Ben Roethlisberger’s family: He shares three children with his wife Ashley Harlan

Ben Roethlisberger didn’t enjoy a spectacular final home game with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but his performance did little to dampen the emotion flowing through Heinz Field. Roethlisberger has yet to announce his retirement, but the football world expects him to retire at the end of the season. 

After the final whistle, Steelers fans chanted in honor of Big Ben. A clearly overwhelmed Ben soaked up all the emotions and struggled to clear tears from his eyes. Ben completed what is likely his last lap of honor at the Heinz arena. 

Ben’s family then joined him on the pitch and walked the Steelers legend out for the last time. 

Ben shares three children with his wife, Ashley Harlan

Ben Roethlisberger and Ashley Harlan met in 2005 courtesy of her brother, who was a massive fan of Ben. The pair hit it off and started dating. Ashley and Ben exchanged wedding vows at the Christian Church in Grove Farms, Pennsylvania, in 2011. 

“10 years ago I married the most amazing woman in the world,” Ben wrote on Twitter in July 2021. “I am so thankful for her love, support, and her friendship. She has the biggest heart and anyone that knows her knows this. I love you Ashley, even more today than I did that day 10 years ago.”

Ashley and Ben welcomed Benjamin Jr. in 2012, Baylee in 2014, and Bodie in 2016. Ben occasionally posts pictures of his brood on social media. Benjamin has demonstrated his father’s athletic skills, but his dad won’t allow him to play contact football until he gets to fifth grade. 

Harlan and the couple’s three kids came onto the field after Ben’s last home match to congratulate him on a stellar career. They joined other family members who embraced their hero. 

“Pretty special having them [the kids] here and understanding it and knowing what’s going on,” Roethlisberger told Steelers.com. “They lucky they don’t have to go to school tomorrow.” 

Ben also thanked the Steelers fans for showering him and his family with love and support. He tweeted: “My family and I are overwhelmed with the love and support we have received around last night’s game. We are truly grateful for every one of you.”

Ben lost his biological mother six years after she divorced his dad

Ben Roethlisberger was born on 2nd March 1982 to Ida Jane and Ken Todd Roethlisberger. Ida recorded the first two years of Ben’s life, making a bold prediction: “He’s going to be a great ballplayer someday.”

Jane and Ken divorced when Ben was two years old. Ben stayed with his stepmom and Ken, and Ida regularly visited to spend time with her boy. 

During one drive to Ken’s house, a pickup crushed Ida’s car, killing her. The death hit Ken hard, and per USA Today, he rarely talks about it. Ida’s mother, Fran Foust, told the publication that Ida sacrificed a lot for Ben:

“She gave up a lot for Ben. She let Ben go and live with his dad, which is a very hard thing for a mother, and she didn’t have to do that. She just thought Ben would be better off with his dad, and she was right. But Ben was everything to her.”

In honor of Ida, Ben points to the heavens every time he throws a touchdown pass. The pain of losing Ida lingers, but Ben appreciates that he grew up under the loving care of his stepmom, Brenda. 

“Any time you’re a kid and your parent passes, it’s tough,” Roethlisberger told The Denver Post. “I was truly blessed to have my father and stepmom, who I call ‘mom’ now, to be there loving me.”

Roethlisberger’s dad, Ken, coached his son on football and life. Ken was a quarterback at Georgia Tech who swapped football for baseball after a knee injury. Ben told ESPN:

“I think the success does have a lot to do with where I grew up, my family and how I was raised. I mean, if I could be half the man my dad is, I’d be extremely happy. He’s taught me so much about football, about life, religion, family, love, everything. He’s a leader in the real world. He’s the coolest, calmest, most collected guy I know. Whatever I am, I hope it’s a tribute to him.”

Ben’s great-great-grandfather came from a small town near the Swiss capital

In May 2006, Ben traveled to Switzerland searching for his great-great-grandfather’s hometown of Lauperswil, 20 miles east of the capital. “It is something out of a dream or a movie,” Roethlisberger told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I’m starting to feel more Swiss the longer I’m here.”

Roethlisberger played a native Swiss sport, listened to local music, enjoyed native cheese, and met family members living in the area. He summarized his experience as follows:

“It’s important to know where your family comes from. I always knew I was of Swiss descent, but I never know where until recently. It’s great to be able to come back to the actual village and see firsthand how it was for my family.”