By Daniel Bukszpan
The stereotype about professional athletes' wives is they're not much more than gold-digging arm candy, with few accomplishments of their own. The stereotype no longer applies today, thanks to the efforts of some high-profile women who established themselves well before they married their famous husbands.
Many of the wives of today's professional athletes are entrepreneurs and business professionals. Some of them have been so successful in their chosen fields they are as famous as their husbands. Sometimes even more so -- everyone knows Carrie Underwood but not everyone knows the name of her husband, NHL player Mike Fisher.
|Slideshow: Money-Making Athlete Wives|
What follows is a list of the wives of athletes who've made names for themselves as columnists, models, designers and more. They may have married famous men but they may have successful careers ahead of them long after their husbands have retired.
Brooklyn Decker is one of today's most famous and successful models. She has appeared on the cover of the 2010 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, walked the runway in the "Swim" collection by Victoria's Secret and rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Decker married pro tennis player Andy Roddick in 2009, and he has his own impressive accomplishments to brag about, including a ball he served on Sept. 24, 2004, that clocked in at a record-breaking 155 miles per hour.
Gena Lee Nolin is a model and an actress who got her start as a presenter on "The Price Is Right." After her stint as one of Barker's Beauties, she moved on to the show for which she is probably best known -- "Baywatch." She portrayed bad-girl lifeguard Neely Capshaw and appeared in 63 episodes. Nolin is married to former NHL player Cale Hulse. In his 13-year career, he played for five teams, including the New Jersey Devils, the Calgary Flames and the Nashville Predators. Hulse and Nolin married in 2004 and have two children.
Stephenie LaGrossa is married to Kyle Kendrick, a pitcher for the Phillies. They married in 2010, and one year later they welcomed their first child, Sophia. LaGrossa was already known before the two became an item, thanks to appearances on the CBS reality show "Survivor." She appeared on "Survivor: Palau" and achieved runner-up status on "Survivor: Guatemala," both in 2005. She also appeared on "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains" in 2010. LaGrossa is co-owner of GIGI Restaurant & Lounge in Philadelphia's Old City neighborhood.
Brazil's Adriana Lima has been modeling lingerie as a Victoria's Secret Angel since 2000, which puts her in the same category as Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks and fellow money-making athlete wife Gisele Bündchen. In May 2011, she appeared on Forbes magazine's list of the world's top-earning models, which stated that she earned $8 million for a single advertising campaign. Lima is married to Marko Jaric, a basketball player who has been a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Memphis Grizzlies. Jaric and Lima were married on Valentine's Day 2009 and welcomed a daughter later that year.
Lucie Vondrackova is an accomplished singer and actress from the Czech Republic who had an international hit with the pop song "Strach." She released albums all throughout the 1990s and 2000s and found time to star in dozens of Czech television shows and stage productions, including Shakespeare's "Othello" and "Romeo and Juliet," in which she had leading roles. Vondrackova is married to Tomas Plekanec, a fellow Czech who plays for the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL. In 2010, he signed a $30 million deal to stay with the team for another six years.