Q&A with NFL Wife Alexis Hill: "Being A Support System to Fellow WAGS is Important"

This week's WAG FEATURE WEDNESDAY is of the funny, beautiful and incredibly sweet Alexis Hill. I met Alexis about five months ago through real estate. She was a realtor at a company in Atlanta I was interviewing with. The broker introduced Alexis to me as a "fellow NFL wife" being that her husband Tye had played in the league five years prior. I signed on with the same broker and connected with her right away. Alexis and I recently met up at a local Starbucks to discuss parenting, post NFL life and how she's adjusting. Read the interview below...

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NFL WAG Stats

Name: Alexis Hill

Husband: Tye Hill

Husband Active or Retired? Retired.

Husband played from 2006-2010 (Drafted to Saint Louis in the first round; Atlanta; Detroit) 

Children: Daughter Ariah (3) and son Tristen (7)

NFLWAG: Four years

Cities You've Lived in with NFL: St. Louis and Atlanta

Current Home: Atlanta

Favorite Food:  Macaroni and cheese 

Hobbies:  I like traveling abroad; I'm a foodie (fine dining); reading; shopping (doesn’t matter what it is); love watching movies. Call me if you have movie trivia because I am on it!

Music on your Playlist: Currently Big Sean, Lil Wayne's "Nothing but Trouble", Chris Brown, Beyoncé, and Canon in D (I’m all over the place)

Interesting Facts: I speak Spanish fluently; I was in an emersion program in college with five teachers from different countries; I'm a Realtor; I have a degree in Communications (concentration in Cultural Relational Studies) from Clemson; I minored in Spanish; I'm a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority (I've held positions as VP and President); I served as a mentor on an Educational Support Team; I was a member of Tiger Paws (assisted with recruiting)

Year five is when I’ve really started to feel the difference. It’s like, 'Oh wow! No more NFL.'"- Alexis, Former NFL wife

Q&A

LM: Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?

AH:  I’m originally from Springfield, Massachusetts. When I was 10 years old, we moved to Charleston, SC because my parents were both teachers and were recruited within the school system. Living in Charleston was quite a culture shock. I went to school with more people who looked like me. When I lived in Springfield, I went to a Catholic school and there were fewer minorities. My parents worked in rural areas with kids who didn’t have running water at home. My childhood days in Charleston helped mold and shape me. I am still close with my middle school friends to this day. I attended Clemson for college and that’s where I met my husband. We always knew of each other but didn’t start dating until our last semester there. His cousin dated my best friend. He claims he tried to come up to me one day at a step show and talk to me. He caught me in the wrong head space and I brushed him off [laughs]. I didn’t know who he was.

LM: When did things turn around for him?

AH: I had a talk with the Lord one day and said, “If you’re going to send me someone, please send me…” and I gave him a list. I also asked him to make it obvious to me who I was supposed to be with. I had this talk with God in October and in November, I had another run in with Tye (my husband). One night my best friend and I were out and we saw Tye’s cousin (the one she used to date). His cousin introduced us again and ever since that night the rest is history. I call him my pleasant surprise: serendipity! My line sister always says, “I never would’ve put you two together but it makes sense! You guys are good together.”

LM: How long have you and your husband been married? 

AH: We’ve been married six years this year. Our wedding anniversary is June 27th. We usually try to go on vacation for just us two for anniversaries, whether its traveling somewhere abroad or stateside. We’ll at least do a date night. We always celebrate together apart from the kiddos.

LM: How long has your husband been out of the league and what has that transition been like?

AH: He’s been out of the NFL for five years now. With all the ups and downs of football that have occurred, under normal circumstances it could’ve been difficult. However, the transition wasn’t as tough as I expected because of our relationship. We dated and got to know each other first. I wasn’t even into football when I met my husband. The football players had a bad rep (unfortunately) but I was interested more in how he treated me. That’s what attracted me to him. I feel like because we became such good friends first, we learned how to communicate with each other and spent a lot of time together. He’s always done a great job of separating football from home. If he had a bad day with his job, I would always have to bring it out of him. Tye was always happy when he came home to see me and our son. Since we knew how to work together, we were able to get through the transition. It was a little difficult because I knew he missed it. I could sense it more than what he was telling me. Answering the question of what’s next after you’ve spent your life in football is inevitably challenging.

LM: What has life post-NFL been like?

AH: Compared to the NFL, life is pretty normal. We are both entrepreneurs. My husband and a former teammate of his bought into the Golden Coral franchise. At first, he was more of the investor, but then he became a certified manager and is now more hands on dealing with operations. During his playing days, it was tough for my husband to juggle football and the business. The Golden Coral concept was brought to him his rookie year and he invested then. My husband always knew football was not going to last forever. He’s still figuring out what else he wants to dibble and dabble in but wants to perfect the current business before moving on to another option.

LM: Has he found other passions? 

AH: His passion is still football. I think it always will be. He flirts with the idea of coaching. It would be another adjustment for him because he likes being his own boss and having his own schedule. Coaching sports is similar to playing when it comes down to moving from city to city. He doesn’t necessarily want to uproot us and deal with the unpredictability of coaching. He doesn’t really want to get into that whole world again.

LM: What’s your career path been?

AH: I’m a real estate professional now. I was working hands on with the HR side of the Golden Coral business before. I spent some time as a stay at home mom when my kids were born. Getting back to work was a learning curve and somewhat of a culture shock. When you’re a stay at home mom, you can easily get trapped into your own little bubble. It’s interesting, you know, getting back out into the professional world. I’m trying now to do both real estate and HR for our business.

LM: Financial advice to current NFL families? 

