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New York Times best-selling author Glennon Doyle is married to FIFA Women's World Cup champion Abby Wambach and counts celebs like Oprah and Adele among her list of friends, according to The Guardian. In March 2020, Doyle released her third memoir, Untamed, which has sold over a million copies to date, per the blurb on the book's website. On her Instagram, Doyle regularly paints a portrait of blissful (albeit unvarnished) domestic life with her perfectly imperfect family: Wambach and their three children. But while the self-help guru may seem like she has a shiny life on the surface, Doyle's personal journey has been fraught with difficulties, many of which she's chronicled with unflinching honesty in her memoirs, Carry On, Warrior, Love Warrior and Untamed.
So, how exactly did the girl who would "become a full-blown alcoholic by the time she entered college" and who once "maxed out her credit cards, became a chain smoker and snorted coke topped off with crushed ADD drugs" (via ELLE, as detailed in Carry On, Warrior) become one of today's most acclaimed authors and motivational speakers? Here is the untold truth of Glennon Doyle.
Glennon Doyle had a troubled childhood
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Speaking to ELLE in 2017, Glennon Doyle opened up about how her parents sought to create a storybook childhood for her and her three siblings. Nevertheless, the self-professed wildchild acted out through alcohol and drugs, in addition to struggling with disordered eating. "I had a relatively magical childhood, which added an extra layer of guilt to my pain and confusion," Doyle detailed in her memoir Carry On, Warrior. "Glennon — why are you all jacked up when you have no excuse to be jacked up?"
According to ELLE, graduating from college did nothing to slow Doyle's self-destructive pace. At 24 years old, she met Craig Melton, a semi-pro soccer player, with whom she began "drinking and drugging constantly," as Doyle wrote in Carry On, Warrior.
After finding herself pregnant for the second time — she had chosen to terminate her first pregnancy, according to Carry On, Warrior — Doyle decided to have the baby. "I became aware, there on the floor, that I will have this baby," she wrote in Love Warrior. The pregnancy inspired her to quit everything that same afternoon and marry Melton in a backyard ceremony. Doyle had her baby boy, Chase, in 2002 and the family grew to welcome two more girls in 2006 and 2008, according to ELLE.
Glennon Doyle began her writing career as a Christian mommy blogger
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According to the New York Times, Glennon Doyle started sending out daily musings about faith, parenting, and marriage to close friends and family members when her children were toddlers. In 2009, a friend sent her a website-building tutorial. She jumped on the idea and thus, her blog Momastery was born.
But Momastery was never meant to be a cookie-cutter blog, peppered with flawless images and sage tidbits of parenting wisdom. As ELLE reported, Doyle intended to use the site "to tell people the truth about my insides" and hopefully shine a path toward "an alternate, kinder, truer, braver way to live in the world." A few years later, Doyle wrote an essay on Momastery called "Don't Carpe Diem," which functioned as a clapback to everyone who had told her to savor each moment as a mom. "I can't even carpe 15 minutes in a row," Doyle blogged. "So a whole diem is out of the question."
"Don't Carpe Diem" was shared 4,370,000 times (per ELLE) and caught the attention of top publishers, launching a bidding war for what would later become Doyle's first book, Carry On, Warrior. According to ELLE, the book debuted at number three on the New York Times bestseller list in 2013 with more than 330,000 copies sold.
Glennon Doyle was married with three children when she fell in love with Abby Wambach
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While Glennon Doyle's writing career was taking off, her personal life was nosediving. Her second book, Love Warrior, outlined her marital struggles with then-husband Craig Melton, ending with the couple's decision to reconcile. There was just one problem — around the time of the book launch, both had flip flopped on the decision, mutually choosing to separate (via ELLE). Oh, and Doyle had also fallen in love with U.S. soccer superstar Abby Wambach.
The pair first spied each other at a literary conference, and as Doyle told ELLE, it was love at first sight. "I've never believed in or understood romantic love," she said. "Love at first sight was always a complete joke to me. But when Abby walked into that room, I actually felt the words, there she is. This was just an absolute recognizing of the person I was supposed to be with forever."
For his part, Melton took things in stride (mostly). As he told ELLE, he experienced "a wave of sadness, confusion and anger. I thought we [Doyle and I] had been doing things the right way. Both of us had been working on ourselves. We'd entered a phase that was supposed to be a new life for us." Eventually, Melton accepted the new reality of his ex-wife's relationship with Wambach. Wambach and Melton have even reportedly played together on the same adult-league soccer team (via New York Times)!
Celebs credit Glennon Doye's memoirs for reclaiming their sense of self
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Glennon Doyle's second book, Love Warrior, was an instant smash hit, selling more than 500,000 copies (per ELLE). But it's her most recent memoir, Untamed, that has truly skyrocketed her star factor. (In a recent Instagram post, Doyle recounted how "one million copies of UNTAMED were sold in 19 weeks ... this is WILD.")
Even celebs are lining up to sing the book's praises! British singer-songwriter Adele credits Untamed for changing her outlook on life. She took to Instagram with an impassioned review, writing "If you're ready – this book will shake your brain and make your soul scream. I am so ready for myself after reading this book! It's as if I just flew into my body for the very first time! Whew! Anyone who has any kind of capacity to truly let go and give into yourself with any kind of desire to hold on for dear life – do it."
Adele isn't Doyle's only celebrity fan, either. According to The Guardian, Doyle's work has also been extolled by Oprah and Reese Witherspoon. Oprah named her as one of the world's "awakened leaders who are using their voices and talent to elevate humanity" (via The Guardian) and Witherspoon featured Untamed as her 2020 April Book Club pick.
Glennon Doyle remains 'a voice for progressive Christianity'
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Glennon Doyle has long been harnessing the power of her words to enact change, but in the past few years, she's blogged less about motherhood and more about Black Lives Matter and the need for intersectionality. A 2018 Desert Sun article dubbed Doyle "a voice for progressive Christianity ... in recent months she's spoken out in support of Serena Williams at the U.S. Open, signed a 'love letter' to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and posted a video of herself sitting on the floor of a bookstore sharing her favorite titles by transgender writers 'to counteract fear mongering and ignorance with love mongering and education.'"
Through her Momastery community, Doyle founded Together Rising in 2012. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit is anchored in its mission of "transforming collective heartbreak into effective action," according to its website. Much of the funds are raised through "love flash mobs, time-limited fundraisers that have revolutionized crowd-sourced online giving, with thousands of strangers giving a maximum of $25 to meet a particular need in a matter of hours." As of March 2020, New York Times reports that Together Rising has generated over $25 million for people in need.
It appears that, after leaving Craig Melton for Abby Wambach, Doyle truly came into her own as an advocate for women's equality. As she herself admitted to ELLE, "What's the point of gaining influence if you're not going to use it?"
What's next for Glennon Doyle?
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With the 2020 election as her immediate motivation, Glennon Doyle has been doing all she can to encourage her followers to get out and vote as she stumps for presidential nominee, Joe Biden. But what's next for her after the election cycle is anyone's guess. Fellow writer turned motivational speaker Elizabeth Gilbert believes that the best is yet to come. "What you're going to see from Glennon in the next few years is the rise of one of the most important female leaders our culture is going to have," the Eat, Pray, Love author told ELLE. "I think she's the next Gloria Steinem."
Doyle's followers are so passionate about her brand of activism that they are even encouraging her to run for president one day — and she's not ruling it out! "Because of what my life has shown me, I will never say 'never' to anything anymore," Doyle admitted to ELLE. "If it ever got to the point where that was clearly what my family, my community and my country needed, sure. I'd do it."