I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Denny Hamlin’s girlfriend, Jordan Fish. Jordan met Denny when she was a dancer for the Charlotte Bobcats five years ago and since then their relationship has grown to the point where they’re now ready to welcome their first child — a girl — into the world later this month. Jordan is super sweet, honest and open. I had a blast talking with her about her life with Denny and learning more about who she is as a person.
ME: What was your first impression of Denny when you met him?
JORDAN: Quiet. He was just very quiet, very reserved. He didn’t show a lot of emotion. I didn’t think he was really into me, ya know? I was single when we met but I was talking to him and another guy and this other guy was so into me and would always compliment me and I just didn’t think really Denny liked me. He would make comments like, “Well, I like you” and I was like, “Really??” because I did not sense that at all. He was very reserved and he’s still like that but he comes out of his shell more. He’s really goofy and really funny and we laugh all the time. He’s just a fun person to be around.
Was there a moment when you were, like, “Okay, I really like this guy”? Was there a specific moment where it turned a corner in your relationship and you were like “I really want to be with him”?
JORDAN: Yea, there were a couple times. I remember the first time, it was after our second or third date and this was when things really started to click. We went back to his house to get my car so I could go home. He hugged me goodbye and I got butterflies. He didn’t kiss me, he hugged me and I just thought “Oh my God.” He texted me later and was like “That hug was amazing” and so I think he felt it too.
There were other sweet things that he had done for me. I was coming home from college every weekend to visit him. That was really hard because we were still in the very beginning of our relationship and I was still getting to know him. I was thinking about leaving school because I did terrible on a test and he just tried to cheer me up. This was when he lived on the lake and he took me for a boat ride. He was like, “I know you’ve had a rough week” and he was just being really sweet. That was the first time I’d seen him be really romantic. So, there were a couple times. *laughter*
What would you say is Denny’s best characteristic? What is his best trait?
JORDAN: I think he’s got a really good heart. He would do anything for anybody. He’s just got one of the biggest hearts. He’s really down to earth and really goofy and really funny. I think people think he’s really serious, and he can be usually, ya know, but I think that his sense of humor is a great quality about him and his heart for sure.
So what would you say is the biggest misconception people have about him and what would you say to set them straight?
JORDAN: I would say that they probably think that he’s very serious. A lot of people tell me that when they first meet him that he kind of comes off as, not cocky, he’s kind of in his zone and I know that when he’s in his zone he’s an introvert and so he’s constantly thinking about his next move. He’s very analytical and he’s a numbers guy. He’s in his head, so when people meet him at the track and he’s in his fire suit he’s not as friendly as you would think but he’s just in his head, he’s working. He just has that competitive, he wants to win a Championship, mentality. And so some people might misconstrue that as cockiness when it’s completely not. And he is shy, he doesn’t like to be in big social settings. He’s not very social and that’s what I like about him.
What would you say is Denny’s worst habit?
JORDAN: I would say communicating. *laughter* Because he is so shy and so reserved. It’s always been an issue for me. I would say, “I need you to be clear with me, do you want this or do you want that? I just need you to communicate.” I think it’s more his parents. His parents want to hear from him more. He’s growing up and starting his own family, so they want to be involved. I try to involve them as much as I can. I think my biggest pet peeve with him would be I wish he would communicate a little bit more, even though he’s done a lot better. *laugh*
Do you think it’s one of those things where, like, I have this thing with my boyfriend where he feels a way about things and just sort of assumes that you know that he feels that way about certain things but they don’t say it?
We’re obviously more verbal than guys are.
JORDAN: Yea, we’re more verbal and I think we’re more intuitive. Like if there’s something that’s bothering me, I immediately, whether I want it to or not, it’s going to show. Whether I say it or don’t it shows how I feel. I don’t really know how he feels because he’s kind of the same way most of the time. After a race, for example, I just let him be because he’s usually in a bad mood and wants the time to debrief with himself and take a shower. At first I used to take it really personal because I thought he was mad at me. But it wasn’t me, that’s what he wanted to do. He just doesn’t show his emotions as much as I do. It’s hard to read men sometimes. Sometimes they just don’t want to talk about things.
So after a race, when something happens, like when he was in contention for the Championship in 2010 and he had trouble in Phoenix, how do you guys deal with that? Do you talk about those things or is it more just let him deal with it, like it’s his work stuff? Or does it depend on what it is?
JORDAN: It really depends. With something like that it was so devastating to him. When you see that, when they replay that water bottle shot, he’s throwing that water bottle, he’s so angry, he’s so upset and it’s just heartbreaking. After something like that, that was really sad because he had worked so hard and he had come so far. Everybody thought, my whole family was like, “He’s going to win it” and he didn’t. So afterwards at the hotel he just sulked. He just wanted to be by himself. He didn’t say a word. I asked him if he wanted to some time to himself and he said “Yeah.” So I went to my friend’s hotel room and hung out and I just let him be by himself for a couple hours to cool off.
