instagram.com/wandafulhomedesigns / Getty Images
Source: instagram.com/wandafulhomedesigns / Getty Images

Michael Strahan 'Couldn't Believe' His 1st Wife Loved Him — They Were So Young When They Became Parents

Gaone Pule
Feb 14, 2022
12:40 P.M.
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Former NFL star Michael Strahan has married twice, and both his marriages ended in divorce. He has four children, two from his first and twins from his second marriage.  

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Michael Strahan is a former defensive end for the New York Giants turned morning show host. He is now a co-host of “Good Morning America.” 

After playing for Texas Southern University, he was selected by the New York Giants in the 1993 NFL draft. He retired in 2008 and transitioned his sports career to television. Here are the details of his personal life.  

(L) Michael Strahan during an interview on "Late Night with Seth Meyers," Season 5 on October 2, 2017. (M) Michael Strahan's ex-wife Wanda Hutchins. (R) Michael Strahan with son Michael Jr., and his mother Wanda Hutchins. Photo: Getty Images and Instagram/@wandafulhomesdesigns

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A YOUNG BOY FROM GERMANY CHASING HIS DREAM 

Strahan grew up in Mannheim, Germany, a US Army brat, and he spent much of his childhood in Germany, where his father was stationed. Growing up in a foreign country helped shape the self-made player he would become.  

The now 50-year-old was only nine years old when his dad, Gene, a major in the Army, was transferred from Houston to Mannheim. 

On Tuesdays, Gene would wake up his young son at 3 am to watch “Monday Night Football” on Armed Forces TV. Michael, whose family lived in Germany for nineteen years, came to love the lifestyle there.  

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Former football player Michael Strahan on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" Season 22 in December 20, 2013. Photo: Getty Images

But when it came to youth football, of the American sort, there were not a lot of options or much competition, and as a result, Michael gave up on playing the game he loved for a few years.  

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However, his father believed in his vision, and he supported him in his training to pursue his football dreams as a teenager. The father and son went to the gym together to work on strength and conditioning and took long runs in the local forest.

Michael reflected on those days in his 2015 autobiography called "Wake Up Happy: The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life," writing:

“That was enough motivation.” 

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Following many late-night conversations, his father came up with a plan to send him off to Houston for the first semester of his senior year in high school. 

Michael, a teen at the time, would live with his uncle, Art, to play for the local team, and if things went according to plan, he would be awarded a college scholarship.  

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However, the plan was a bit extreme for the “Fox NFL Sunday,” star who thought he was young to move to the US without his parents saying

“I was seventeen years old and close to my parents. I didn’t want to move back to the United States without them.” 

Michael added that his dad saw something in him, “something he may have seen in his older brother, my uncle Art, who had played two years of professional football back in the 1960s.” 

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The sportsman shared his father knew he lacked the technical skill to play football competitively, and he had also seen how determined he was once he set his mind to something: 

“I knew what a football scholarship would mean; a free ride at college and maybe even a chance at the pros. I owed it to my parents. I owed it to myself to give it five months and try it out.”  

One other reason that made Michael hesitant about his dad’s plan at first was that he had also met a girl with whom he was in love. 

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DATING A BEAUTIFUL GIRL WHO HE COULDN'T BELIEVE LOVED HIM 

The television personality dated Wanda Hutchins since they were seventeen years old. When he had to leave for Houston, he said goodbye to her, which was difficult and emotional for him.  

Hutchins was a student at Mannheim Christian Academy at the time. Her father, like Michael’s dad, also had a military career. Her mother was half German and half French. Hutchins and her then-boyfriend had a similar upbringing as they grew up in the same place and even had the same values.  

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“And she was beautiful. I couldn’t believe that she wanted to go out with me, that she loved me. I was shy, and although I liked to joke around, I mostly liked quiet time of talking one-on-one. Wanda knew all of that, and she loved me,” Michael recalled.  

Even though he knew he would have to leave her behind, Michael hoped that when he got back, “she’d still be mine.” The year he left was 1988, and R&B music was big at the time.  

Michael shared every love song reminded him of his girlfriend. “Keith Sweat singing ‘I Want Her,’ and Bobby Brown crooning, ‘Don’t Be Cruel,’” he reminisced.  

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The journalist made mixed tapes of his favorite love songs and played them repeatedly on his Walkman the whole ten-hour flight from Germany to Houston. By the time the plane landed, he knew every word to every song on the mixtapes. 

When he went home for Christmas, Michael had acquired a full scholarship at Texas Southern University and expressed what it meant for him and his family: 

“A full-ride scholarship to an American university was, for both my parents and me, bigger and better than any gift I could put under the Christmas tree.” 

