NFL legend Joe Montana and wife Jennifer share the secret behind their 30-year marriage — and why she turned down his first proposal

Four-time NFL Super Bowl champ and three-time Super Bowl MVP Joe Montana has a love story for the books.

After winning his first Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers in 1982, Joe Montana branched out to explore new endeavors. With the help of his agent, Montana starred in a Schick razor commercial. Although acting wasn’t his claim to fame, a brave Montana was faced with a challenge much more daunting than the football field: working closely with actress and model Jennifer Wallace.

Jennifer Wallace (now Montana), was an up-and-coming actress and model in California. She had shot a number of commercials in the past, but being focused on her career, she never thought of her co-stars as potential love interests. Wallace was totally unaware of Joe’s football successes at the time. Growing up, her family had some serious football fans, but Joe Montana was never on her radar. She was just happy to finally work with someone as tall as her. “I didn’t know who he was. It was my agent who told me you’re going to be working with Joe Montana. I said ‘Who’s Joe Montana?’” Jennifer recalls.

Jennifer found Joe completely charming, despite, or perhaps because of, his shyness. She knew she would have to figure out a way to make him more comfortable to successfully get through two days of shooting. Wallace figured she’d pinch him to loosen him up.

Jennifer’s role on the commercial was as a sheriff of a fictional Western town. Joe says Jennifer is still the sheriff, even today.

As Jennifer and Joe continued to spend a lot of time together working closely on set, Joe mustered up the courage to ask Jennifer out to dinner. He fumbled through the invitation, but Jennifer finally agreed. “We had gone to dinner, the first day that we had met, for the first time.” Joe said.

Our first #throwbackthursday post from our launch party! What a success 💙

A post shared by Jennifer Montana Design (@jennifermontanadesign) on Feb 20, 2014 at 3:36pm PST

A mere six months into their relationship, Joe proposed to Jennifer.

After getting the check while on a dinner date, Joe wrote a question on the check for Jennifer: “What would you say if I asked you to spend the rest of your life with me?” The grand gesture didn’t go as planned. Jennifer didn’t have a yes or no answer, as she had never even considered marriage so soon in their relationship. Joe responded, “I didn’t get a no, so it’s OK.”

Take 2: Joe hires a plane to carry his message across the sky.

While the two were out to dinner one night, Montana hired a plane to carry the message “Jen, will you marry me?” This time Wallace said yes.

Jennifer and Joe have been married for 33 years, and have 4 children. They continue to love and support each other in all their endeavors.

They’re teaming up with Amgen for the company’s “Breakaway From Heart Disease” campaign. Heart disease runs in both Jennifer and Joe’s families, and they’re urging people to investigate their family health history, and be more aware of heart health.

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