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Verlander Says Upton Kept Him From "Jumping Off A Bridge" During Struggles

“Who knows,” he said, “if I’m even here if it wasn’t for her?”

August 09, 2018 - 1:48 pm

Justin Verlander opened up earlier this year about the darkness in his life during the 2014 season. The low point came when he cried after a bad outing in Pittsburgh, believing his shoulder was shot and his career was over. 

It was during that time, Verlander told Bleacher Report in a story published on Thursday, that Kate Upton kept him afloat: 

“She was instrumental in me not…like, jumping off a bridge,” he says. “I was depressed and kind of just upset at the world and trying to hide my own sh*t.”

Upton understood him. And she had a combination of qualities that could help him through his ordeal.

“F**k, man,” he says, voice shaky. “She was what I needed.”

Verlander said Upton, at the time his girlfriend, became a therapist of sorts as he was trying to get his career back on track. He surrendered the most runs in the majors in 2014 thanks to a body that was breaking down:

“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,” he says. “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.”

It helped, Verlander said, that Upton could relate to the negatvity surrounding him:

After Upton’s first Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover came out in 2012, the magazine sent her on a national press tour. A firestorm of criticism followed her. People said she was too fat. “She obviously had dealt with more than me in her life,” Verlander says. “I mean, being a woman? Being in that industry? Being that famous? That was a level I hadn’t dealt with.”

Upton also recommended that Verlander seek an outside opinion on his shoulder, which led him to the physical therapist who would fix his body:

“You would never expect that when you get to the major leagues, you’re not receiving the best of the best,” Upton says. “As a woman, you learn to always question everything everyone is telling you. My industry? My perspective of things? We can’t depend on anyone. Everything is our responsibility.”

Verlander would turn things around in the 2015 season, before finishing second in Cy Young voting in 2016. He won the World Series with the Astros in 2017 and has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this year. 

He attributes his comeback to Upton, his wife as of last November: “Who knows,” Verlander says, “if I’m even here if it wasn’t for her?”

Verlander and Upton are expecting their first child later this year. 

The longtime Tiger will return to Detroit with the Astros for a three-game series from Sept. 10-12.