Even after a normal race, say he finishes 20th, he may not be in the best mood. I just leave him alone. He doesn’t like to be consoled. He doesn’t like that. He’s a man. He just wants to cool off, take a shower, get over it and then usually by the time we get on the plane and get home he’s over it. He’s totally fine, joking about it and laughing about it. Immediately after the race it’s not like that. *laughter*
Do you ever Google yourself? And are you ever surprised at the things you’ve read?
JORDAN: I used to, a long time ago. I saw some things and I would get really upset about it because there were things that didn’t represent me or my character or who I am and I didn’t know why people would say some of the things that they said. It really hurt my feelings, ya know? So yea, I was surprised. I don’t look at myself like that. I was kind of surprised that someone else had an opinion of me like that. I stopped, I don’t do it anymore. It used to drive me nuts because here are these people who don’t even know you and they’re talking about you.
Yeah and you want to defend yourself and set the record straight on everything.
JORDAN: Right and I’ve never gone in there and written anything because what I am going to say? Because basically all it is, this is what I’ve concluded, it’s the same five people. Some people like me, some people don’t and that’s their choice. It’s the same five people that I’ve probably never met and probably don’t mean anything to me so why do I care what they think? So I stopped looking at that stuff a long time ago and I’m so glad I did because I’d probably be really miserable looking at it today. Because I’m sure people have opinions about me being pregnant and not married.
And you’re on Twitter and Pinterest and you have a blog now, which is great, so how has that response been? What have you heard from people who follow you on Twitter?
JORDAN: I’ve actually had very positive responses on my pregnancy blog, which I was kind of hesitant to do at first. I didn’t want to give too much information. I didn’t know how people would feel about it. I had more than a few people tell me, “Oh you should do a blog. DeLana Harvick did a blog.” I was like, “Ok, I gotta look at DeLana’s blog to see what it’s like.” I looked at hers and I thought it was cool, thought I’d like to do that so I started doing it. People have really, really liked it so far and I’ve had a lot of moms and women who are pregnant say, “Oh I’m going through the same thing. I’m so glad that you’re doing this” or “When I was pregnant I felt that same way.” And that’s really cool because we’re all kind of, like, the same, ya know? It was really cool to hear the positive side of things.
So do you plan on keeping the blog even after the baby’s born and continuing?
JORDAN: I don’t know. I actually thought about that, I think I’m going to play it by ear. It’s been a lot, I didn’t realize how much a blog could take up your time. It’s been a nice way to document everything and I want to share it with her later. I don’t know if I’m necessarily going to keep up with her first year or anything like that. I might just do a normal blog, but I don’t know. I think after she’s born I’m going to take some time off and focus on just being a mom. That’s going to be a whole new territory.
So have you noticed any changes in Denny in coming to terms with becoming a father? What kind of father do you think he’ll be?
JORDAN: He’s young and he kind of lived this bachelor lifestyle for a awhile and when he found out that he was going to be a dad his whole demeanor changed. His crew chief Darian [Grubb] and his wife, Yolanda, have two kids Gavin and Gabriella, so that was really sweet to see him connect with Darian on a different level besides racing. Darian and Yolanda are such a huge help, we aspire to be parents like them because they’re just awesome. He’s so excited and he’s ready. He’s very ready and I never thought he would be but he’s surprised me, he’s definitely surprised me. I think he’s going to be a great dad, there’s no doubt in my mind.
Do you see a wedding in your future with Denny?
JORDAN: I definitely see a wedding. We’ve talked about it and we definitely want to. It’s just a matter of when, with the baby coming right now. I told him right from the beginning when we found out that I didn’t want to get engaged or get married on top of what was going on. I didn’t want to put pressure on him. I didn’t want it to feel like the only reason he was marrying me is because we’re having a baby, even though I knew that wouldn’t be the case if it did happen. But I knew a lot of other people would think that. I just wanted to do it at the right time. When it feels right for us and not when other people think we should. I feel very confident in our relationship, his family is confident in our relationship, everyone is and knows that it’s going to happen, just not right now.
I want to have the baby. I would love for her to be in our wedding, that would be really special thing for both of us, I think. She’d be our little flower girl. When the time is right, there’s no rush.
I think that’s awesome. That would be so much to do all at once. It’s so not necessary. You love each other, you’re going to be there.
JORDAN: Yeah, and another thing is in my family I’ve been through a lot of divorce. And I was always like, “I’m never going to get divorced.” And Denny has the same mentality, his parents have been together his whole life and my parents weren’t. I went through three divorces by the time I was 16-years-old. I just saw what it did to families. And I saw how devastating it can be to a child to be pulled in and out of families like that. I don’t want to rush into a marriage and something wrong happen. I think, why rush it? Why does a piece of paper have to define us right now? It’s going to be the same now and after, other than the title.
Yeah, as long as you guys are committed to each other and you have an understanding of what your relationship is, it doesn’t really matter.
JORDAN: Exactly. We’re going to be in each other’s lives no matter what. We have a daughter and that’s a commitment right there. That’s a huge commitment. We’re going to be in each other’s lives for the rest of our lives, regardless of if we get married or not. Marriage is kind of like icing on the cake right now. It’ll get done in a matter of time.
Follow Jordan on Twitter @MissJFish
(All photos, except the very top, credit Jordan Fish)