Throughout Michael Phelps’ successful swimming career, his family could be seen cheering him on. Now that his swimming career appears to be coming to a close, their support has not changed.
Michael spends most of his post-Olympic time with his wife, Nicole Phelps (formerly Nicole Johnson) and son, Boomer. The family is learning what life is like without Michael’s strict training regimen as they get to spend a lot more time together. Nicole did have to talk Michael out of attempting to swim against a shark at the same time.
Nicole spoke with Cosmopolitan about life post-swimming.
“We’re still learning what date night is and we’re balancing with Boomer,” Nicole told Cosmopolitan. “We love going to dinner. We love being home and cooking together. We’re homebodies. We like to play cards together. We’ll go in the backyard and play cornhole. I think that was our very first date night was playing cornhole in the backyard because we had someone who could watch Boomer at the house.”
Michael remains close with his mother, Debbie, along with his two sisters. Over the last few years, Michael has also rekindled his relationship with his father, Fred.
Learn more about the Phelps family.
1. Michael Phelps Secretly Married Nicole Johnson Prior to the 2016 Olympics
Michael and Nicole have now been married multiple times. According to People, the two originally got married in June 2016. It was a secret wedding in Arizona with just five people in attendance. Michael explained to the USA Today it was for Olympic travel purposes.
“We wanted to try to make it as smooth as we could for them to travel,” Michael told USA Today.
According to People, the couple held a more formal beachside wedding in Mexico a few months later.
2. The Couple Has a Son, Boomer & Want to Have More Children
Boomer became the talk of the 2016 Olympics as he watched his father dominate in Rio in his patriotic headphones. Boomer even has his own Instagram page where his parents post cute photos.
Boomer was born on May 5, 2016. Michael spoke about being a father with the Today Show.
“Nicole and I will still look at each other like, ‘We have a child! This is our child,'” Michael told Today. “It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever, ever been able to be a part of.”
If the couple have their way, it sounds like there will be more children on the horizon. Michael spoke with People about Nicole’s desire for a daughter.
“Nicole has recently brought up that she would like a girl,” Michael told People. “I’m sure I’m getting pressure. We definitely want more kids, it just depends on when.”
3. Michael’s Mother, Debbie, Has Been His Biggest Fan
During the height of Michael’s swimming career, Debbie could be seen in the stands cheering her son on. Debbie spoke with Parenting.com about what it was like watching her son dominate in the pool.
“I’m thinking, Wow. It’s this incredible sense of your child meeting his goals, the pride that you have in your country for something that your child was able to do representing the United States of America,” Debbie told Parenting.com.
“My mom raised us single-handedly, raised me and my two sisters,” Phelps told Swim Swam. “Growing up, I learned from her example about hard work and dedication.”
4. Michael’s Two Older Sisters, Whitney & Hilary, Were Competitive Swimmers Before Michael
Michael may have become one of the best swimmers in the world, but there was a time when he was not even the best in his family. His two older sister, Whitney and Hilary, took up the sport first. Hilary spoke with the Chicago Tribune about their early life swimming.
“At the time, my parents didn’t want to drive back and forth, between home and the pool, so they enrolled Whitney and Michael in swimming lessons,” Hilary told the Chicago Tribune. “I was not only the first child to get in the water, I was also the first one to find competitive success in the sport of swimming.”
5. Michael Has Had a Difficult Relationship With His Father, Fred
After his parents divorced, Michael’s relationship with his dad, Fred, began to be strained. This remained the case until Michael invited Fred to meet him at the rehab center he was staying after a 2014 DUI.
While things are not perfect, their relationship has strengthened since that point. Michael spoke with Sports Illustrated about their ups and downs.
I felt abandoned. I have an amazing mother and two amazing sisters. But I would like to have a father in my life, and I’ve been carrying that around for 20 years. That’s a long time. It does something to you. To a kid, especially. Right now I’d like to be able to talk to my father and have him be able to talk to me. Is my family perfect? Far from it. My parents had issues where they thought it was healthy to split. It wasn’t ideal. It wasn’t easy. But what we went through as kids made us as strong as we are. And now my father and I communicate. It’s not fixed. You don’t fix something like that. But it’s better.