Aaron Hernandez’s fiancée spoke at length for the first time this week about the rumors regarding her late partner’s sexuality, which were addressed in the recent Netflix series about the deceased football star’s rise and fall.
In an interview Wednesday with ABC, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez said she doesn’t think speculation about the ex-tight end’s sexuality should’ve been included in the documentary. The docuseries, “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez,” features interviews with Hernandez’s high school quarterback, Dennis SanSoucie, who says the two engaged in a sexual relationship while they were growing up. SanSoucie came out as bisexual following Hernandez’s suicide.
“You can’t describe someone’s sexuality without them being here,” Jenkins-Hernandez said, via ABC News. “Although I have a child with Aaron, I still can’t tell you how he was feeling inside. No one can.”
'IT'S NOT SHAMEFUL': Aaron Hernandez's fiancée Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez said speculation over his sexuality should have been left out of a new Netflix docuseries. “You can’t describe someone’s sexuality without them being there,” she told @arobach. https://t.co/pyL2YIFZu1 pic.twitter.com/sLzhZ4oElL— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) January 29, 2020
Hernandez, who ascended to superstardom in his three seasons of playing with the Patriots, was convicted of first-degree murder in 2015. Two years later, while still behind bars, he was acquitted of double-murder, stemming from a 2012 shooting in Boston.
Hernandez hanged himself in his prison cell five days after his acquittal, on April 19, 2017.
Salacious speculation regarding Hernandez’s sexuality starting swirling on talk radio and in tawdry tabloids following his suicide. While most mainstream outlets initially ignored the rumors, the Boston Globe last year included Hernandez’s sexuality as part of its investigative Spotlight series about his life, trials and death. SanSoucie was interviewed for the project.
The Netflix documentary covers the question of Hernandez’s sexuality in each of the three episodes. In addition to SanSoucie, the directors speak with openly gay ex-NFL lineman Ryan O’Callaghan, who talks about the struggles he experienced while being a closeted professional football player.
In a recent interview with Outsports, O’Callaghan said he grappled with his role in the series. But he ultimately decided to participate, because he felt it was important to offer the unique perspective of a formerly closeted NFL player.
On “Good Morning America,” Jenkins-Hernandez said she “would not have loved (Hernandez) any differently” if he told her he was sexually attracted to men.
“You start to feel for people that may be hiding inside how they really feel,” she said. “And I — I feel awful for that.”