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Mary Joan Martelly

Mary Joan Martelly: The Pillar Behind George Foreman’s Success

Mary Joan Martelly, also known for being George Foreman’s wife, has played a crucial role in the legendary boxer’s life and success. Born in St. Lucia, her journey from her early days to becoming a dedicated homemaker and devout Christian showcases her enduring support and commitment to family and philanthropic endeavors.

As the pillar behind George Foreman’s success, Mary Joan Martelly has balanced her roles as a wife, mother to five children, and a partner in philanthropy with grace, serving as a role model to many. Her contributions extend beyond the household, significantly impacting their community and solidifying the legacy of their enduring family unit.

Early Life and Background

Born in St. Lucia in 1955, Mary Joan Martelly grew up in a modest family that instilled in her the values of hard work and perseverance. Despite facing financial challenges, her resilient spirit shone through as she worked tirelessly as the sole breadwinner for her family. This period of her life was marked by a steadfast determination and a commitment to her family’s well-being.

Key Milestones in Early Life

  1. Birth and Family Background: Mary Joan Martelly was born into a humble family in Louisiana, where she was taught the importance of diligence and resilience from a young age.
  2. Education and Early Challenges: Despite the economic hardships, Martelly demonstrated a remarkable commitment to her education, overcoming numerous obstacles to hone her intellectual capacities.
  3. Career Beginnings: Before her marriage, she worked various jobs to support her family, showcasing her grit and determination.
  4. Immigration for Better Opportunities: Seeking better prospects, Martelly immigrated to the United States, a move that would eventually lead her to meet George Foreman and start a new chapter in her life.

Additional Insights

  • Sports and Interests: During her youth in St. Lucia, Martelly showed an interest in sports, which was part of the vibrant culture of her island nation.
  • Transition to the U.S.: Her move to the United States marked a significant turning point, opening doors to new opportunities and eventually leading to her role as a homemaker and partner in philanthropy.

Mary Joan Martelly’s early experiences laid a solid foundation for her later successes, both in her personal life and in her contributions to society alongside her husband, George Foreman. Her story is a testament to the power of resilience and hard work in overcoming adversity.

Marriage with George Foreman

Mary Joan Martelly and George Foreman’s union in 1985 marked the beginning of a profound partnership that has spanned over three decades. Their marriage, characterized by mutual respect, trust, and unconditional love, laid a strong foundation for a stable and loving family environment, which includes a blended family of ten children.

Key Aspects of Their Marriage

  1. Initial Meeting and Marriage: The couple met during a social event and tied the knot in 1985, blending their lives and families.
  2. Support and Partnership: Martelly has been a pillar of strength for Foreman, providing unwavering support during both his professional and personal challenges.
  3. Family Life: Together, they have nurtured a warm and affectionate family atmosphere, balancing personal and professional commitments effectively.
  4. Philanthropy and Community Involvement: Both have been active in philanthropic efforts, using their resources and influence to impact their community positively.
  5. Faith and Values: Their shared Christian faith plays a crucial role in their lives, guiding their actions and decisions within their marriage and family.

Their relationship has not only enriched their lives but also significantly influenced their children, teaching them the values of love, respect, and commitment. Mary Joan Martelly, in her role as a wife and mother, has exemplified grace and strength, making her an inspiration to many within and beyond their community.

Philanthropic Efforts

Mary Joan Martelly, alongside her husband George Foreman, has been deeply involved in philanthropic activities, primarily focusing on children’s welfare and health. Their joint efforts have significantly impacted AIDS awareness and support, both domestically and internationally.

