Justin Verlander is in the middle of a career year at age 35. While his electric fastball and devastating slider have a lot to do with his success, the Houston Astros ace credits his continued dominance to his wife, Kate Upton.
Verlander recently became the latest professional athlete to discuss his mental health issues, joining NBA stars Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan among others. Verlander told Bleacher Report that Upton helped him when he was in a dark place four years ago, and she’s the reason he’s been able to regain his dominant form.
In 2014, Verlander had a brutal season, going 15-12 with a 4.50 ERA, which is the only time in his career he’s had an ERA over four. He gave up the most runs in the majors that season.
The right-hander met Upton in 2012, and the two quickly became very close. Verlander explained how she helped turn his life around.
“Who knows if I’m even here if it wasn’t for her?” Verlander told B/R Mag. “She was instrumental in me not …like, jumping off a bridge. I was depressed and kind of just upset at the world and trying to hide my own shit.
“I don’t like to talk to people about being hurt. As athletes, you’re not supposed to. It’s an excuse. … But she was someone I could talk to. I mean, basically a therapist,” Verlander said. “Somebody I could trust with … worries about my career. Worries about, Can I make it? Worries about what I’m going through to get back. And just the overall shittiness of it all.”
Verlander accepted a trade to the Astros at the 2017 Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline and helped guide them to the World Series title. He and Upton got married in Italy the day after the Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series.
The hard-throwing right-hander has brought the topic of mental health to Major League Baseball, as Love and DeRozan did to the NBA. He’s been lights out this season and it’s all thanks to Upton. She saved his career.
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