Brooke Sealey was the woman waiting to greet Jeff Gordon after his races in the beginning of his NASCAR career. The two were married from 1994-2002, but never had any children together and, according to Complex, their divorce was one of the most expensive in sports history.
Here’s what you need to know about Sealey:
1. She is a Former Miss Winston
Sealey and Gordon met in February of 1993. He was a rising star, and she was a Miss Winston model who greeted drivers in Victory Lane. Because of a rule that discouraged them from being together romantically, though, the two dated secretly for a while until her reign as Miss Winston ended.
“He came up to me at Daytona and he asked me to go eat lunch. His voice was quivering,” she said. “He was real nervous.”
2. Gordon Proposed to Her at the Daytona 500
Gordon didn’t waste time. About a year after they met, and shortly after Sealey was done as Miss Winston, he proposed to her at the 1994 Daytona 500 in February.
“I was so nervous I went to the bathroom five times,” he said. “I was trying to get the ring just right. It was in my pocket.”
They were married later that year.
3. Their Divorce is One of the Most Expensive in Sports History
After being married for about eight years, Sealey filed for divorce and they would subsequently go through a very ugly, very public, 16-month divorce.
She requested an airplane, periodic use of the couple’s boats, two cars and alimony, and after multiple lawsuits and battles, the settlement eventually came to a reported $15.3 million, which has been called one of the most expensive divorces in sports history.
“Brooke and I had a high-profile relationship and we had to,” said Gordon. “We got a lot of attention and we had to adjust our lives and what we did and how we went about it because of that.”
4. Sealey Had a Son With Another Man and Gave Him Gordon’s Last Name
In 2009, seven years after Sealey was divorced from Gordon, she had a child with James Dixon II, but gave him Gordon’s last name, which she kept after the split.
During a custody dispute between Sealey and Dixon, his attorney said it was inappropriate for the child to be named after Gordon:
It is absolutely inappropriate for the child to be legally named after Jeff Gordon who is neither the father nor a blood relative. We understand that Ms. Gordon’s desired to keep her ex-husband’s last name, which is certinly her choice. But she planned to have a child with James Dixon, not Jeff Gordon.
5. Gordon Has Since Remarried and Has 2 Kids
Gordon is now married to Ingrid Vandebosch, a former supermodel and actress. The two met in 2002 through mutual friends and were married four years later in a private ceremony in Mexico.
Together, they have two children, Ella Sophia and Leo Benjamin, who often make appearances at Gordon’s races and at eight and five years old, respectively, are already racing quarter midgets just like dad.