Janet Elway: John Elway’s Ex-Wife Suffered From Depression After Divorce

By CannonPublished on: February 20, 2024 Updated on: February 21, 2024
Birthday February 17, 1961
Birthplace Seattle
Age 63 years
Partner Kevin Kretzmer
Husband John Elway
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Janet Elway is the ex-wife of former football quarterback John Elway. Her hubby spent his entire career with the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). Like her husband, Janet is also a sports individual who is a pro-swimmer and a Hall of Fame inductee at Pacific Northwest Swimming.

However, her career was overshadowed by her husband’s football career. Being the wife of a football legend, Janet remarked that “you do need to be very, very strong to be married to someone like that, whether they’re rock stars or actors or athletes.” Despite their shared passion for sports and being married for over 18 years, their marriage eventually fell apart. John didn’t even mention his ex-wife, Janet, a devoted mother to their four kids, during his family-focused induction speech at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After their divorce, the former celebrity spouse went through some serious mental issues, including a prolonged depression. Despite that, Janet still laughs and smiles often. All of her children are now grown up and well-settled on their own.

Presently, Janet devotes her time to charity endeavors, founding her own fundraiser operation, Janet’s Camp. Let’s explore her life in detail!

John Elway’s Ex-Wife Janet Elway Is Now a Strong Philanthropist

After her extraordinary swimming career and seemingly amicable divorce from her ex-husband John, Janet now dedicates her time to charitable causes. She is the founder of Janet’s Camp, an annual camp-themed benefit for the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver.

John Elway's Ex-Wife Janet Elway in on stage.
John now focuses on community service.

One of its campaigns was held at Elway’s Cherry Hills, aiming to raise enough funds to send 250 children from impoverished families to YMCA summer camp. In June 2011, a luxury travel club called Inspirato shared a post of Janet’s Camp’s fundraising on its Facebook and wrote,

We enjoyed Janet’s Camp this weekend, where we raised nearly $30,000. Janet Elway’s event helps provide YMCA summer day camp to underprivileged children

She is also a member of another child-related charity — Adam’s Camp. Furthermore, John’s ex is a hostess for the non-profit Christian organization Young Life. A Christian since the age of 12, Mrs. Elway said,

We’ve been involved with Young Life for 10 or 12 years, and my kids have really enjoyed it.

Janet Elway Is a Former Avid Swimmer

Yes, Janet is a former talented swimmer who achieved remarkable feats in her career. She began swimming at Woodrow Wilson High School in Tacoma. With her incredible swimming prowess, Mrs. Elway soon set a new American record in the short course 400-meter individual medley while performing at the Tilt meet in Paris.

After her graduation from Woodrow in June 1979, the then-budding swimmer won the gold medal in the 400-meter IM at the World University Games in Mexico City. Just a couple of days before the competition, Janet contracted stomach flu and suffered a high fever but it didn’t stop her from securing the gold in the game.

As soon as John’s ex-spouse made a series of headlines in local newspapers with her exceptional skills in water sports, Janet was offered a full-tuition scholarship by several prestigious colleges including USC, the University of Texas, and Stanford. She ultimately chose Stanford and led the college to the 1980 women’s national collegiate championship, winning medals in all six events.

As a freshman at Stanford, Elway worked hard for the 1980 Olympic trials but her Olympic dreams couldn’t come true due to the 1980 boycott. Her burgeoning career was further hampered after her shoulder injury.

Later on, the skilled swimmer was also inducted into the Hall of Fame for Tacoma-Pierce County Sports and Pacific Northwest Swimming in 2005.

Janet and John Elway Met As Freshmen at Stanford University

The former flames were college sweethearts. They met as freshmen at Stanford University in 1980. To be more precise, John, as a baseball player, was just returning from practice, while his future wife had just left the pool.

Janet graduated from college with a sociology degree in May 1983 and John obtained an economics degree. He also signed a six-year, $12.7 million contract with the Broncos.

They Married in 1984 and Have Four Children

Janet and her former husband, John, got married on 3rd March 1984. The two wed in front of their family and close friends at the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church at night, in Menlo Park, Calif.

