Former linebacker Rohrer, 59, played professionally with Dallas Cowboys between 1982-1989.
He’s coming out now ahead of his weekend marriage to his boyfriend of the past two years, Joshua Ross, 36.
Ross, who grew up in Dallas, met Rohner three years ago at a Tortilla Republic in West Hollywood. Ross works as a skin-care expert and aesthetician. Rohner is now a TV producer.
They struck up a friendship which evolved into something deeper. They will marry this Sunday at Wattles Mansion Gardens in Los Angeles.
‘If I had told the Dallas Cowboys in the 1980s that I was gay, I would have been cut immediately,’ Rohrer told the New York Times. ‘It was a different world back then, people didn’t want to hear that.’
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Jeff Rohner: ‘I feel like I’m 16. I feel revived’
Rohrer was previously married to a woman, Isabella. That marriage ended a decade ago, although he continued to live with his ex wife up until he met Ross.
He has two children with his former wife. He says he has been firmly in the closet for most of his life and knows this news will surprise many.
‘I’ve given at least five people heart attacks with this news. But for the most part, many of my closest friends, including some of my former teammates with the Cowboys, could not have been more happy and supportive.’
He told Outsports he was deeply moved by the reaction he had received.
‘The kindness of my friends and my family and my teammates … It’s just been fucking ridiculous how nice they have been, and how supportive. And how they don’t care about any of that. They just love me, they always have. Nothing’s changed. Nothing’s changed.’
Rohner turns 60 on Christmas Day. He says Ross was keen to marry before he hits this milestone. However, his love for Ross has rejuvenated his life and he’s not worried about ageing.
‘I feel like I’m 16. I feel revived. Like I’m born again. Again.’