird Banter. Arencibia ended up hitting a second home run and two additional hits that game. As the New York Times noted, he was the “first player since 1900 with four hits and two homers in his major league debut.”
Arencibia went on to earn the starting catcher position in 2011 and remained in that spot until 2013. Arencibia was also lauded for his community work off the field while he was with the Blue Jays. As Jay’s Journal reported, Arencibia was nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award in 2013 for regularly making appearances at hospitals and schools, while also taking part in nearly all of the community-building activities under the Jays Care Foundation.”
Arencibia signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract with the Texas Rangers in December 2013, ESPN reported. Arencibia also played for the Tampa Bay Rays before announcing his retirement in January 2017.
3. Arencibia Was Married to Country Singer Kimberly Perry & Denied Cheating on Her
Arencibia was previously married to country music singer Kimberly Perry, best known as the lead singer of The Band Perry. Arencibia and Perry first met at the Florida Strawberry Field Festival in February 2012, according to People. He proposed at Perry’s parents’ house in Greenville, Tennessee, in October 2013, underneath a tree in the backyard. People described the engagement ring as a “3.3.-carat emerald-cut” ring.
The couple tied the knot in June 2014 and held the reception back at her family’s Greenville house. According to People, the guest list included Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert. Perry’s brothers served as the “best men” and Arencibia’s nieces were his “groomswomen.”
But the marriage did not last. Perry filed for divorce in March 2018, according to Taste of Country. Fans later guessed infidelity may have killed the relationship, based on a song Perry released about a year following the breakup. Her song “The Good Life” includes lines such as, “You had a had a had a good life / But you gave it up for hoes” and “I know about your side piece, bro / I’m not gonna fight anymore, yeah / Glad I never had your baby.”
Perry did not call out Arencibia by name but she confirmed on social media that the song was about a personal experience. She wrote on Facebook in part, “I want you to know that this song was written during a toxic and incredibly difficult time in my life, but I’m singing it to you now with the voice of a woman who has completely regained a strong sense of self, rebuilt her womanhood, and is grateful to have learned so much. ”
Arencibia responded with a prepared statement to People: “While matters of our relationship and what led to the demise of our marriage should remain between us, I will say there was no infidelity. It’s a shame that all of this is now being made up to promote an album; I have moved on and hopefully one day she can as well.” In a since-deleted Instagram post, Arencibia also slammed his ex-wife by accusing her of fabricating the situation to sell records. According to Taste of Country, Arencibia wrote in part, “It’s sad that at 36 years of age today, a person would try to revive a dying career with click bait.”
4. Arencibia Coached at the University of Tennessee When He Returned to Finish His Bachelor’s Degree
Before he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays, Arencibia played baseball at the University of Tennessee. According to his UT profile, Arencibia was a freshman during the 2005 season and helped to lead the team to a College World Series. He earned the SEC Freshman of the Year title and was named to the SEC All-Tournament team.
Arencibia earned the starting catcher position during his sophomore season and went on to become an All-American. His UT profile notes that Arencibia played in 174 games while a college athlete and started in all but one of those games.
After retiring from Major League Baseball, Arencibia returned to the University of Tennessee to finish his bachelor’s degree in communications, according to Fox Sports. Arencibia also served as a Student Assistant Coach for the 2018 season.
5. Arencibia Was Named a Fox Sports Florida Analyst in 2019
Arencibia works back home in his native state of Florida. In 2019, Fox Sports Florida hired him as a pre-and-postgame analyst covering the Miami Marlins.
Arencibia was quoted in the news release, “Growing up in Miami, the Marlins were a part of my baseball upbringing and the first franchise I was able to watch and root for on the path to achieving my own dreams of playing Major League Baseball. I’m excited about the opportunity to cover the team I grew up watching every day and look forward to sharing my insight on the broadcast this season.”
Arencibia was born in January 1986 and raised in Miami. According to the University of Tennessee 2007 roster, Arencibia attended Westminster Christian School in Miami. The profile mentions his mother, Irene Arencibia, and a sister named Irene.