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Rory McIlroy's concerns about untraditional Paris proposal with wife Erica Stoll

The golf star proposed to the American sports administrator after seven months

Rory McIloroy in a suit and sunglasses with his wife Erica in a white dress© Andrew Redington
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
June 21, 2024
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Golf legend Rory McIlroy recently made a U-turn on his decision to divorce his wife Erica Stoll, whom he married in 2017 following a whirlwind proposal.

The Northern Irish professional golfer and the American sports administrator had only been dating for around seven months when he planned a trip to Paris in May 2015, the French capital famed for its romance, to pop the question. In a cruel twist of fate, Rory was left "unsure" about whether to go ahead with the trip – and his proposal – after the city was the subject of a terrorist attack.

Erica Stoll and Rory McIlroy kneeling together© Ramsey Cardy
Rory proposed to Erica in Paris

"I wouldn’t say I [proposed] in the traditional way, no.

"We had planned to go to Paris since May, we were always going to go. Then what happened made us unsure what we were going to do. So we decided to go and if we didn't like it, if we didn't like the mood of the place, didn't feel comfortable, we would go somewhere else," Rory explained in an interview with The Independent.

He proposed during a dinner date in the hopes it would make the "trip even better."

Erica Stoll sporting a cap and a diamond engagement ring© Andrew Redington
Erica has been pictured sporting a diamond ring

Rory added: "We felt comfortable but I still thought at least at the start of the trip, it might make the rest of the trip even better. So we went out for dinner and that was that. It was a nice trip, a nice way to end the year."

Love story

Erica met her future husband while working as a PGA transport official at the Ryder Cup in 2012. 

Rory credits Erica for preventing him from getting disqualified from the competition in Illinois, which his European team went on to win.  A misunderstanding involving time zones meant he overslept and almost missed his tee-off time, but Erica alerted teams on-site to Rory's absence and helped organise a police escort for him to reach the course on time.

The couple smiling in an archway at Ashford Castle in 2019© Instagram
The couple got married at Ashford Castle in 2019

"Erica that week was always the one that was checking us in and out. She was there at transportation, so she was always in the car park over there. But yeah, it's still cool to look around and think about that week, and obviously everything that's happened since then. It's pretty cool," he told Golf Channel.

At the time, Rory was dating tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, to whom he got engaged on New Year's Eve in 2013. However, they split a few months later with reports Rory called it off in a three-minute phone call.

Rory and Erica struck up a friendship when they first met, but they didn't start dating until late 2014. Rory later opened up about how "refreshing" he found it to be with someone "who was living a normal life." 

Rory recalled to the Irish Sunday Independent: "The thing I love about it is that we were friends before anything romantic happened.

"We met when she was working for the PGA of America and renting a condo in Palm Beach, and I found it refreshing being with someone who was living a normal life rather than, 'Oh! My jet is 30 minutes late!' 

"I could speak to her about anything, we ended up spending a bit of time together and realised that there was something more there," he continued.

Rory described his wife as "low-key", which was evident by the couple's desire to keep their relationship away from the spotlight.

In May 2015, the same month that he proposed, Rory made a coy comment about his love life to the Times of London. "I am very happy in my love life. We haven't really been putting it out there. She is from America, which is why I like to spend time in Palm Beach… The past six or seven months have been really nice. That part of my life is going great," he said.

Secret castle wedding

Rory McIlroy and wife Erica © Getty
The couple kept their wedding very private

The couple tied the knot in a very private ceremony at Ashford Castle in County Mayo, Ireland in April 2017. 

E! News reported that guests included Stevie Wonder, Ed Sheeran and Chris Martin, but the couple have never released any photos.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, security was one of the main priorities on their big day; the couple organised special wristbands to allow the 200 guests access to the 350-acre estate and Rory's personal security chief Brian Murphy was supervising security at the castle perimeter.

Temporary divorce plans

Rory McIlroy holding a young girl alongside his wife Erica Stoll in front of a lake on a golf course© Andrew Redington
Rory and Erica share daughter Poppy

Rory and Erica welcomed a daughter named Poppy in August 2020. The four-time golf major champion filed for divorce in May 2024, weeks after the couple marked their seventh wedding anniversary. 

A statement from the golfer's team said: "Rory McIlroy's communications team confirmed today that a divorce has been filed. They stressed Rory's desire to ensure this difficult time is as respectful and amicable as possible. He will not be making any further comment."

One month later, he reversed his decision, telling The Guardian they had "resolved" their differences.

"There have been rumours about my personal life recently, which is unfortunate. Responding to each rumour is a fool's game," he said.

"Over the past weeks, Erica and I have realised that our best future was as a family together. Thankfully, we have resolved our differences and look forward to a new beginning."

READ: Harry Kane shares intimate wedding photo with bride Kate in fitted gown

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