Jonathan Owens didn't know about backlash to comments about Simone Biles 'for a while' (2024)

Jonathan Owens opened up about the criticism he faced after suggesting he was “the catch” in his relationship with wife Simone Biles.

“I don’t mean to cuss, but like, damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” he told US Weekly on July 8. “If you say something, they’re going to say something; if you don’t say something, they’re going to say something. So, just live your life. People are going to talk about you anyway, so you might as well do it the way you want to.”

Owens, 28, sparked controversy in December for comments he made about Biles, 27, on “The Pivot” podcast. The response to Owens’ comments was swift on social media, but the Chicago Bears safety said he wasn’t initially aware of the backlash.

Jonathan Owens didn't know about backlash to comments about Simone Biles 'for a while' (1)

“I have all my social media notifications off, so I didn’t even know for a while,” he told US Weekly. “I was actually with my mom and Simone whenever it came out, so, all the comments and everything, I just let them read it. I try to stay off of it, and obviously if you feel like stuff is kind of getting out of hand, that’s when you reach in and say something.”

Here’s more on what exactly Owens said that sparked backlash, as well as how both Owens and Biles have responded to the controversy.

What comments from Jonathan Owens sparked controversy?

In an interview on “The Pivot” podcast posted Dec. 19, Owens recalled how he first met Biles, the most decorated gymnast of all time, on a dating app.

He admitted he hadn’t known who Biles was before they matched on the app.

“She pops up and I’m like, ‘Let me see who this is’ ... I had never really paid attention to gymnastics, so it piqued my curiosity,” Owens told hosts Ryan Clark, Fred Taylor and Channing Crowder.

Owens has shared a similar anecdote before. In a 2021 interview with Texas Monthly, he said he “didn’t know” who Biles was when he first came across her.

“I just hadn’t heard of her, and when I told her that, that’s one of the things she liked,” he said.

In another part of the NFL star’s “The Pivot” interview, Clark teasingly asked Owens whether he considered himself “the catch” in his relationship.

“I always say the men are the catch,” Owens replied.

His comments were met with criticism online.

“No shade Simone Biles is AND will always be the catch in every way,” one person commented on the YouTube video of the podcast episode.

Another commenter called it a “cringe moment” and also wrote, “I can’t believe Jonathon (sic) was so tone deaf that he didn’t use this as an opportunity to compliment his wife by saying no she is the catch.”

“You should value your wife and not talk about her with such disdain, a man doesn’t need to diminish his wife to feel good or more important!!!!” another person commented on Owens’ Instagram post about the podcast interview.

How has Jonathan Owens responded to the backlash?

Shortly after his comments on “The Pivot” went public, Owens appeared to indirectly address the backlash in a December Instagram post.

The NFL player shared several photos from his and Biles’ wedding earlier that year, and wrote in the caption, “Unbothered 😂❤️ Just know we locked in over here 🤞🏽.”

Over the past few months, Owens has shared multiple Instagram posts expressing his love for Biles and celebrating her accomplishments.

“Still in awe of last night 😍 Another one!!!! 🥇,” he wrote in May after Biles won the 2024 U.S. Classic. “You just never cease to amaze me baby, I love being able to watch you go out there and do your thing. I’m here with you every step of the way, wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

In July, after Biles qualified for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics, her husband supported her in another Instagram post.

“No words can describe how proud of you i am baby 🤎,” he wrote, sharing several photos of Biles competing at the U.S. Gymnastics Olympic trials in Minneapolis. “Just knowing all the work that you put in and everything that you’ve been through, and to still come back and be as dominant as ever, i was speechless.”

“Cheers to going to your third Olympic Games!!!!!!” he also wrote in the caption. “Just sounds so surreal being able to say my wife is the best to EVER do it, how did i get so lucky 😌 I love you so much.”

In his recent US Weekly interview, Owens said that while he and Biles try to ignore criticism of their relationship, sometimes it’s important to set the record straight.

“Our biggest thing is, we know that those people don’t know us from a can of paint,” he said. “I can’t base how I feel off how another person thinks I’m supposed to be … Everyone has a voice, but we do a good job of tuning it out. But sometimes you have to express yourself and let people know, like, ‘You’re in the wrong.’”

He also told US Weekly that he and Biles just try to “focus on each other.”

“As long as we stay tight and our bond stays strong, we’re unbreakable,” he said.

What has Simone Biles said about the controversy?

Biles appeared to address the backlash to Owens’ remarks in a December 2023 post on the X platform.

“Are y’all done yet?” she wrote, sharing a photo of a little girl scratching her head.

She also addressed Owens’ comments in April on Alex Cooper’s “Call Her Daddy” podcast.

The legendary gymnast pointed out that she was “in the room” during the “Pivot” interview and said she was “feeling great” as her husband spoke.

“So, whenever he did that interview, I thought everything was OK. “And then I go on Twitter, and everybody’s like, ‘Divorce this man, he’s mean,’” she said. “I’m like, he’s the sweetest. He praises the ground that I walk on. Truly, I’ve never met a man like him.”

She also shared her take on the comment from Owens that sparked the most criticism online.

“He never said I wasn’t a catch. He said he was a catch because he is,” she said. “I’ve never met a man like him. A lot of people that meet him are like, ‘Oh my gosh, I want a man like that.’”

Biles also said that while at first she was bemused by the strong public reaction to Owens’ comments, she came to find people’s responses hurtful.

“So I thought it was hilarious at first and then they hurt my feelings,” she said. “One night, I broke down and I’m like, why are you guys talking about my husband like this? You don’t know him, you don’t know who he is, and if anybody’s met him, they know he’s the sweetest guy and will do anything for anybody.”

The Olympian has praised her husband on Instagram in recent months for being a supportive partner.

“My whole heart 🤎🤞🏾 the best supporter, I couldn’t ask for a better husband,” she wrote in May after winning the 2024 U.S. Classic.

In January, Biles also shared Instagram photos of her supporting Owens on the football field.

“love supporting you & your dreams,” she wrote in the caption, to which Owens replied in the comments, “Love having you there every step of the way.”

Lindsay Lowe

Lindsay Lowe has been a regular contributor to since 2016, covering pop culture, style, home and other lifestyle topics. She is also working on her first novel, a domestic drama set in rural Regency England.

Jonathan Owens didn't know about backlash to comments about Simone Biles 'for a while' (2024)


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