Gale Sayers’ Ex-Wife Linda McNeil Received A Hefty Sum After Divorce

By AustinPublished on: February 21, 2024 Updated on: February 29, 2024
Birthday August 1949
Birthplace Omaha
Age 74 years
Husband Gale Sayers
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Linda McNeil is the first wife of the late pro football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers. Their journey began in high school and flourished into their college years. After being together for over a decade, their union ended in divorce. However, McNeil was an essential chapter of Sayers’ life.

While the media has extensively covered Gale’s dynamism with his second wife, his first spouse’s story often goes untold. Here, we have gathered some intriguing facts about Linda and her journey with the late football halfback.

Linda McNeil Has Worked As A Teacher

Linda, born in August 1949, grew up in Omaha and graduated high school from Omaha Central High School, where she was a cheerleader. According to the reports of the early 2000s, she worked as a computer technology teacher at Chicago High School.

Linda McNeil was married to Gale Sayers for over a decade
 Gale’s ex-wife, Linda, has years of experience as a teacher. 

During her marriage with Sayers, she was the breadwinner while he was working towards establishing himself in the football world. She went to work while her then-partner studied and went to practice. Eventually, their hard work together paid off, and he was drafted into the NFL.

McNeil And Gale Sayers Were High School Sweethearts

The lovebirds’ paths crossed during their time in high school. They fell in love soon after, and Sayers proposed to his dear. A year later, on June 10, 1962, the two tied the knot and promised to be each other’s forever.

Besides, the couple was quite young when they got married. As stated above, the former Mrs. Sayers was an influential figure in his rise in athletics. When they lived in Kansas during their college years, they also had a pet named Tiny.

Moreover, it was Linda who insisted Sayers’ contract was a “no-cut, no trade” instead of a massive salary as she did not want to move around.

The Former Pair Had Three Children

During their union, Linda and Gale welcomed two adorable kids and adopted one. Their first daughter was  Gail Lynne, followed by the adopted son, Scott, and the youngest, Timothy. The ex-soulmates took the kids everywhere they went, and the family was quite happy.

Gale Sayers and his first wife, Linda McNeil, had a bitter divorce
Gale and Linda holding their baby, Gail.

Even now, the little ones carry their father’s legacy, and the late footballer lives through them.

Linda McNeil’s Bitter Divorce

Linda and Gale divorced in June 1973, more than a decade after their wedding. It was the player who filed for divorce in January of the same year. However, he withdrew after his then-wife filed a countersuit accusing him of “mental cruelty.” She eventually won the suit.

As a result, Sayers had to pay a hefty sum in divorce settlement. McNeil received $150,000 cash in addition to the ownership of their $35,000 home on the South Side of Chicago. She also received $500 every month as child support. It was quite a financial blow for Linda’s ex-husband.

McNeil Had A Hard Time Adjusting To Her Ex-Hubby’s Fame

Sayers was quite the star when he first began his career. Even now, he is one of the best NFL has ever seen. There was not a place where people did not recognize him. It was quite a challenge for his ex-significant other to adjust to his fame. While talking about this in an interview, Linda said,

There’s a jealousy factor, too. I don’t mean jealousy about other women—football is the other woman—but jealousy that he is in the spotlight, and you feel like a puppy trailing along behind. (sic)

While she was a happy and supportive wife, she could not help but get intimidated by his success. Linda wanted her former partner to take out the trash like normal spouses do. She even wished she was married to “someone in a normal job.”

Besides, the pressure of professional football definitely got to their relationship. As described by Linda, Gale would be a different person during game season. She could not wait for him to get out of the house until the off-season, which was their happy time.

Gale Sayers’ Ex-Wife Has Been Portrayed By Two Actors Onscreen

The relationship between the late Gale and Brian Piccolo is quite compelling to this date. They were rivals who later became friends until Piccolo’s tragic passing on June 16, 1970, because of cancer. This invaluable friendship has been adapted to screens, not once, but twice: first in 1971 in Brian’s Song and the 2001 remake.

As Sayers’ then-wife, Linda played a significant part in those movies. Judy Pace portrayed her in the original, and Elsie Neal in the remake.

Linda McNeil’s Life After Divorce

Following her split with Gale, Linda has completely avoided the spotlight. It remains unknown if she remarried again. As for her former hubby, he found his forever just months after their separation.

Gale exchanged vows with a philanthropist, Ardythe Bullard, on December 1, 1973. They were together for almost five decades until his demise on September 23, 2020.

It remains unknown if Linda McNeil remarried after her divorce
Linda’s ex-sweetheart moved on after their split.

Furthermore, the latest reports indicated she lived in Chicago and was a teacher there. As stability was something she wanted, she might still be there.