Two sources with knowledge of the matter have confirmed what we’ve been hearing for about a week now: Troy Aikman has separated from his wife, Rhonda. The couple wed in 2000. It’s unclear how long they’ve been separated, but Rhonda bought a house in North Dallas in November.
Ordinarily, this matter wouldn’t concern us. As far as it is known, the couple is still married. That Rhonda is living in a different house is a matter perhaps worth gossiping about but not publishing. It feels a bit like reporting that the couple isn’t having a happy marriage. Really, that’s their business. They divorce, that’s a different matter. Aikman is a public figure.
But here’s the thing: he’s on our cover this month. Our subhead reads, “The football god on marriage, loss, and how he lucked into broadcasting the biggest game on earth.” For those who are aware of the Aikmans’ split — and it appears that many people in town have known since at least Christmas, when Rhonda did not appear at the annual Aikman party — that cover line will suggest that he talked to the magazine about his marital troubles. He didn’t. Zac Crain reported the story in late November and early December, before we knew about the separation. He didn’t ask about it, and Troy (understandably) didn’t volunteer the information.
That is one way our cover line might create confusion. The story itself, since it doesn’t mention the split, might also lead people to theorize that we worked with the Aikman camp to burnish his image before the news of the couple’s separation got out. That’s not true. We made no agreement with his people about subject matter that was to be avoided. On Friday, I asked Troy’s representative at Fox Sports for comment on the matter; that comment is still, I hope, forthcoming.