Mary Joan Martelly: The Wife of Legendary Boxer

Mary Joan Martelly is best known as the wife of legendary boxer George Foreman.

As Foreman gained fame in the 1970s and reclaimed the heavyweight championship in 1994 at age 45, Mary Joan supported him quietly and steadfastly behind the scenes.

Though she has avoided the spotlight, Mary Joan Martelly’s life is a story of overcoming challenges and achieving success.

From her humble beginnings in St. Lucia to her impactful humanitarian work, she has made a significant mark on the world.

Early Life

Mary Joan Martelly’s early life in St. Lucia was marked by financial struggles. As the sole breadwinner for her family, she worked tirelessly to support them.

These challenges built her grit and determination, qualities that would help her later in life.

Seeking better opportunities, a young Mary Joan decided to immigrate to the United States. Leaving behind friends and family, she started anew in an unfamiliar country.

Her strong work ethic quickly helped her establish herself.

Marriage and Family

A Whirlwind Courtship

In 1985, Mary Joan met legendary boxer George Foreman at a boxing match in Las Vegas. Despite being near the end of his boxing career, Foreman was instantly attracted to her.

They began a rapid courtship and married in a small, private ceremony on March 27, 1985, in Las Vegas.

Early in their relationship, George credited Mary Joan with providing stability amidst the chaos of professional boxing.

Building a Family

George and Mary Joan Foreman had five children together: sons George IV, George V, and George VI, and daughters Leola and Natalie.

George, who had ten children from previous relationships, called Mary Joan the “cornerstone” of their family. Despite the chaos of raising five young children, their life was joyful.

As George retired and moved into entrepreneurship and ministry, Mary Joan was his crucial support.

Career and Contributions

Philanthropy Work

While George Foreman was in the public eye, Mary Joan preferred to support him privately. However, she emerged as a significant figure through her philanthropic work, especially in raising AIDS awareness.

In the 1990s, she became a spokesperson for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation and co-founded the “Foreman Family AIDS Foundation.”

In 1995, she received the UNICEF Children’s Champion Award for her humanitarian efforts.

Business Endeavors

Mary Joan played a key role behind the scenes as George’s fame expanded beyond boxing. She managed household finances, coordinated publicity engagements, and cared for their children.

Her discretion and decision-making were crucial to navigating George’s ventures, including the highly successful George Foreman Grill.

Challenges and Hardships

Family Tragedy

In 2009, the Foreman family faced immense tragedy when their daughter Leola died from cancer at age 31. This loss tested their marriage but ultimately brought them closer.

Mary Joan leaned on her faith for comfort and became involved in cancer research foundations, inspiring George to become an ordained minister.

Health Issues

In recent years, Mary Joan has faced declining health, dealing with diabetes and hypertension. Despite these challenges, she has handled them with grit and grace.

George, known for his physical vitality, has expressed his deep admiration for Mary Joan’s resilience, suggesting her strength supports him through their shared trials.

Life Today

Enduring Partnership

As of 2023, George and Mary Joan Foreman celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary, demonstrating their strong and lasting partnership.

While George remains active in various business ventures, ministry work, and occasional exhibition boxing, Mary Joan prefers to stay out of the public eye, enjoying private time with her family.

Mary Joan continues to support George through life’s ups and downs. She is his key confidante, helping him make major career and financial decisions well into his 70s.

Their bond, formed over three decades, remains unshakeable, with the couple standing united through public successes and private challenges.

Looking Back

In her mid-60s, Mary Joan Martelly Foreman shows no signs of slowing down. She continues to support her extended family, including the children from George’s first marriage, with humility and generosity.

Despite the challenges, she insists she has always followed her destiny, not just her attachment to her famous husband.

Her decision to leave her homeland and build a new life in America reflects her courage and conviction.


Mary Joan Martelly’s life embodies the American experience. As an immigrant facing difficult circumstances, she arrived in the U.S. with determination and strength of character.

Through her relentless efforts, she built a meaningful life for herself and her family.

While much of the public attention focuses on her legendary husband, George Foreman, Mary Joan’s impact is significant in her own right.

She has uplifted her family and community through quiet strength and philanthropic efforts. She represents the American Dream, achieved through hard work and perseverance.


Mary Joan Martelly has led an admirable life, often away from the spotlight. From her humble beginnings in St.

Lucia to raising a family with George Foreman, she has demonstrated resilience, generosity, and quiet strength.

Her primary role has been supporting her husband, both financially and through public philanthropic efforts.

Yet, she leaves her mark as a dedicated mother and steadfast partner, regarded by George as the foundation of their family.

Mary Joan may not have sought fame, but she achieved success through her love for family, faith, and determination.

She created her American Dream through principles and perseverance, complementing the public achievements of her husband with her private victories.

In the end, while the world remembers George Foreman’s public persona, those closest to Mary Joan know her as the true main event.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Who is Mary Joan Martelly?

Mary Joan Martelly is best known as the wife of legendary boxer George Foreman. She is also recognized for her philanthropic efforts and the support of her family.

2. Where is Mary Joan Martelly from?

Mary Joan Martelly is originally from St. Lucia, a Caribbean island nation.

3. How did Mary Joan Martelly meet George Foreman?

Mary Joan Martelly met George Foreman in 1985 at a boxing match in Las Vegas. They quickly fell in love and married in a small, private ceremony that same year.

4. How many children do Mary Joan Martelly and George Foreman have together?

Mary Joan Martelly and George Foreman have five children together: sons George IV, George V, George VI, and daughters Leola and Natalie.

5. What philanthropic work is Mary Joan Martelly known for?

Mary Joan Martelly is known for her work in raising AIDS awareness. She has served as a spokesperson for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation and co-founded the “Foreman Family AIDS Foundation.”

6. How has Mary Joan Martelly supported George Foreman’s career?

Mary Joan has played a crucial role behind the scenes, managing household finances, coordinating publicity engagements, and providing emotional support. Her discretion and decision-making have been vital in navigating George’s various business ventures.

7. What are some challenges Mary Joan Martelly has faced?

Mary Joan has faced significant challenges, including financial struggles during her early life in St. Lucia, the loss of her daughter Leola to cancer, and her own health issues, including diabetes and hypertension.

8. How has Mary Joan Martelly’s early life influenced her?

Her early life in St. Lucia, marked by financial struggles and hard work, instilled in her a strong work ethic and determination. These qualities have been crucial in her support of her family and her philanthropic efforts.

9. What role does Mary Joan Martelly play in her family?

Mary Joan Martelly is considered the cornerstone of the Foreman family. She provides unwavering support to her husband and children, managing household affairs and supporting them through various challenges.

10. How has Mary Joan Martelly contributed to George Foreman’s business success?

While George Foreman became the public face of various business ventures, including the George Foreman Grill, Mary Joan played an integral role behind the scenes, ensuring the family’s stability and helping manage their business affairs.

11. What has Mary Joan Martelly done in recent years?

In recent years, Mary Joan Martelly has continued to support her family and engage in philanthropic efforts.

She remains a vital part of the Foreman family, providing guidance and support despite facing her own health challenges.12. How does Mary Joan Martelly view her life and achievements?

Mary Joan Martelly views her life as following her destiny. She values her role as a supportive wife and mother and takes pride in her contributions to her family and community, even if much of her work has been behind the scenes.

Felix Colter
Felix Colter
I'm Felix Colter, an author with a focus on news and lifestyle. My expertise is drawn from deep study and experience, allowing me to deliver insightful content that keeps readers informed and engaged. My work blends current trends with practical advice, aiming to inspire and enrich the lives of my audience.

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