J.J. Watt has been dating his girlfriend, Kealia Ohai, for about 2 years now. The duo went public with their relationship back in January 2017, after quietly dating for about a year.
“The rumors are true. We are dating,” Ohai said during an interview on the 2 Up Front podcast. “I’ve known J.J. for a really long time, and we’ve always been great friends,” she added.
Ohai is a Houston Dash and United States Women’s National Team forward.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She Plays Forward for the Houston Dash
Ohai is an athlete, just like her boyfriend. She is a forward for the Houston Dash, and had her best professional season in 2016. The NWSL lost a decent amount of players to the Rio Olympics, but Ohai stepped up her game in the absence.
Ohai was a high draft pick for expansion Houston, but didn’t light up the scoresheet in his first two seasons in Houston. Ohai scored four goals in 19 games in 2015, and was determined to improve that performance this year. She responded with a monster season, finishing with 11 goals, tied for the highest total in the league. Ohai, who is also the Dash’s captain, averaged a goal or assist every 69 minutes. That performance not only put her in the NWSL MVP conversation, it attracted the attention of USWNT head coach Jill Ellis.
Ohai has plenty of national team experience, but it’s not at the senior level. She has experience with the U18 and U20 teams, and she scored the game-winning goal for the U20 team at the Women’s World Cup in Japan.
Her athleticism makes her a good match for Watt, and the two seem to enjoy some healthy competition in their relationship.
“We’re very competitive. Very, very competitive and we like to workout together. She’s much faster than me, [while] I’m slightly stronger,” Watt told People Magazine last year.
2. She Is Blind in Her Right Eye
Ohai has defied critics by earning a call-up to the national team, but she’s been overcoming adversity her entire life.
When she was 6 years old, Ohai was diagnosed with severe astigmatism in her right eye. The left eye had become dominant, and Ohai and had been favoring her left eye throughout childhood. By the time parents Cindy and Ben Ohai realized what Kealia was going through, she was mostly blind in her right eye. She wore a patch over the “good” eye for a year in an attempt to regain strength, but her and her family eventually conceded to the fact that the right eye would never regain full strength.
Ohai didn’t keep her condition a secret, but didn’t tell the world, either. It wasn’t until an interview during her junior year at UNC that she told a reporter about her blindness.
Ohai said that while most people would be devastated with losing an eye, it doesn’t affect her much. She credits this to it being a lifelong affliction, so she’s never really had full functionality in both eyes. Ohai added that it doesn’t really affect her game, but the lack of depth perception comes into play on long balls and crosses.
3. She Is Very Supportive of Watt’s Career
Before the start of the 2018 football season, Ohai took to Instagram to wish her boyfriend the best of luck. She recalled the season-ending injury that Watts suffered in 2017.
“Eleven months ago, we sat in a hospital room while the doctors told us you may never play football again. You walked up and down the hallway learning how you would use your crutches for the next 8 weeks. Today, you are starting your 8th NFL season. I am so incredibly proud and inspired by you. You have fought and worked your ass off, even when things were not easy. I cannot wait to watch you dominate this season. You are the best of the best. I love you, Justin,” she wrote.
Back in February, Watt chatted with People Magazine, opening up about his relationship with Ohai.
“[We are] both very proud of each other and what we both do,” he told the outlet.
When he was honored as one of Sports Illustrated‘s Sportsperson of the Year, Ohai was there to support him.
“I’m excited that my family is here to share [the honor] with me… I’m excited to share the award with Jose and the city and most importantly, I’m just excited to be able to honor Houston and everything that they’ve been through and shine a light on what’s still going on,” he told People.
4. She Won 4 State Championships at Utah’s Alta High
Ohai grew up in Utah, where she was a dominant athlete at Alta High. In soccer, she led her team to four straight state championships, and on the track, she ran the 100-meter dash and 4×100-meter relay.
As the best soccer player in Utah, Ohai received her share of accolades. She was Gatorade Player of the Year for Utah twice, was named Utah Ms. Soccer in 2008 and 2009, and was the 2010 NSCAA National High School Player of the Year.
5. Her Sister Is Married to Brian Cushing
There’s a link between Ohai and Watt, and it’s not just the Houston professional sports scene.
The couple has known each other for years through Brian Cushing, who has spent the last eight seasons as the anchor of the Texans defense. Cushing is married to Ohai’s sister, Megan. They welcomed their second son in 2014.
Ohai may be a standout for the Dash, but Megan could ball out back in the day. She was a four-year starter at USC and even had aspirations to play professionally. When Houston Dash management expressed their interest in Kealia, there was also interest in signing Megan as a package deal. That deal fell through when Megan was pregnant with her second child.