A year after their wedding, they welcomed their first child, a daughter named Jessica Elway on 17th October 1985. She played basketball at Stanford University.

On 1st June 1987, John’s first wife, Janet, gave birth to their second daughter, Jordan Marie. She graduated from the University of Virginia. For the third time, they welcomed a son, Jack, on 11th August 1988. He was named after John’s father, Jack. He and his sister, Julian, born on 7th March 1991, studied at Cherry Creek High School.

Janet is the mother of three kids with her former hubby, Jonn.
Janet, along with her four kids and former spouse, John.

Football Had Been a Constant Presence In Their Relationship

After John announced his retirement in the late ’90s, his then-wife said that football had always been a central focus in their lives,

We’ve never been together when football hasn’t been the No. 1 priority. I have no clue what life will feel like without football

She wished that John would spend most of his early retirement playing golf.

Divorce and Depression

Despite Janet’s commitment to her marriage and her choice to focus on nurturing her four children in the best parenting environment, things didn’t work out between her and John in the end.

In June 2002, the two got separated and Janet left their home, taking their four kids with her. But, in August of that year, they reconciled. However, in January 2003, the ex-duo confirmed they were divorcing.

Following their divorce, Janet went through some physical and emotional issues. She suffered from depression and began therapy sessions twice a week. She once reflected on her experiences as a fresh divorcee,

 I’m sure a lot of people would think, ‘How can you have a problem in the world? You have money – you have everything.’ But you really have nothing if you’re empty inside. I was without hope. I was without faith.

Despite that, Janet and John have now maintained a pretty good friendship.

Post Divorce: Janet Began Seeing a 50-year-old Businessman

After her split from John, the former swimming star found love again with a guy named Steve Perkins, a then-50-year-old businessman. Their close colleagues arranged a blind date for the two. It later turned into a great relationship. She explained their utmost  love and care for each other,

It’s so nice to have a little life with him, because it’s just so different. No one knows who we are, no one cares who we are. Except for him – he cares who I am, and that’s the greatest thing in the whole world. I was telling him last night that what I love about him is the way he loves me. I keep thinking, ‘I don’t deserve that. Things have to be much harder than this

Unfortunately, they later also went their separate ways.

Janet Elway Was Once Engaged To Be Married

After going through a couple of failed relationships, Janet decided to give love another chance and got engaged to a guy named Kevin Kretzmer. The two began dating in 2010 and announced their engagement in 2011 when they were spotted together at a dinner where the Mizel Museum presented its 2011 Community Enrichment Award to Sharon Magness Blake. The event was full of guests, including country singer Lee Greenwood.

Janet Elway and her former fiance.
Janet and her former partner, Kevin, at a dinner party.

The two made their first public appearance in February 2011 in the Cherry Creek Theatre production of “Love Letters.”

However, Janet and her then-fiance, Kevin, who had been “pretty low-key about” their relationship never confirmed whether they would make it to their wedding or not.

But, it is confirmed that they separated long ago, as Kretzmer is now married to his wife, Patrica Kretzmar. The two tied the knot on 26th June 2021. They got engaged in January 2020.

Her former fiance, Kevin, is now a financial advisor at Momentum Independent Network. He previously played the same role at NTB Financial.

Other Interesting Details About John Elway’s Ex-Wife Janet Including Her Colon Surgery

  • She was born on February 17, 1961, in Seattle. Janet is the youngest of four.
  • John’s ex-spouse performed her first swimming competition at the Tacoma YMCA.
  • She successfully underwent colon surgery at Mayo Clinic in 1998.
  • Janet now lives her healthy life in Belcaro, a neighborhood in Denver.
  • In March 2023, Mrs. Elway also listed her Belcaro home for sale for $3.5 million.
  • She has an estimated net worth of $0.5 million in 2024.
  • Her ex-husband, John, is currently married to Paige Green.

About Author: Cannon

Cannon, a seasoned NFL content writer with a strong passion for the game, boasts years of experience in the field. His expertise extends to capturing the essence of NFL stars, their WAGs, parents, and beyond, providing in-depth insights that truly resonate with football enthusiasts.