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Additionally, he was still in love with Hutchins, who was “still beautiful, still wanting to be with me,” he said, adding, “I had a great girlfriend whom even my parents loved. Wanda quickly became like another daughter to them.” 

But it was time again to head back to America to continue to pursue his dream. In April 2021, Michael went down memory lane to 1993 when he got drafted second round for the Giants. Taking to Twitter, he posted a throwback video of that time, saying

“That was scary. To come to New York... ‘what is going on?’ I’m used to Houston; this will be okay, but it’s cold up there. What am I going to do?”  

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BEING A YOUNG DAD & A SPOUSE 

The summer he had gone home to Mannheim, Hutchins told him that she was pregnant. Michael shared the first person he told was his father, who supported him regardless.  

“I would’ve liked for you to have a few more years without the responsibility. The timing is not ideal, but this is not a tragedy,” said Gene. “You are about to become a father, but you are still my child. As long as I have breath, I will do for you what I can.” 

When he and his dad arrived home that afternoon, Gene told his mother, Louise, that his son wanted to tell her something. Michael shared his mom stood at the stove adding butter to a pan of mashed potatoes and did not even turn around when she said, “Wanda’s pregnant.” 

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He looked at his dad, who shrugged, and he believed Hutchins had told his mom before she broke the news to him. Michael asked his mother if his girlfriend had told her that she was expecting.  

Louise smiled and said to him: “Boy, don’t be a fool. I’ve had six children. I know a pregnant girl when I see one." Michael revealed that from the moment Hutchins told him the news, they promised each other they would never use the term “mistake.” 

He was on his way to making it to the pros when he became a dad at age 20. Michael and Hutchins got engaged and welcomed their daughter Tanita in 1992.  

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Even though he was not home for the birth, the new dad wished he would have been there, but he knew his fiancee was not alone as the family surrounded her; her mother and his parents, who adored her just as much.  

The couple wed the same year they became parents, and Hutchins, along with their newborn daughter, relocated to Houston. The NFL player had moved out of the dorm and into an off-campus apartment with his young family.  

Michael shared he and the mother of his child “had always planned to be together, but I had hoped to have a pro contract in my hand when I asked her to be my wife,” he divulged, adding, “knowing that I had a child on the way made my longing to go pro, cut even deeper.” 

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Three years later, the pair became parents for the second time when they welcomed their only son, Michael Jr., in 1995. Luckily for the proud dad, he was there to witness the arrival of his little boy.  

“To watch a mother give birth was a mind-blowing experience,” said Michael, who was 23 years old at the time (and his wife Hutchins was twenty-one).  

When he held his infant son for the first time, he knew once again what people meant when they said the moment one became a parent, “you have agreed forever to walk around with your heart outside of your body.” 

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SOME THINGS AREN’T JUST MEANT TO BE  

Irrespective of the heartfelt romance as teenagers, their married life soon crumbled even though they tried to make a success out of it. For Michael, divorce was a failure.  

They kept it going regardless, but then came the point when they realized that it was not working and that they came together with all the energy and “euphoria of teenagers.” 

The love and passion gradually died out, and they wanted to step away from the memory of their teenage selves and see who they might become if they gave each other the chance to be free and grow up.  

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“Wanda and I decided that while we would no longer be married, we would always be family,” said Michael. Hutchins also decided to move back to Germany.  

She wanted to be close to family, but he did not want her to go because he wanted to be close to the kids. Hutchins stuck by her decision still, and the moment the plane took off, Michael felt a rush of sadness, Tanita was only five, and Michael Jr. was two. The Texas native said the love of his life was gone.  

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TWICE A DIVORCEE BUT A PROUD FATHER

Michael later remarried in July 1999 to Jean Muggli, but they divorced in July 2006. The former couple had fraternal twins, Isabella and Sophia, who arrived in 2004. 

Muggli and Michael went back and forth in a custody battle over the years, and a TMZ report revealed court documents stating the mom of two engaged in a pattern of abusive conduct towards the children.  

The “OT” star now has primary custody of his daughters and told People in 2016 that divorce taught him how much he was capable of being a dad, saying his children gave him strength.  

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Even though his two oldest were raised in Germany, they are close with their younger half-siblings, “and I’m proud of that,” said Michael.  

In 2017, he told the outlet how communication between his son and daughters differed, stating he was more protective of the girls than the only boy he has.  

Michael keeps working even after he retired from the NFL, and he explained it has a lot to do with his brood. “They’re the reason I wake up and work so hard. I’m not working hard to pay for things. I work hard to be an example,” he said

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