In a new documentary chronicling her career and personal life, Danica Patrick – who has rarely discussed her love life publicly – opens up about her relationship with boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and her thoughts on someday possibly starting a family with him.
The two NASCAR drivers have been dating since late 2012; both were interviewed for the 66-minute film “Danica,” premiering Wednesday night on the EPIX network.
“The relationship has really evolved into this really comfortable space where we’re ... just really happy,” says Patrick, 35. “It’s really straightforward and simple. And we don’t argue.”
Never miss a local story.
Patrick says “it’s really not that critical right now” that the two of them get married, but suggests she might be more ready than Stenhouse is. “I’m super-decisive, like I said, so from the beginning, I’m all in. ‘Let’s do it now!’ So it’s hard for me to wrap my head around someone who thinks through things a lot.”
Cut to Stenhouse, 30, who says: “It took me 45 minutes to decide if I’m gonna buy these shoes or not, and they were like maybe $80 Nikes.”
Patrick was previously married to physical therapist Paul Hospenthal; the couple divorced in 2012 after seven years of marriage. Stenhouse has never been married. Neither Patrick nor Stenhouse have children.
But the topic is addressed head-on in the new documentary, which is directed by ESPN sportscaster Hannah Storm.
“I have always had people say, ‘You’ll make a great mom someday,’ ” Patrick says, “and there’d be days a long, long time ago where I would be thinking in my head, ‘I don’t want to.’ ‘I don’t want kids.’ ... It’s definitely more of a thought now – and being with Ricky, that is something he has always wanted. If we were going to have a relationship, that had to be something that I wanted.”
But “Ricky’s well aware that I’m not having a family unless we’re married in any capacity.”
Patrick also reveals that “about a year and a half ago,” she went through an in vitro fertilization treatment and had her eggs frozen. “I was like, ‘Look, I’m gonna take control of my life here, and I don’t know where it’s going, and I’m not married, and I don’t know what the plan is, and I don’t know how long I’m gonna race, but I can only have 33-year-old eggs today.”
“I just feel like it’s one less concern,” she says in the film. “It’s like one less thing to think about. And there’s a lot of s--- to think about. Especially nowadays, when I have like five businesses.”
“Danica” also tackles the delicate subject of how they relate to each other on the racetrack.
“When we’re on track racing each other for position, it’s always one of those situations where I come up behind him, or he comes up behind me, where you just kind of wanna let them go on – but then you also know that there’s a team watching, and they’re like, ‘Don’t just let a car go by!’ ”
Then Stenhouse recalls a race when contact between the two led to a wreck.
“I didn’t feel like I did anything wrong,” he says, “she didn’t feel like she did anything wrong.”
“I was gonna get an I’m sorry,” Patrick says.
“That,” Stenhouse says, “was a quiet ride home.”
“Danica” debuts at 8 p.m. Wednesday on the EPIX network, a premium cable television network.