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'I Was So Impressed With How Strong He Was': Why Gaebri Anderson Kelley Stuck By Greg Kelley During His ‘Outcry’ Conviction
"I feel like I really did fall in love with him while he was in prison,” Gaebri Anderson Kelley told Oxygen.com.
Greg and Gaebri Anderson Kelley were the quintessential all-American high school couple: He was a football star seemingly destined for a promising NFL career and she was the talented captain of the school’s dance team.
But when Greg was accused — and later wrongfully convicted — of being a child molester, it put their relationship to the test.
The pair met in seventh grade math class and became fast friends as they were growing up in Cedar Park, Texas. By eighth grade they were best friends, Gaebri notes in Showtime’s docuseries “Outcry.”
The friendship blossomed into romance after a trip to a waterpark where “we went in as friends and we left as boyfriend and girlfriend," Gaebri told Oxygen.com.
They stayed a couple as the pair both became successful in their respective athletic careers at Leander High School. While Greg's football talent was getting noticed by colleges, Gaebri served as the captain of the Leander High School Blue Belles Dance Team. During her two years of dance, she received accolades for her choreography.
They appeared to be a couple destined for greatness. Still, Gaebri said that the couple didn’t think their relationship would last as long as it did.
“A lot of people think we knew we were going to spend the rest of our lives together while still in high school and I don't think we thought that way then,” she said. "He was on the football team. I was the dance captain and we really did see it as a high school relationship. It wasn’t until all of this happened that we started to go deeper into our relationship.”
Not long after Greg received a scholarship to play football at University of Texas at San Antonio in 2013, extreme accusations were brought against him. After Greg’s parents both fell ill, he began living with the family of one of his football teammates, Johnathan McCarty, whose mother operated a daycare center out of the home. A 4-year-old who attended the daycare center claimed Greg molested him. Soon a second boy also came forward, though he later recanted his accusation. Greg was arrested, and his reputation was under fire.
While some doubted his innocence, Gaebri stood by Greg's side.
“I got some weird looks in the hallway,” she told Oxygen.com. “I didn’t have Greg my senior year so it was really just me facing the whole school, but I did have a lot of support which I am very grateful for.”
While Greg Kelley was eventually exonerated, he spent years behind bars. First, he lived in a jail cell as he awaited his trial. Then, he was convicted in 2014 on two counts of super aggravated sexual assault and he was sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole. It seemed at that point that he was destined to spend decades behind bars. Still, Gaebri said that she never doubted his innocence even when others did.
After high school, Gaebri moved to Los Angeles to attend the EDGE Performing Arts Center and new friends would be put off after she told them her boyfriend was a convicted child molester.
“I don’t blame them at all for that because they were just kind of hearing the story from my mouth and not really witnessing it,” she said. “They didn't know Greg.”
She said while she lost a few friends, the ones that stood by her side sacrificed so much for her and Greg that it strengthened their friendship. The ordeal also strengthened Gaebri and Greg’s relationship.
Gaebri explained in the docuseries that Greg gave her an out if she wanted it, telling her she didn’t need to stay with him — but she said she felt drawn to despite his apparent long prison sentence.
“I was so impressed with how strong he was,” she told Oxygen.com. “The way he carried himself, and the positivity he had and the way I got to see his heart.”
She said the physical aspect of their relationship was totally stripped away. They talked through letters and phone calls which automatically terminated at the 20 minute marker, but their communication got deeper.
“But we made the most of it and I feel like I really did fall in love with him while he was in prison which is crazy to say but it’s true,” Gaebri said. "He really showed his true colors of who he was.”
Eventually, officials saw his true colors as well. In 2017, a year after Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick took office, he took a second look at the investigation into Greg. He told Oxygen.com he discovered that the football star had been failed at every level: from law enforcement to the prosecution to Greg's own lawyer, according to Dick. He, like many of Greg's supporters, questioned why McCarty wasn't thoroughly investigated as an alternate suspect; as the years went on, McCarty was arrested on several sex crime allegations and he became an official alternate suspect in this case. Following the docuseries' debut, one of the lead investigators in Greg's case resigned from the police force.
Greg was released on bond in 2017 after a Texas judge ordered to vacate his conviction. A day after, he proposed to Gaebri. Their engagement wasn't the couple's only milestone that year. Gaebri also achieved her goal of becoming an NFL cheerleader for the Los Angeles Chargers. By 2019, his conviction was officially vacated by a court of appeals. "Outcry" details the alleged mishandling of the case and all of the case’s hurdles. Gaebri told Oxygen.com that the numerous setbacks were challenging.
"You always want to believe in the people in power and you want to trust them and you want to believe the justice system is going to do the right thing, Gaebri said. “Both of us believed in that and we didn’t know there was corruption."
The couple got married in January 2019, 10 months before Greg’s conviction was vacated.
The pair now live back near their hometown where Gaebri works at a dance studio and where Greg started his own company called Tomahawk Targets. Greg is also awaiting the opportunity to play football at University of Texas at Austin, where he is enrolled.
Gaebri told Oxygen.com that the challenges stemming from the accusations and the wrongful conviction have made their relationship — now marriage — stronger.
“Now that we’ve been through this awful situation, this awful storm and we made it out successful we can go through anything now,” she said. “We feel very unbreakable.”