Sydney Hightower gave Fred Warner a reason to watch 'The Bachelor'
Fred Warner's wife, Sydney Hightower, is with him through thick and thin, including cheering him on at the 2024 Super Bowl, where the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in overtime.
The professional football player is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and the first rookie since 2000 to record at least 10 tackles in four straight games to kick off their NFL season — but Alabama native Sydney admitted that she had never heard of Fred before he made the first move in 2020.
“[This] sounds so silly, but in Alabama, it’s strictly SEC college football,” she said on their podcast, The Warner House.
The couple soon got to know each other before getting engaged the following year and married in 2022. As they await the birth of their first child in March 2024, Sydney remarked on the unexpected outcome of her reality TV experience.
"It wasn't as great as I wanted in the moment," she said on the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast. “But looking back, I would never have been where I am in life and I wouldn't have found the man I'm going to spend the rest of my life with if I hadn't been on The Bachelor. It's just crazy."
So who is Fred Warner's wife? Here's everything to know about Sydney Hightower and her relationship with the NFL star.
She grew up in Alabama
Sydney grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where she attended school with another Bachelor alum. She and season 23 contestant — and eventual Bachelorette — Hannah Brown graduated from Tuscaloosa County High School in 2013, and both went on to enroll at the University of Alabama.
During her season, Sydney opened up to Weber about growing up biracial in the south. As the daughter of a White mother and a Black and Dominican father, Sydney shared that her home was vandalized and other unfortunate incidents occurred.
She is a former Bachelor contestant
Sydney was just getting over a breakup when she decided to audition for season 24 of ABC’s long-running reality dating show, The Bachelor. Once on the series, she appeared to form a strong connection with pilot Weber, and he deemed her the best kisser in the mansion.
Despite this, Sydney was eliminated in week six, and while it may have surprised viewers, Weber explained the reason behind the decision.
“I had an amazing time with her and we had a great connection, but the next week it just became a number game and there were more women that I had a stronger connection with than Sydney,” he told PEOPLE in February 2020. “It may seem abrupt, like, you guys had a great time and then it’s over, but that’s part of it sometimes.”
Fred fell for her while watching The Bachelor
Things may not have worked out with Weber, but Sydney still found love through The Bachelor franchise with the help of Fred’s sister-in-law. Sydney shared the details of her unique love connection on a 2022 episode of the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast, hosted by fellow Bachelor alums Becca Kufrin and Michelle Young.
“He was single and had just lost the Super Bowl, so he was feeling down,” Sydney explained, referencing the 49ers' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 2020. “He was hanging out at his house and not leaving his room much. He would watch shows, and while he didn’t watch much of The Bachelor, his family did.”
She continued, “His brother’s wife FaceTimed him and told him there was a girl on The Bachelor that was his type and his vibe. He thought she was being ridiculous, but he reached out. He waited until I was sent home, and around two weeks later, he found me on Instagram and shot his shot!”
Her engagement included a nod to The Bachelor
Fred and Sydney got engaged on May 15, 2021. The thoughtfully planned proposal included a visit to one of Sydney’s favorite spots.
“We ended up going to Napa, which is close to us living in the Bay Area, because I love wine and wine country,” she shared on the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast. “He knows someone that owns a winery out there and contacted them about proposing.”
In an homage to the moment Fred first set eyes on his future bride, the pro athlete presented Sydney with an iconic Bachelor symbol — the final rose.
Sydney added, “It was just so beautiful, and he proposed somewhere that we absolutely love. Even what he said in the moment, it was just so special.”
They wed in 2022
Fred and Sydney got married in an intimate ceremony at a small chapel in Vista, California, on June 25, 2022. The chapel, which was flown in from France, was decorated with baby breath orchids and white roses, and guests enjoyed a candlelit reception.
"It was extremely romantic and very secluded and private,” Sydney told E! News about the décor.
Many familiar faces were present for the celebration, including Bachelor contestant Kiarra Norman, who served as the maid of honor, and fellow Bachelor Nation members Victoria Fuller, Tammy Ly, Savannah McKinley, Natasha Parker, Victoria Paul and Kylie Ramos.
Meanwhile, the professional football player invited his brother, Troy Warner, and other NFL stars, including Azeez Alshaair, Terrell Burgess, Dre Greenlaw, Emmanuel Moseley, Dante Pettis and Kyle Van Noy.
The newlyweds capped off the festivities with a honeymoon in Tahiti and hoped to celebrate further in the future.
“We originally planned on going to Europe,” Sydney shared with the outlet. “But with Fred's training schedule and training camp coming up next month, he cannot take that many days off from working."
"So we decided, ‘You know what, we're just gonna take it easy for a few days and then we'll plan to go to Europe in the next offseason,’ " she concluded.
She and Fred are expecting their first baby
In October 2023, Fred and Sydney announced that they were expecting their first child.
The mom-to-be posted a video on Instagram with shots of the pregnancy test and a sonogram. Fred was also seen cradling her growing bump and a cake revealed that their impending bundle of joy is a baby boy, due in March 2024.
“The past several months we have experienced the most precious moments of our lives," Sydney wrote in the caption. "Every weekly milestone and new development has been indescribable...the best is yet to come!”
About a month before her due date, Sydney joined Fred in Las Vegas to cheer him on during the 2024 Super Bowl. After the Chiefs beat the 49ers, she met him on the sidelines to give him a supportive hug. As the couple was surrounded by cameras, they embraced and shared a kiss.
She and Fred host a podcast
Fred and Sydney give fans a peek behind the curtains of an NFL couple on their podcast, The Warner House, which launched in September 2023.
The couple discuss their off-field lives, the current 49ers franchise and NFL news. Fred also answers any questions Sydney has about the sport organization.
Upon the end of the podcast's first season in January 2023, they complimented each other for branching out with the audio show.
"We went in with zero expectations. It was something we just thought would be fun, and it ended up being something that we really truly enjoyed," he said in a snippet shared on Instagram.
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