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In case you weren't obsessed with celebrity culture in the 2000s, great news, because I absolutely was—and I'm here to tell you that the hottest couple of the early '00s was Sheryl Crow and Lance Armstrong (opens in new tab), the latter of whom is the subject of ESPN's latest 30 for 30 documentary, LANCE. Watching these two extremely hot, extremely talented people get together (they started dating in 2003, got engaged in 2005, then broke up in 2006) seemed like all our vicarious relationship dreams coming true. Riiiiight up until they broke up, that is.
The two dated during his consecutive Tour de France cycling wins (1999-2005) and their relationship pushed Armstrong into the spotlight for non-sports-related reasons. So what do we know about the two of them during this time?
Crow and Armstrong had a whirlwind relationship.
The two met at a charity event in 2003. At the time, Armstrong had just split from his ex-wife Kristin. "I knew pretty quickly that I was totally into him," Crow explained (opens in new tab). They ultimately ended up sharing a ranch in Austin, TX, and Armstrong proposed in August 2005. Crow tried on wedding gowns for Allure and talked about the upcoming wedding...but by Christmas of that year, there were rumors of issues. The whole thing was over by February, and the couple released a joint statement. Just a few months later, Crow revealed she had breast cancer.
"When I was diagnosed and my relationship fell apart, people were camped outside trying to get that picture of Sheryl Crow at her lowest moment. I just lost all faith in humankind," she told People (opens in new tab). She subsequently moved to Nashville, TN, adopted two boys, and said in 2019 that she loved her life. Armstrong's now engaged to Anna Hansen (opens in new tab) (who he met in 2008) and the couple have two kids together.
Armstrong and Crow had broken up by the time the doping scandal broke in 2012, and Crow's never been accused of knowing or participating in any meaningful way, but she played a massive part of his life during the relevant years, while he was still a top-performing and seemingly untouchable athlete.
Crow and Armstrong broke up because they had different priorities.
In his 2009 book and via Us Weekly (opens in new tab), Armstrong explained the issue as he saw it. "She wanted marriage, she wanted children; and not that I didn’t want that," adding, "But I didn’t want that at that time because I had just gotten out of a marriage, I’d just had kids."
"Yet we’re up against her biological clock—that pressure is what cracked it."
In 2013, Crow spoke out after Armstrong came clean about the doping scandal. She didn't comment about how much she might or might not have known about it (she was mentioned in an affidavit as being present when someone was asked to deny that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs), but did say, "I think that honesty is always the best bet and that the truth will set you free." She added, "It’s got to be really hard to walk around knowing that you’re not telling the truth about something."
Regarding the news of the scandal, she apparently told Katie Couric in 2012, "I felt bad for [Armstrong], I felt bad for his family and I kinda felt like the rest of America."
It was reported (opens in new tab) in a book about Armstrong written by two Wall Street Journal reporters that Crow had seen Armstrong receive an illicit blood transfusion, and Crow was later named in two affidavits submitted to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Crow has not commented (opens in new tab), and the allegations remain just that: allegations. Crow has never been accused of having any meaningful role in his doping.
Crow and Armstrong have spoken about the relationship.
In 2017, Armstrong talked to Howard Stern about the pairing. "It was a good ride. She’s a great lady. Obviously it didn’t work out, but I think and I hope she’s happy. I’m happy," he said (opens in new tab). "I watched the Grammys the other day, and we were like presenters at the Grammys…At the time, I was like, ‘I’ve got to go do what?’"
He added that being a power couple was tough. "It’s tough to pull it off. I mean, how many couples have been able to pull it off?...To her credit, she was a stay-at-home—one of the biggest rockstars—but she was a great partner. She was at the races. It wasn’t like we never saw each other."
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Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.
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