Derek Jeter was once one of the most eligible bachelors in the sports world, and the since-retired New York Yankees player has a slew of beautiful ex-girlfriends to prove it. There were actresses Minka Kelly and Jessica Biel, former Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima, and even the divalicious Mariah Carey. Despite the countless women who wanted to be Captain Clutch’s one and only, he seemed destined to a life of playing the field, until he met Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Hannah Davis.
The pair began dating on the low-low in 2012, and while Page Six reported that Jeter and Davis were spotted spending time together all over the place, from New York City to Tampa, Fla., they never actually went on the record to confirm if they were an item or not. All questions about this rumored romance were answered when the former baseball shortstop referred to the Virgin Islands-born model as his "fiancée" in a post on his website, The Players’ Tribune. A 2016 Napa Valley, Calif. wedding soon followed. Ta-da! Just like that, she’s now officially Hannah Jeter.
How did the swimsuit model and mom of two became this baseball icon’s MVP? This is the untold truth of Derek Jeter’s wife.
Just one of the guys
She makes a living by showing off her curves as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, but as the youngest of three children growing up on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hannah Jeter told Health that her brother, Conn Davis Jr., was her BFF and she "always kinda wanted to be what he was." That included looking "like a little boy" by wearing "cargo pants and sneakers," Health revealed. It’s hard to imagine the professional model as anything less than a glamorous vamp, but she said she "embraced" her preferred childhood aesthetic.
After being discovered by "a local scout while playing on the Caribbean Tennis Circuit," this tomboy jetted off to New York City to pose in an editorial feature shot by celebrity photographer Terry Richardson, according to Hannah’s Project Runway: Junior bio. The rest, as they say, is history.
Modeling to pay the tennis bills
Posing in a teeny-tiny bikini for a living wasn’t Hannah Jeter’s life dream. Tennis was initially her primary focus, and pursuing that goal required her to travel from her native Virgin Islands to the United States for tournaments. "IMG and Ford [modeling agencies] were at these tournaments, so that sparked my interest because I felt like, ‘OK, maybe I can pay for my lessons,’" she told Health. Jeter said she viewed modeling "purely as a job to help pay for my dream." That work eventually went from being a way for her to "buy tennis rackets" to becoming her main gig, she told GQ, but all that time away from the court presented new challenges.
"When I moved to New York [to model], my body started changing because I was no longer playing tennis and training like I used to, and I was away from home for the first time. So I was like, "Oh, I’ll just order pizza every night." She said she became "a bloated version" of herself and admitted that maintaining "a modelesque body type" was no longer realistic. Fortunately, she maintained a healthy perspective. "I realized I had grown out of it," she said. "It just wasn’t attainable anymore because it’s not what my body wanted to do."
Dating a ‘New York icon’ was ‘strange’
Hannah Jeter had heard of the Yankees baseball team and, of course, its star player, Derek Jeter. Still, she didn’t pay much attention to the sport because "baseball wasn’t really ‘a thing’" where she grew up, according to a feature she penned for her husband’s website, The Players’ Tribune. She met "Mr. November" during the off-season, which allowed them to spend a lot of time together without his job getting in the way. "I had met the nicest guy," she said, "and I wanted to get to know him on my own terms. Not Google’s."
Once baseball season picked up again, she went to Yankee Stadium to finally watch him in action. "You have to understand: Up to that point, I’d only really known him as Derek, this great guy I was dating. This was the first time that I’d seen him as Derek Jeter: a New York icon, a Yankees hero," she explained. When she realized her boyfriend was kind of a big deal, Hannah didn’t really know how to feel about it. "I thought, Here’s this guy, who I go home and watch TV and order takeout with — and the rest of the world feels like they have a piece of him too. It was strange. I didn’t know how to reconcile it all," she wrote.
She put modeling on ice in the name of love
Not only was she oblivious to how important baseball was in the States, but it also took some time for Hannah Jeter to realize how much the sport meant to Derek Jeter. "Part of loving someone means wanting for them the same things that they so passionately want for themselves," she wrote in a feature for The Players’ Tribune. "And I gradually began to realize that, if baseball was important to Derek, then it had to be important to me."
During Derek’s last season with the New York Yankees in 2014, she decided to ease up on her own commitments so she could travel to some of his games. "My managers, at times, were not too happy with me," she wrote. "I canceled jobs left and right just to be present at those remaining games." Now that’s love!
Did she get dumped for becoming too ‘famous’?
