NFL quarterback Baker Mayfield has had quite the year.
The former Cleveland Browns player, who was drafted first overall by the team in 2018, was traded to the Carolina Panthers in July after the Browns acquired Deshaun Watson to fill the starting quarterback position. After struggling early in the season with the Panthers and suffering an injury, Mayfield was released by the team — and quickly picked up on waivers by the Los Angeles Rams.
Through the highs and lows, one person has been by the Heisman Trophy winner's side — his wife, Emily Wilkinson.
Mayfield and Wilkinson first met in 2017 after being introduced by a mutual friend, per ESPN. The couple got engaged after only six months together and tied the knot in a lavish wedding in California on July 6, 2019.
After it was announced that Mayfield was headed to Los Angeles, Wilkinson spoke about the couple's "challenging" year in an Instagram Story.
"Feeling grateful tonight. For the whirlwind, the chaos, the craziness. I'm thankful for the opportunity to walk alongside my bff for this once in a lifetime rollercoaster ride," she wrote.
Wilkinson thanked Panthers fans before giving her husband a sweet shout-out. "And lastly, Bake, I'm one proud wife kid! It's been the weirdest, most confusing, challenging, soul-searching year of my life. But the important thing is, we've done it together & with God at our center," she wrote, in part.
So who is Baker Mayfield's wife? Here's everything to know about Emily Wilkinson and her relationship with the NFL player.
She's from Nebraska
Wilkinson was born in Nebraska in 1991. She remained in the state through college, attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she graduated with a degree in business administration in 2013.
After graduation, Wilkinson headed to L.A., where she worked as a patient coordinator at a plastic surgeon's office. Per TMZ, she left her job at Galanis Plastic Surgery in 2018 to move to Cleveland with Mayfield after he was drafted by the Browns.
She's an influencer
Mayfield is not the only one with a high-profile job. Wilkinson has fostered a successful career of her own after building up a following on Instagram. Though her profile is currently set to private, the lifestyle influencer has over 226,000 followers and regularly shares updates with fans about her travels, workouts and life with Mayfield.
She's one of four children — and her brother was a Vine star
Wilkinson has three siblings: two brothers, Sammy and Benny, and a sister, Annie. Like Wilkinson, her brother Sammy is an internet personality. He first developed a following on the social media platform Vine in 2013, where he often collaborated with fellow Vine stars like Jack & Jack and Nash Grier.
After taking off on Vine, Sammy launched a music career (his debut album Ready For War came out in 2016) and a clothing line. He maintains an active presence on social media with over 1.8 million followers on Instagram, and is currently dating influencer Corinna Kopf.
She first met Mayfield in 2017 through a mutual friend
A pal of both Mayfield and Wilkinson knew the pair would be perfect for each other, and had been trying to set them up for months. However, as the couple told Brides, it was a chance encounter on FaceTime that finally brought them together.
Back when Mayfield was the quarterback for the University of Oklahoma, he was FaceTiming his brother after a game when he spotted a face he didn't recognize among those who had gathered to watch him play. "He put two and two together and realized I was the girl our friend had been trying to set him up with all that time!" Wilkinson explained.
She initially thought Mayfield was "the typical playboy athlete"
After realizing who Wilkinson was, Mayfield set out to get her attention. The athlete started repeatedly following and unfollowing her on Instagram to catch her eye.
A few months later, Mayfield invited Wilkinson to come watch him play in the Rose Bowl. "I was assuming he'd be the typical playboy athlete," she later told ESPN. However, Wilkinson agreed to get lunch with him the day before the Rose Bowl, though she expected him to just talk about the big game the entire time. Instead, Mayfield surprised her by asking questions about her life and future plans.
Just three days later, the pair were smitten, and Mayfield moved in with Wilkinson and her brothers in L.A.
"We haven't really been apart since," she told Brides. "It was love at first sight!"
They got engaged after six months of dating
Baker Mayfield Instagram
The pair got serious soon after getting together. Within six months, Mayfield was ready to propose — and knew just the way to do it.
The quarterback was filming a docuseries at the time, and asked Wilkinson to plan a wrap party with their family and friends. The couple then sat down for a final interview for the series, which is when Mayfield surprised her with a proposal.
"They asked Baker to talk about how we met, which turned into the perfect set-up for him to propose!" Wilkinson recalled to Brides.
She and Mayfield got married in July 2019
When it came time to plan their nuptials, the couple only looked at one venue before choosing the perfect spot: Calamigos Ranch in Malibu.
"I'm from Nebraska and Baker is from Texas, so we both really love the outdoors," Wilkinson told Brides.
After a year of planning, Wilkinson and Mayfield said "I do" in front of 350 guests on July 6, 2019. A few of Mayfield's NFL colleagues were in attendance, including New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley and Mayfield's then-Cleveland Browns teammate Odell Beckham Jr.
One year after their big day, Mayfield celebrated the couple's first anniversary with a sweet tribute to Wilkinson.
"Happy 1st Anniversary to my lovely wife @emilywmayfield," he wrote on Instagram next to a photo of the duo dancing at their wedding. "Throughout all the ups and downs.... you are always there to support me and I am so grateful for that, and to be a part of your life. Can't wait to laugh and dance with you on this adventure for all the years to come!"
She's appeared in commercials with Mayfield
Mayfield was famously a spokesperson for Progressive Insurance during his time with the Browns. The quarterback starred in a series of commercials for the company, aptly titled At Home With Baker Mayfield, that followed him as he tended to the Browns' stadium as if it was his home.
Wilkinson joined her husband for several spots, which saw the couple brushing their teeth in the stadium bathrooms, lounging in bed in the locker room and choosing a comically small doormat for their oversized home.
She's Mayfield's biggest supporter
After Mayfield's struggles on the field, the quarterback has racked up a few naysayers. However, Wilkinson has always stuck by her husband, often defending him on Instagram.
After the Browns lost to the Los Angeles Chargers in October 2021, Wilkinson called out fans who were blaming Mayfield for the team's loss.
"You truly don't know what you have. I have watched him give his all and change the entire culture in CLE, yet he gets so little credit for it," she wrote in an Instagram Story. "He never asks for recognition and continues to carry the weight day in and day out, despite the hate. If you're a true fan, SUPPORT our guys. Baker, and everyone else. The hate does NOTHING for them."
Wilkinson is also a constant presence at Mayfield's games, traveling to support him on the field after both victories and losses.