AH: I say have your own hands on your own money! Be vigilant of what’s happening with your money and try to plan ahead as much as you can. The transition between being out of the league one year and out of the league five years is completely different. Year five is when I’ve really started to feel the difference. It’s like, “Oh wow! No more NFL.” Plan to set yourself up for something after the NFL days. Obviously, the first step is finding out what interests you outside of football while you’re in the league. Prepare yourself for the inevitable. I don’t care if you’ve played in the league for three years or 20 years, I feel like it’s still the same. It hits you like, “Whoa! What happened?” Network and talk to business people! Transitioning from the NFL and going to work a 9-5 could be hard for some, so I say if you want to make your own rules, money, and way, go network with business professionals in industries you may want to join. I believe smart investments help as well to stream some kind of revenue down the road. Whether you like stocks or investing in businesses, look into some type of investment. Just be mindful of your money. Know your limits and boundaries of what you can and can’t do.

LM: What do you believe are the pros and cons of being married to an NFL player? 

AH: Pros – The whole thing is kind of a dream! It passed by quickly! You’re put in a position where you can help others, whether that be financially or investing your time. Your significant other is looked up to so you can use that for good. If you have a cause you’re passionate about, it’s easy to reach people and get involved with the community. It’s also fun! It has its fun times. You get to see different places. I always like to see different places and meet new people. I met a few young ladies that I still keep in touch with and could call up to go out to eat. Most of them have moved on from football as well. Overall, it’s a good life experience. Regardless of what your situation is, there’s something to be learned and something you can impart on another because of it.

Cons – It is an unpredictable business. The whole perception that your life is perfect and that you have no worries is frustrating. As the wife or girlfriend, you’re often seen as a gold digger who’s with that man because he plays football. Another con is that with the click of a mouse, everything is on front street. I’ve adopted his private way of life. It’s difficult to be in the limelight with all your business out there. Lastly, the injuries: the injuries and the effect on your man’s health. Spectators see football as a form of entertainment but when it’s your livelihood, you cringe viewing games. My husband’s career was shorter than expected due to injuries.

LM: What were some of the injuries he endured?

AH: He tore his meniscus, broke a couple bones in his lower vertebrae, broke his wrist, and had several concussions. The injuries is probably the biggest con because you want them to play as long as they want to play, but you want them to have a nice quality of life coming out.

When you stop playing and stop training that’s when your body shows you what’s really wrong with it. That’s been the story with us anyway. His neck bothers him on one side because he used to tackle with that shoulder. He gets headaches every now and then. The result of his knee injury caused him to have an injury when he was running. Stuff just starts breaking down. It could just be because he’s not training the same way. Generally, he’s fine but does have some mechanical issues. We thank God it hasn’t been anything major but he has had some aggravations.

LM: What is your love advice to NFL WAGS? 

AH: Make sure you know each other. As a woman, get to know the man, not the football player. If you do that and communicate, you’ll be fine. Keep a date night! If you have children, have family time with them too. Keep open lines of communication…that’s for all relationships. It may not be for everybody but keep God in your relationship. A family that prays together stays together. We used to have a devotional night where I’d read from my devotional book and we’d answer the questions at the end. We’ve also read from the Bible and discussed what it means. We were both raised in the church and we want to impart that on our children too and set a good example for them. Lord knows we need prayer with these children and the way society is today. We need to pray for guidance because we as parents don’t always know what to do.

LM: How are you navigating parenting with the NFL lifestyle?

AH: The lifestyle allows you to give certain luxuries to your kids. I don’t want my children to be too spoiled. It’s hard teaching them at such a young age. You have to kind of show them. We will donate a meal for Christmas and get involved with Habitat for Humanity; we talk about feeding the homeless and homeless shelters with our son. We try to preach the importance of giving back and helping others in need. You definitely have to lead by example so I’m working on doing a better job of incorporating those things.

LM: What would you like people to know about you?

AH: I’ve always been the type of person to try to see the good in others because I believe there’s good out there. I do have a big heart. I am generous. I like to have fun. I do like to meet new people. I’m a pretty laid back person.

LM: What is your advice as a former NFL wife to current NFL wives?

AH: Wives or girlfriends? The two are separated depending on what team you’re on. Be open and welcoming, especially if you’ve been on the team for awhile. Even if you haven’t, be open to not just wives but girlfriends also! You just never know what they might need. I found a good support group in Saint Louis. We had Bible study and girls night where we would get together during away games. Being a support system to fellow WAGS is important because a woman could be coming to the city and not know anyone or be by themselves and it’s just nice to know someone who is in a similar situation. Leave the cattiness aside. We all have different stories of how we got into this life, but that doesn’t make your story any better than the next.

LM: What type of activities, specifically, do you do with your spouse/kids? 

AH: We go to the movies. We go on family vacations, usually to Myrtle Beach or Disney World. My son plays soccer so we go to his practice and games. He’s not in football yet.

LM: You’re okay with your son playing football?

AH: I am. I at least want him to be open and introduced to it. I’m all about my kids experiencing different activities to see what they want to do. I always say you can’t say you don’t like something until you try it. I certainly don’t want to pressure him into football though. LM: What would you like people to know about NFL families or the NFL lifestyle?

AH: I feel like we’re the same as any other normal family it’s just that we have a lifestyle that’s on front street. It’s public or can be public. Personally, I don’t think I ever felt celebrity status so from my experience we’re the same as any other family. We just had a different schedule.

LM: Why’d you agree to do this interview?

AH: I appreciate what your beliefs are and what your motives are for even starting something like this. It’s positive and inspiring. We do get a bad rep as women who love and support athletes.

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Well said, Alexis! Thank you for the perspective of a retired NFL family. See you at the office. 

-LM