Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay Has a Long History of Addiction That May Have Led to His Current Illness

Jamie Lerner - Author
By

Jan. 18 2024, Updated 9:49 a.m. ET

Jim Irsay
Source: Getty Images

Nothing is consistent in the world of sports, including the health of players, managers, and even team owners. Historic NFL team owner Jim Irsay made headlines in January 2024 because of a statement made by his team, the Indianapolis Colts, about his heatlh. Upon the statement’s release, more information about what happened to Jim Irsay started coming to light.

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Jim took over ownership of the Colts when his father, Robert Irsay, passed away in 1997. Jim won a legal battle with his stepmother to own the full rights of the team and in doing so, he became the youngest NFL team owner at that time at 37 years old. But what happened to Jim Irsay and is he married?

Jim Irsay
Source: Getty Images
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What happened to Jim Irsay? He was found unresponsive in Dec. 2023.

On Jan. 17, 2024, reports came out about what really happened to Jim Irsay. Before then, the Colts had released various health updates regarding Jim but without all the details. "Mr. Irsay continues to recover from his respiratory illness,” the official statement said. “We will have no further comment on his personal health, and we continue to ask that Jim and his family's privacy be respected."

While it hasn’t been confirmed by medical professionals which respiratory illness Jim Irsay is recovering from, we do know that he was found unresponsive and gasping for breath back in December 2023. “At this time, it is unknown what Mr. Irsay had ingested prior to our arrival,” an officer wrote in a FOX59. It was suspected that Jim was suffering from an overdose.

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Jim Irsay
Source: Getty Images

According to Carmel Police Department records, police received a call around 4:30 a.m. and ran to his home. His gasping for air, weak pulse, constricted pupils, and blue skin tone hinted at a possible overdose. When paramedics gave him Narcan, a drug overdose savior, he improved enough to get to the hospital alive.

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This isn’t Jim’s first run-in with controlled substances, nor is it his first near-death experience because of them. In Nov. 2023, he to HBO’s Real Sports that he had battled addiction nearly his entire life and had been to rehab “at list 15 times.” In fact, in March 2014, he was arrested for driving under the influence in Carmel, Indiana.

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As of now, only Jim’s closest friends and family are in the know about his current health. It hasn’t been revealed what substances were found in Jim’s system, but during his 2014 arrest, a toxicology reports showed that he had oxycodone, hydrocodone, and alprazolam in his system. Pain killers can be an extremely hard addiction to kick because of their accessibility in the medical industry.

Jim Irsay is not married as of Jan. 2024 after his 2013 divorce.

In 2013, Jim and his wife of 33 years, Meg Irsay (née Coyle), decided to end their marriage for good. They had separated in 2003, but she didn’t file for divorce until a decade later. "After 33 years, we have mutually agreed to end our marriage," the Irsays said in a statement. "Meg will continue to pursue her professional interests and her commitment to our children and grandchildren, while Jim will maintain 100% ownership of the Indianapolis Colts and his other business interests.

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Jim Irsay, Carlie Irsay, and Carlie's daughters
Source: Getty Images

During their marriage, Jim and Meg had three daughters — Carlie Isray-Gordon, Casey Foyt, and Kalen Isray — who are each a vice chair/part owner of the Colts. In 2014, Jim was suspended by the NFL for his arrest, so Carlie took over the day-to-day operations as Colts owner while Jim went to rehab.

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The Indianapolis Star also acquired a copy of the divorce petition from the Hamilton County courthouse. “There has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage of the parties, and the Petitioner requests that the parties' marriage be dissolved,” it said. “The parties own certain property which comprises the marital estate. The Petitioner requests that the Court enter appropriate orders to divide and distribute the parties' marital estate."

Jim and Kalen Irsay
Source: Getty Images

In fact, before his 2014 arrest, Jim’s past history with addiction came to light when it was discovered his former mistress, Kimberly Wundrum, died from an overdose in one of his homes. Now, it’s unknown if Jim has a romantic partner as he focuses most of his attention on the Colts, his daughters, and his ten grandchildren.

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