Just ahead of the Super Bowl, where he will serve as a broadcast commentator in the pregame show, Dan Marino has admitted to fathering the child of a woman named Donna Savattere and paying her to keep quiet about the baby.
According to an exclusive report from the New York Post, a source had said Marino and Savattere, who was at the time a 35-year-old production assistant at CBS Sports in Manhattan, had a child together, and the 51-year-old paid her a hefty sum to keep the child’s existence private.
“They had an affair, and she had a baby,” the unnamed source said. “Everything was on the down-low and secretive.”
The affair and cover-up aren’t just rumors plaguing Marino ahead of the Super Bowl; The Hall of Famer admitted to the Post that he did indeed father Savattere’s child, Chloe, who is now seven-years-old.
“This is a personal and private matter. I take full responsibility both personally and financially for my actions now as I did then,” Marino told the newspaper. “We mutually agreed to keep our arrangement private to protect all parties involved.”
Baby Chloe was born two months before Marino was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005, while Marino was married to his wife, Claire, with whom he has six children.
According to the source who leaked the story to the Post, Marino paid an undisclosed amount of money, estimated in the millions, to Savattere to keep quiet about the affair and child. She also agreed to move to Texas and stay out of the spotlight. Savattere, however, eventually returned to New York, and according to the Post, “became a fixture on the social scene” getting “snapped by society photographers such as Patrick McMullan.” Since then, she has married a man named Nahill Younis, with whom she also has a baby. She has petitioned the court to change her daughter’s last name from Savattere to Younis.
Marino still keeps in contact with Chloe. “They would have impromptu meetings, which was part of the deal,” the source told the Post. “Donna was always saying she had to go meet with her lawyers to go over the scheduling and other issues.”
Despite the affair with Savattere, and his relationship with his daughter, Marino said his own marriage to wife, Claire, remains strong.
“My wife and I have been married for almost 30 years and have six children together,” he told the Post, on the couple’s 28th wedding anniversary. “And we continue to be a strong and loving family.”
While the scandal seems to be under control, now that Marino has taken full responsibility, how will this news affect his coverage of the Super Bowl on Sunday? Currently, the former Miami Dolphins quarterback is slated to host a broadcast with Boomer Esiason and Shannon Sharpe all day before the 6:30 p.m. ET kickoff. The New York Post said news of the affair and cover-up “could make for some awkward moments during the long broadcast” for Marino, who has been a pre-game host and analyst for CBS since 2003.