Aaron Rodgers spoke at length about his relationship with Shailene Woodley after sharing a tender photo of the pair together, while he also addressed how criticism of his COVID-19 vaccination status has affected his loved ones.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback, who earned his second consecutive NFL MVP Award earlier this month, took to Instagram on Monday to post photos from the past year, which included a shot of Rodgers and Woodley cuddling on the couch. Both stars confirmed their engagement last year, although some media outlets recently reported that the couple had split up, citing sources.

In his caption, the 38-year-old athlete praised “some of the incredibly special people in my life,” with Woodley being the first person whom he tagged. “@shailenewoodley, thanks for letting me chase after you the first couple months after we met, and finally letting me catch up to you and be a part of your life,” he wrote. “Thanks for always having my back, for the incredible kindness you show me and everyone you meet, and for showing me what unconditional love looks like, I love you and am grateful for you.”

During an interview on SiriusXM’s The Pat McAfee Show that was posted to YouTube on Tuesday, Rodgers credited his “amazing partner” for helping him enjoy a stable personal life.

“I also was telling Shai, ‘You know, I’ve been with you for two seasons, won two MVPs — that’s not a coincidence, either,’” he said. “And I mean that. When your home life is stable, and you have an amazing partner to do life with, it just makes the work life a bonus.”

When host Pat McAfee asked Rodgers whether his relationship with the Big Little Lies star has changed him as a person, he replied, “I’ve learned so much from her. She’s just an incredible woman — talented, smart, kind. I said last night, [she] taught me what unconditional love looks like. That’s a great gift when you have a partner like that — it just makes life so much more enjoyable and tasteful and exciting.”

Rodgers went on to say that he was sorry to those close to him for making them endure any “shrapnel” from the fierce debate that was waged in the media after the quarterback tested positive for COVID-19 last November and confirmed he had not been vaccinated. He had previously told reporters he was “immunized” against COVID-19.

“I never wanted to be divisive in this whole thing; I really didn’t,” he said in the new interview. “The issue is polarizing — I get that — and I know there’s a lot of fear involved around it, but my intention was never to be divisive. It was to speak about what was my truth and talk about my own health. But I am very sorry to those people — Shai and to my loved ones and my agents. … To those people, I just say, ‘I’m sorry. I never meant to get you in the middle of it, but you got into it by proxy because of your relationships with me.’”

For her part, Woodley has not recently commented publicly on the relationship. Back in July, she told The Hollywood Reporter that she and Rodgers decided not to initially share details of their romance with the media and instead wanted to “live in our little bubble.”

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