It’s a known fact that athletes often nab hot girlfriends. It turns out that there’s an anthropological explanation for it: according to a study conducted by Erick Postma, a scientist at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich, women are naturally attracted to men who exhibit athletic qualities such as strength and endurance. He says it has to do with our cavemen ancestors, who had to hunt down and kill their food, which required a great deal of athleticism. Therefore, the best hunters—the ones who could provide the most food—were the best athletes.
To test his theory, Postma had people rate the attractiveness of male cyclists simply based on their faces. He discovered that those who were considered the most attractive were the best cyclists. Cycling, of course, is an endurance sport, which means that it’s not only muscle and strength that women are attracted to (sorry meatheads, but it looks like you’re going to have to do cardio after all if you want to attract the ladies).
Perhaps this explains why some athletes, despite not being the best looking, are able to attract beautiful women. It’s science. To prove it, here’s a list of 10 athletes who snagged hotter women than they are.
10. AJ McCarron
Quarterback AJ McCarron was drafted in the fifth round out of Alabama by the Cincinnati Bengals. He got his big break in the 2015 season after Bengals’ starter Andy Dalton went down with an injury. As a starter, he went 2-1 with 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Unfortunately for him, once Dalton comes back next season he likely won’t see much playing time. We’re guessing he’s not complaining about that too much, since he’s married to one of the most beautiful women in America. His wife, Katherine Webb, was named Miss Alabama 2012 and finished in the top 10 at the Miss USA pageant. She became an Internet sensation in 2013 when the camera zoomed in on her at the BCS National Championship. Announcer Brent Musburger could barely contain his enthusiasm, calling her a “lovely lady” and “beautiful,” saying, “If you’re a youngster in Alabama, start getting the football out and throw it around the backyard with Pop.” So if all the NFL quarterbacks in the near future wind up being from Alabama, you’ll know why.
9. Jordan Spieth
Not that Jordan Spieth is a particularly unattractive man, but I think it’s fair to say that he stepped out of his league when he hooked up with his girlfriend, Annie Verret, who caught the attention of golf fans in 2015 with her good looks. Not only is she attractive – she’s also intelligent. She recently graduated from Texas Tech with a degree in business and a 4.0 GPA. You can’t say that she’s just with Spieth because of his money or the fact that he’s a successful golfer, because the two have been dating since long before he hit it big.
8. Joakim Noah
It’s unclear if Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has a girlfriend at the moment, but he has been spotted with beautiful women in the past, most notably back in 2009 when the paparazzi caught him at the beach in St. Barts with a beautiful (and topless) woman. The two could be seen frolicking around and getting intimate with one another in the water. Not bad considering Noah isn’t the most handsome athlete.
7. Derek Holland
Derek Holland, pitcher for the Texas Rangers, is right up there when it comes to the worst facial hair in the MLB (it’s a toss up between Holland’s sparse moustache and whatever that thing is that Colby Rasmus grows on his chin). His ex-girlfriend, Lauren Hicks, didn’t seem to mind, though. And it’s a good thing, because she was out of his league. The pair got engaged back in 2012, but it seems as though they’re no longer an item. Maybe she didn’t like the moustache after all.
6. Jason Dufner
Although they’re no longer together, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include Jason Dufner and Amanda Boyd on this list. They’re likely the first couple that comes to mind when you think of an athlete stepping out of his league for a woman. The beautiful, dark-haired Boyd certainly looked out of place next to the pudgy, unkempt, tobacco-chewing Dufner. Maybe she liked him because of his sense of humor. Dufner’s been known to crack a few jokes and take shots at his Twitter followers, such as the time he responded to a troll’s question of “when’s the last time you won?” by calling the person a clown and posting a picture of his win from the week before.
5. Pau Gasol
No one’s ever accused Pau Gasol, the 7-foot tall basketball star from Spain, of being one of the most handsome men in the NBA. But that hasn’t stopped him from hooking up with a gorgeous woman. Gasol’s girlfriend, Silvia Lopez Castro, a former cheerleader and gymnast is absolutely stunning. She’s so pretty that some believed she was the cause of his poor play during the 2011 playoffs, after it was rumoured that they were having relationship problems. He denied the rumours, however, and said it had nothing to do with her. Although, if she had been the source of his slump, could you really blame him?
4. Peyton Manning
Even though he’s arguably the greatest QB of all time, a claim that seems more plausible after his win against Tom Brady and the Patriots last week, Peyton Manning’s not exactly the most handsome guy in the league. Not that he’s ugly, but we’re guessing that his ability on the field has something to do with the fact that he was able to hook up with his beautiful wife, Ashley Thompson. The two met just before Manning’s freshman year at the University of Tennessee, and they’ve been married since 2001.
3. Kyle Busch
Are NASCAR drivers technically even athletes? They aren’t required to have the tools, such as strength and endurance, necessary to excel at other sports, so would the fact that a man is a NASCAR driver factor into their physical attractiveness to women? Does it matter? Not to Kyle Busch, who doesn’t have time to worry about such questions since he’s too busy spending time with his gorgeous wife, Samantha. Seriously, how did this happen? He looks like the guy you’d hire to fix your computer or do your taxes, while she looks like a supermodel.
2. Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck followed in the footsteps of Peyton Manning in more ways than one. Not only did he take over at QB for Manning in Indianapolis, but he also nabbed a woman out of his league. Luck’s girlfriend, Nicole Pechanec, was a gymnast at his alma mater, Stanford University. She comes from a family of athletes: her mother was on the Czech national gymnastics team while her father was a competitive sailor. Luck and Pechanec have been private about their relationship, but reports suggest that they have been dating for years.
1. Alex Ovechkin
It’s pretty obvious that Alex Ovechkin doesn’t take much pride in his appearance. With an often-unshaved face and an always-uncombed head of hair, he looks a bit like a caveman. But who needs good looks when you’re one of the best left wingers in the NHL? He’s had four 100+ point seasons and he won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy five times. Maybe it’s what he’s done on the ice that caught the eye of his beautiful fiancée, Nastya Shubskaya. Ovechkin was previously linked to another Russian hottie, tennis player Maria Kirilenko.