Kate and Rooney Mara grew up surrounded by the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers
To say the love of football runs deep in Kate Mara and Rooney Mara’s family would be an understatement. Their parents, Chris Mara and Kathleen Rooney, hail from two of the most coveted sports teams in the NFL: the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively.
Chris’ devotion to the New York Giants dates back to 1925, when his grandfather, Tim Mara, founded the team. According to a Rooney-Mara profile written by the New York Post, ownership of the Giants has been passed down for three generations.
When Tim died in 1959, his sons, Jack and Wellington Mara, took over as co-owners, per the NFL. Chris’ brother, John Mara, took over as president and CEO following their father’s death in 2005, and Chris is currently the senior player personnel executive.
Meanwhile, Kathleen grew up rooting for the Steelers. Her grandfather, Art Rooney Sr., founded the football team in 1933. Art was a big fan of Tim’s, and vice versa. They often sat next to each other at NFL owner meetings, so Chris and Kathleen were well-acquainted with one another’s families when they officially met in the 1970s.
Though her parents’ rivalry is friendly, Kate said that football season was a “stressful situation, constantly” in their household growing up.
"It's complicated," she explained on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “If everyone is winning then it’s really happy.”
However, if she had to pick one team to root for, Kate admittedly stands on her dad’s side.
“I grew up in New York and spent almost every Sunday at Giants Stadium, so my love of the team runs deep. I love the Steelers but at the end of the day, if they’re playing the Giants, I bleed blue,” the House of Cards star told the New York Post in 2016.
When Kate and Rooney weren’t shuffling to Giants Stadium, they were busy pursuing their love of musical theater — a passion Kathleen encouraged. Speaking with Vogue in 2013, Rooney recalled her mom “always playing old black-and-white movies for us.”
Here is everything to know about Kate and Rooney Mara’s parents, Chris Mara and Kathleen Rooney.
They met at a dog track in the 1970s
While their families were busy at NFL league meetings, Chris and Kathleen were getting to know one another at the dog track.
According to a 2006 Rooney-Mara profile written by the New York Post, Chris and Kathleen met at the Kennel Club in Palm Beach, Florida, in the mid-1970s.
Chris had just started school at Boston College, and Kathleen was still in high school. The pair didn’t become romantically involved until Kathleen also became a Boston College student.
They raised their kids in Westchester, New York
Chris and Kathleen’s East Coast roots run deep, so settling down in New York’s historic Hudson Valley seemed like the perfect fit when it came to raising a family. Kate and Rooney grew up in Westchester, a small town just about an hour north of Manhattan.
Reminiscing about her childhood with Vogue, Rooney described her hometown as “this one teeny little street with a general store and a movie theater.”
“It was really small, really peaceful. We would have block parties, and lemonade stands at the end of the driveway,” she recalled.
Kathleen was a real estate agent
Some of Rooney’s favorite childhood memories include traveling to upstate New York and New England to attend open houses and antique markets with her mom, who worked as a realtor in Westchester, New York.
Now an adult with her own personal style, Rooney's home aesthetic is inspired by her mother’s eye for antiques and vintage decor. “My entire apartment is furnished with stuff from thrift markets,” Rooney told Vogue.
Chris has been with the New York Giants for over 35 years
Throughout his decades-long career with the New York Giants, he’s helped the team win four Super Bowl championships. According to his NY Giants bio, Chris was hired as a member of the club’s player personnel department in 1979.
He spent the following 14 years as a scout, and was with the team when the Giants won their first-ever Super Bowl in 1986 and again in 1990.
After the 1993 season, Chris briefly stepped away from the Giants when he became the head of operations at ProRate, Inc., an independent football scouting agency that analyzed the NFL’s free agent market. After departing from ProRate, Inc. in 2000, he served two years as the president/general manager of the New Jersey Gladiators, per his LinkedIn.
In 2003, Chris returned to the Giants as the vice president of player evaluation. Since then, he’s been promoted twice and currently serves as the team’s senior player personnel executive. During his gap years, the Giants won no Super Bowl championships, and Chris has led them to victory twice more, in 2007 and 2011.
They have two other children: sons Daniel and Conor
Chris and Kathleen welcomed four children together: Daniel, Kate, Rooney (born Patricia Rooney) and Conor. While his younger sisters aren’t shy of the spotlight, Daniel prefers to lead his life out of the public eye.
The youngest of his siblings, Conor graduated from Fordham University in 2011 with a communications degree and, like his father, has pursued a career with the New York Giants. He worked as a productions assistant for the NFL Network and as a fantasy football writer before landing a spot on the Giants’ marketing team in 2021, per his LinkedIn page.
Connor’s coastal wedding to Chelsea Leonard was featured on Martha Stewart. The pair met through their parents at a dinner, who were neighbors in Florida. They tied the knot in April 2018, and Kathleen helped design their wedding cake, which featured an edible football. She also lent Chelsea a pair of earrings for her "something borrowed."
They have 10 Super Bowl rings collectively
According to Chris, no one is more accomplished in the world of football — at least by the number of Super Bowl rings — than he and his wife. As a member of the Mara dynasty, he has garnered four rings, thanks to the New York Giants. Meanwhile, Kathleen has six with the Pittsburgh Steelers, bringing their combined total to 10 rings.
However, she doesn't sport her rings on her fingers. The Steeler fan has crafted a one-of-a-kind bracelet using the facing and stones from her Super Bowl ring collection, which she only dons on special occasions.
“I like to say we have more Super Bowls than anyone because we have 10 together,” Chris told the New York Post in 2016, adding of Kathleen’s bracelet, “But it’s tough getting through airports with that thing.”
“Another couple of [Super Bowl] wins … and it’s going to be hard for her to lift her arm,” added Tim Rooney, Kathleen’s father.
They have eight grandchildren
Between their four children, Chris and Kathleen are grandparents to eight kids. Daniel is the oldest of the bunch and has four children: Judith Kailee, Wellington Rooney (named after his late paternal grandfather), Ann MacKenna and Blaise Rooney.
His sister Kate welcomed a daughter in 2019 and a son in 2022, whose names haven’t been revealed, with actor Jamie Bell, whom she married in 2017. Bell also has a son from his previous marriage to Evan Rachel Wood.
They love to watch and support Kate and Rooney’s work
Though Kate and Rooney chose different careers outside of football, Chris and Kathleen cheer them and their projects on, accompanying their daughters to several of their red-carpet events. They were photographed alongside Kate at the New York premiere of Shooter in 2007 and the crime-drama thriller Captive eight years later.
During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Kate joked that her parents’ support comes with limitations, noting that she asked them to fast-forward through sex scenes in her 2020 FX miniseries, A Teacher.
"They want to be supportive and watch the show. I just told them they're going to have to fast-forward through some things,” she said. "When I called them to ask them what they thought of the episode, they'll say things like, 'Yeah, we only had to fast-forward four times tonight.’ ”
Most recently, Rooney and Phoenix hosted a special screening of Kate’s 2022 documentary The Smell of Money, which she executive produced.
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