This relationship wasn’t always smooth sailing. In fact, before their romance hit the one-year mark, Derek Jeter allegedly dumped her because of her increasing fame as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. "Jeter appears to have an issue with his girlfriends becoming well-known," Page Six reported. According to one source, "Derek likes to keep his relationships quiet. In the past, when his girlfriends become famous and start doing sexy shoots, that’s when they break up."
Posing in bikinis is something Hannah Jeter was doing long before she met the baseball pro, who is about 16 years her senior, so it may be far-fetched to suggest that he dumped her for continuing to pursue her modeling career. However, the tabloids claim that’s his modus operandi. Page Six claimed the Yankee dumped many of his famous exes for that same reason, including Minka Kelly and Vanessa Lachey (née Minnillo). Regardless, Hannah and Derek clearly overcame that hurdle and appeared to strike a balance between their personal and private lives.
A model unicycler
She’s more than just a wife, a mom, a supermodel, and a judge on Project Runway: Junior. This Virgin Islands-born stunner apparently has multiple talents and is a self-proclaimed "oddball" when she’s not busy working. "I know how to stilt walk, and I also have a unicycle. I’m basically like a circus clown," she told Ocean Drive magazine. She wasn’t joking.
So how did she acquire these eccentric skills? Jeter told the magazine she honed her nifty talents when she was younger, but even as an adult, her parents won’t let her live down her wacky tricks. "At parties they’ll say, ‘Well, Hannah can [ride a] unicycle. You should see her on it!’ And I’ll be like, ‘Mom!’ But then I’ll say, ‘Okay, fine. Where is it? I’ll show you,’" she said. Hey, if things don’t work out in the modeling industry, maybe she can join the circus!
She loves two things in life: family and gossip
Sports fans know just how important family is to Derek Jeter. His parents, Charles and Dorothy Jeter, rarely missed a home game. "We’ve enjoyed coming out and watching him play. We were able to come out all of these years and watch him do something that he loved," Charles told USA Today ahead of Derek’s 2017 retirement from the New York Yankees. During an appearance in Hamilton College’s Sacerdote Great Names series (via The Oneida Daily Dispatch), Jeter credited his parents for his success on the diamond. "People would always say that I have a lot of confidence when I’m playing but really I just look up there and see my mom so I felt a whole lot better," he said.
Family is reportedly just as important to his wife, Hannah Jeter. "Hannah has always been extremely close to her family and treats close friends like family members as well," childhood friend Zan Schmidt told Sports Illustrated‘s Swim Daily blog. "She would chose her family over a night out any day." Schmidt added that Hannah is "a bit of a homebody" who loves to "hang at home with friends and gossip."
Her morning routine is ‘not as healthy as it could be’
To really know Hannah Jeter, you have to dive deep into her daily routine. Prior to becoming a mom and a wife, she let The Cut in on how she gets her day started. Surprisingly, her mornings don’t include a balanced breakfast. "I go to Starbucks and get a red-eye," she said. According to Hack the Menu, the drink consists of a regular iced or hot coffee with a shot of espresso to help "get a little more caffeine in your cup."
After downing her caffeinated beverage, Jeter goes "straight to the gym" — yup, on an empty stomach. Now, before you go complaining that skipping breakfast is a major no-no, Jeter is aware that her "morning routine is probably not as healthy as it could be." Nonetheless, this routine works for her and somehow helps her stay bikini-ready year-round. Do your thing, girl.
Raising future ballplayers might be a no-go
It makes sense that a private couple would be just as protective over their children. And Hannah Davis and Derek Jeter rarely let their kids’ faces get captured by the prying lenses of paparazzi cameras. Before giving birth to their first daughter, Davis was adamant about their future children living lives that were "as ‘normal’ as possible." She knew that being the children of one of the greatest athletes in the world would come with all sorts of hurdles. "We don’t want them to be defined by their dad’s name — for them, we want him to just be ‘Dad,’" she explained in a piece for The Players’ Tribune.
Jeter has also given some insight into what kind of mother Davis is. As they awaited the arrival of their second daughter, Jeter told People magazine in November 2018, "My wife deserves a lot of credit. She has been an unbelievable mother, she has a great deal of patience — not only with my daughter, but with me."
But one thing’s for certain: all of her patience might be tossed out the window if their kids decide to pick up a bat and follow in daddy’s footsteps. Davis wrote in The Players’ Tribune that she and her little ones would "have a little talk first" if baseball turned out to be their sport of choice.