No one had a better 2017 than Justin Verlander! — He won his first World Series championship and he married his ‘best friend,’ supermodel Kate Upton! He reflects on the ‘best three days of his life’ and previews Houston’s season only with us!
Justin Verlander, 35, had quite the year in 2017. He won his first ever World Series championship against the Dodgers, after being traded to the Houston Astros; the first World Series win for the Astros in franchise history. AND, he married his best friend, Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton, 25. — Mind you, all of this happened within a three-day span. Now, Verlander is reflecting on all of it with HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY, while also breathing better, on and off the mound, thanks to his friends at Flonase (more info below).
The 6-time All-star and his wife wed in a romantic Tuscan ceremony on Saturday, November 4, 2017, just two days after his first World Series win. The couple dated for over three years before they became engaged, with Kate showing off her massive diamond engagement ring on the Met Gala red carpet in 2016. The day he said, “I do,” was one of the “best days of my life,” Verlander says. “Everything turned out perfect. To be standing there, surrounded by your best friends and family, and to look up and have my future wife walking down the aisle looking as beautiful as she did, it was such a surreal moments.”
He continued: “It was the best three days ever — winning the World Series, getting married — it was such a whirlwind. It was all worth it and it was a moment in time that I’ll never forget. It was like it was going in slow motion and it was pretty special.”
As for how married life is treating the MLB pitcher? — He says it’s not that much different, but there is a bit of change. “Maybe I feel a little different because I feel more matured with a ring on my hand. It’s been great,” Verlander admits, adding, “Kate is my best friend. We support one another and I couldn’t be happier.”
The entire latter half of 2017 was a “surreal time” for Verlander, he says. He was traded from the Detroit Tigers to the Astros in late August after spending his entire 13-season MLB career with the team. In a quick transition, Verlander then had to adjust to a new clubhouse and a new town, something he admits wasn’t too hard because of habitual routine.
Verlander has had a strong start to the season, helping his new team secure a 2-0 win over the Minnesota Twins on April 9. The pitcher had a stellar game on the second coldest game in franchise history (a chilling 35 degrees), having struck out nine over seven dominant innings. Verlander helped the reigning World Series champs match their best 11-game start by going 9-2.
Read more from our exclusive interview with Justin Verlander where he previews Houston’s season and talks about his partnership with Flonase!
How important has it been for you to start out strong, especially with a new team?
It has been so important for me. If you look back at the past and my career, April is typically my toughest month. So, it’s something I focused on this season particularly to get out of the gate strong and to have this early on, it’s great; I want to continue that.
What is your mentality, as well as the team’s, as you move on following a successful month so far?
Our goal is to win another World Series. We have a great team and great guys. There is no complacency after winning last year. Everybody comes to the field every single day, ready to play. It’s a long season and you take it day by day, but I think everybody’s goal in this clubhouse and on this team is to win again.
You’ve had a crazy year — being traded to a new team, then winning the Series. How was the transition mentally, and how did it effect your game?
It was a lot, you’re right. April is funny in a way, it kind of gives you a sense of calm because you’re in such a routine. Even when I decided to accept the trade to another team, it’s still the same routine for me, personally, everyday. I still do what I need to do to pitch on my day. I think you can rely on that a lot, and you’ve got to have fun with it. I went from a team who wasn’t in the playoffs, to a team that was in the playoffs and had a chance to win, so that’s fun. My wife, she helps support me, you just have to have fun with it.
Ahead of spring training, there was news that you went into the clubhouse and took it upon yourself to allow the younger guys on the team to pick your brain and talk to you. How was it to step up to be a leader in the clubhouse, let alone, a new clubhouse?
It’s something that I’ve focused on as I’ve gotten longer in my career. I guess I don’t look at it as being a leader, but I look at it as, ‘I have the experience and if anybody wants to ask me about that experience, I’ve got a wealth of information that I can give them.’ If those guys want to call me a leader, that’s great, but I just want to help. I want everybody to be as good as they can be and I’m trying to help them get to that point. It’s a win win. If people get better because of anything I’ve told them, then that’s all I want.
Tell us about why Flonase is perfect for you?
I was actually really excited because I had been a Flonase user for a while. I suffer pretty badly with seasonal allergies and have for as long as I can remember. Nasal congestion is really my biggest issue. I tried a bunch of different pills they didn’t seem to work, and once I found Flonase, it made me greater than my allergies. It solved my problem once I got in the routine of using it every day. So, it’s really the perfect partnership for me because I truly was a user of it beforehand. I was excited about the opportunity to tell others about Flonase, and how it helped me. Spring is a great time of year, it’s warmer, it’s baseball season — But, if you suffer from allergies like me, it can be miserable as well.
How easy has Flonase made it better for you to breathe and focus on spring training?
It’s been a huge help. As an athlete, being able to breathe is pretty important. I’ve had issues with it in the past, whether it’s working out or being on the mound. For me, if I’m having nasal congestion or having trouble breathing it’s a major issue. I’ve had instances, where if I’m on the mound, I’m not solely able to focus on the job at hand, because I’m having allergy issues. It makes me able to perform at my peak, more so than if I wasn’t using it.