Who Is Peyton Manning's Wife? All About Ashley Manning

·6 min read
Peyton Manning hugging wife Ashley after winning game vs New England Patriots at RCA Dome. Indianapolis, IN 1/21/2006
Peyton Manning hugging wife Ashley after winning game vs New England Patriots at RCA Dome. Indianapolis, IN 1/21/2006

Bill Frakes /Sports Illustrated via Getty

While two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning prefers to keep his marriage and personal life private, he hasn't held back any love for his family, including his No. 1 cheerleader and wife of over two decades, Ashley Manning (née Thompson).

The couple wed in 2001 after being introduced by Ashley's parents' next-door neighbor and welcomed their twins, Marshall and Mosley, 10 years later.

When Peyton and the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl in 2016, he told CBS's Tracy Wolfson, "I want to go kiss my wife and my kids. I want to go hug my family."

From her career as a real estate mogul to her relationship with the NFL star, here's everything to know about Peyton Manning's wife, Ashley Manning.

She and Peyton met when they were in college

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Ashley met Peyton in her hometown the summer before the football star's first year at the University of Tennessee. Ashley was introduced to Peyton by her parents' next-door neighbor.

In the quarterback's book, Manning, A Father His Sons, And A Football Legacy, Peyton recalled meeting his wife for the first time. "It was in August, at one of the few fraternity parties I went to," he wrote. "We were introduced and only talked a little while. I didn't make a big first impression (she said later my pastel shirt was a turnoff) but I was certainly impressed." He continued, "With all her qualities, I think what pleased me most about Ashley, though, was that she liked me for who I was, not what I was."

Ashley was attending the University of Virginia at the time, but the couple continued to date long-distance.

RELATED: Peyton Manning Surprises University of Tennessee Students in Online Class

She attended the University of Virginia

The Memphis native graduated from the University of Virginia in 1997.

"While dating my wife, Ashley, a 1997 UVA grad, I spent a good amount of time here in Charlottesville," Peyton said during a speech at the University of Virginia's Class of 2014 graduation ceremony. "My wife, Ashley, is the smartest person I know and I know a lot of that has to do with her four years here at UVA."

"I'm very independent," Ashley also told Indianapolis Woman magazine in 2006. "I do a lot of my own things." She continued, "I like to stay out of the spotlight; people may think I am aloof, but I'm not, and I am not shy by any means, but I always let Peyton shine."

She's a minority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies

In 2012, Ashley applied to be a minority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, Tennessee's NBA team, according to The Denver Post.

"I am very excited to make the commitment to join the potential new ownership group of the Memphis Grizzlies," she said in a statement. "As a native of Memphis, it was important to me that the Grizzlies remain in Tennessee and continue to have a positive impact on the community."

Peyton was very supportive of his wife's business venture and said in a statement to The Denver Post, "While my focus is on playing quarterback for the Denver Broncos, I look forward to watching her become involved with her hometown team."

She and Peyton got married on St. Patrick's Day in 2001

Peyton Manning (18) celebrates with his wife after a 29-17 victory over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI in Miami, Florida, on Sunday, February 4, 2007
Peyton Manning (18) celebrates with his wife after a 29-17 victory over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI in Miami, Florida, on Sunday, February 4, 2007

Gary W. Green/MCT/Tribune News Service via Getty

The couple tied the knot on March 17, 2001. According to Archie Manning, the groom's father and former New Orleans Saints quarterback, it wasn't a small affair. "It's a pretty big wedding, probably 600 people or so," Peyton's father said.

The wedding came as a surprise to most fans as the couple decided to keep their engagement a secret. "Peyton didn't want it to be a story during football season," Archie added.

She and Peyton welcomed twins in 2011

In 2011, Ashley gave birth to twins: Marshall Williams and Mosley Thomson. While the couple prefers to keep their children out of the spotlight, Peyton has shared some details about them through the years.

The NFL star revealed in June 2021 that his kids were starting to follow in his footsteps and show interest in sports. He told Kelly Clarkson during an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show that he had actually started coaching his son's flag football team and his daughter's softball team, adding that the other parents were a little "hesitant" to have him coach due to his iconic 2013 Saturday Night Live skit.

"It's a great way to spend time with your kids, although I got to tell you, Kelly, some of the parents of the other kids on the team were a little hesitant at first," he explained. "The last time they really saw me ever doing any coaching was on this Saturday Night Live skit where I was pegging 7-year-old kids in the head with footballs, and I think these parents were like, 'Are we sure we want our kid to play on your team?' "

He also shared that he is sadly not the twins' favorite football player and joked that his son wears a Patrick Mahomes jersey while his daughter reps a Stefon Diggs jersey.

She and Peyton are philanthropists

Both Ashley and Peyton are passionate about helping the less fortunate. In 1999, the couple founded the PeyBack Foundation, a program that provides "leadership and growth opportunities" for at-risk children. Additionally, Ashley has partnered with her husband on projects to benefit Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent.

She's Peyton's biggest supporter

Peyton and Ashley Manning during the Second Annual Peyton Manning Children's Hospital Gala in Indianapolis
Peyton and Ashley Manning during the Second Annual Peyton Manning Children's Hospital Gala in Indianapolis

AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Cathy Kightlinger

In 2011, Peyton was considering retirement after a brutal neck injury.

"Ashley and I actually had those conversations. More than one. Because, you know, you don't want to embarrass yourself. Because, they're signing you and people are thinking they're getting the player they had always seen before," he told Sports Illustrated, adding that he wanted to throw in the towel after not seeing any "progress" with his injury. Ashley, however, encouraged her husband to keep pushing.

"Ashley was the one that was saying, 'Peyton, you've got to try. You've got to try,' " he said. "So I was glad that she pushed me to do it. Once I did it, I was going at it, and then I started seeing a little bit of light there. So, yeah, she was the one who kind of pushed me through it." Peyton ended up spending five more years playing for the NFL before officially retiring in 2016 after nearly two decades in the league.