Major Philanthropic Contributions by Mary Joan Martelly

  1. AIDS Awareness Initiatives: Martelly has been instrumental in raising awareness about AIDS. She took on the role of spokesperson for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, dedicating her time to educate communities about the disease.
  2. Foreman Family AIDS Foundation: Together with George Foreman, Martelly formed this foundation to provide essential funding and support to AIDS patients and advocacy groups, aiming to enhance the lives of those affected by this disease.
  3. UNICEF Children’s Champion Award: In recognition of her extensive humanitarian work, Martelly was honored with this prestigious award in 1995, underscoring her commitment to children’s welfare globally.
  4. George Foreman Youth and Community Center: Martelly has played a significant role in the activities of this center, focusing on improving the lives of young people and fostering community engagement.
  5. Global Educational Campaigns: The couple’s philanthropy extends to global campaigns, particularly those aimed at preventing pediatric AIDS. Their efforts were recognized at the ‘A World of Friends Fighting AIDS’ event in 2007, where they received joint honors for their commitment.

Mary Joan Martelly’s philanthropic journey illustrates her unwavering dedication not only to her family but also to making a significant impact on the broader community through focused charitable activities.

Living Away from the Spotlight

Mary Joan Martelly has consistently maintained a low profile, despite her close association with a highly public figure like George Foreman. Her approach to life is characterized by a quiet strength and humility that has left a profound impact on those around her, inspiring many to embrace similar values of integrity and love.

Key Attributes of Mary Joan Martelly

  1. Quiet Strength and Humility: Known for her supportive nature, Martelly exemplifies quiet strength, choosing to lead a life away from the public eye.
  2. Backbone of the Family: She has been described as the family’s backbone, providing essential support and stability, which has been crucial in nurturing a loving and cohesive family environment.
  3. Role Model for Women: As a mother and homemaker, Martelly balances her responsibilities with grace, serving as a role model for women who strive to support their families while maintaining personal values.
  4. Legacy of Kindness and Compassion: Her legacy is marked by kindness and compassion, qualities that have encouraged others to live with a similar commitment to positive values.
  5. Inspiration to Others: Martelly’s story is an inspiration, showcasing the power of love, faith, and resilience in making a difference in the world and overcoming challenges.

Mary Joan Martelly’s choice to live away from the spotlight underscores her dedication to her family and community, focusing on making a positive impact rather than seeking public recognition. This commitment defines her legacy and continues to inspire those who value integrity, love, and family life.


Throughout her life, Mary Joan Martelly has exemplified the virtues of resilience, dedication, and humility, which have not only shaped her personal journey but have also been instrumental in the successes of her family, particularly her husband, George Foreman. Her transition from a determined young woman facing economic challenges in St. Lucia to becoming a significant figure in the realm of philanthropy and a cornerstone of a loving and vibrant household underscores a remarkable testament to the power of steadfast commitment and love. This narrative, woven through the various aspects of her life—from her early struggles and family values to her impactful philanthropic efforts and the nurturing of a warm family environment—highlights the depth of her influence and the breadth of her legacy.

As the quiet force behind George Foreman’s spotlight, Mary Joan Martelly’s contributions extend far beyond the confines of her family, touching lives through her generous philanthropic work and setting a powerful example of grace under pressure. Her life story reaffirms the importance of support, compassion, and strong family values, serving as an inspiration to many who aspire to make a positive impact within their own families and communities. Martelly’s legacy, characterized by unwavering support and a commitment to bettering the lives of those around her, serves as a beacon of hope and a reminder of the profound impact that one individual can have through acts of love, faith, and charity.


Q: What is the nationality of George Foreman’s wife?
A: Mary Joan Martelly, the spouse of boxing legend George Foreman, holds Jamaican-American nationality. Her rich cultural background has been an integral part of her life, influencing her roles as a partner, parent, and entrepreneur.

Q: What was the reason George Foreman and Muhammad Ali did not have a rematch?
A: George Foreman and Muhammad Ali’s bout was a monumental event in boxing history, captivating a huge audience. Although there was a call for a second fight, it never occurred. The reason behind this is that Ali had stipulated Foreman would need to rehire his trainer for a rematch to happen. Instead of fighting again, Foreman and Ali developed a strong friendship.

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