When Danica Patrick met her now ex-husband Paul Hospenthal, she was only 20 years old. He, a physical therapist, treated her for a yoga injury. It didn’t seem to matter that he was 17 years her senior and the two started dating.
They married in 2005 and Danica converted to Catholicism for her husband. In the same year her racing career took off for real and her husband seems to have been quite supportive; he was often seen by her side before and after the races.
Famously keeping her private life very private indeed, not much is known of their marriage off the race track. They were mostly just seen when Danica was racing and occasionally have been photographed at red carpet events, but their life off the track remained only theirs.
When Danica announced in November 2012 that they had amicably decided to divorce, nobody could really point to a reason, however it had apparently been rumoured that their marriage was on the way out. It didn’t seem to have come as a shock or even much of a surprise.
In her statement Danica asked for privacy and said that it hadn’t been easy, but that Paul had always been important and a friend to her and that it would stay that way. Everything else is speculation.
She filed for divorce in January 2013, declaring her marriage irretrievably broken with no hope of reconciliation. Almost immediately afterward it became public knowledge that she was dating fellow race car driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Naturally everyone jumped on the pair and rumors emerged that she had been dating him for some time and that he might well be the reason for her divorce. But if that were the case, would we not expect a much nastier divorce? Unless, of course, Paul wasn’t faithful either.
Or nobody cheated and the couple just drifted apart. These things happen.
Perhaps the fact that Danica is now at the height of her career contributed to the end of her marriage. It wouldn’t be the first time that a husband is not entirely happy in the shadow of his much more successful and clearly more famous wife. Danica enjoys an unrivalled popularity on and off the track and not every man can easily cope with that.
But the divorce was amicable. No alimony requests were made by either party, assets were split as necessary and their pre-nup was upheld. No bad words were spoken, no slander made it into the press, anyone who said anything nasty about the divorce was merely speculating without firm proof.
It would appear, though, that the marriage must have been over for some time before its end was announced. Danica moved on far too quickly and happily to even appear heartbroken over the end of her marriage.
Interestingly she’s also much more open about her relationship to Ricky, having recently written a column about it. Clearly she is happy and Paul will, no doubt, be moving on as well, if he has not done so already.