Former Dallas Cowboys player breaking barriers as first in NFL history to marry a man

Getting married is a big deal for anybody, but for former NFL player Jeff Rohrer, it was monumental. The former linebacker shares his journey to facing his sexuality and finding love.
6:33 | 01/25/19

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Transcript for Former Dallas Cowboys player breaking barriers as first in NFL history to marry a man
??? I was lookin' for a friend ??? ??? someone who would understand ??? Reporter: It's the ground-breaking love story that made headlines. I want to congratulate Jeff Rohr, former cowboys linebacker. Reporter: Former Dallas cowboys linebacker, Jeff Rohr doing something no other former or current NFL player had done. Of all the in my life, this is the most courageous thing I've ever done as a human being. Reporter: Coming out and marrying his boyfriend Joshua Ross. You're walking into the rest of your life. Everybody's bawling. Reporter: It's not his first marriage. He was married to Heather for 17 years. It was a different type of love. So it's more genuine and real to love a man for Jeffrey. Reporter: The former husband and wife redefining what it means to be a family, with Heather and their kids living on the same property with Jeff and Joshua. We are a living example of a modern family. We got two teenagers, and Joshua and I and my ex-wife living on the same property, not in the same house. We're going to be in each other's lives forever because of our children. Reporter: Jeff says he was terrified about living openly as a gay man. I didn't want to hurt the cowboys. I didn't want to hurt the league. I want to be respectful to them. They were kind to me letting me wear the silver and blue and be a cowboy. Reporter: Why would being a gay man hurt the league? I don't know if it would hurt the league, but Josh and I were the first same-sex couple in the NFL. Reporter: The significance of setting that precedent wasn't lost on Joshua. Other people might project, oh, wow, that's amazing, dating a football player, but I knew in my mind that was going to be resistance to our relationship and might make it more difficult. Reporter: To you it meant trouble. Yeah, it did. Reporter: Jeff was known for fearlessness as a linebacker for the cowboys. Even making it on the cover of Dallas cowboys weekly. We had the worst astroturf and there was a lot of blood back then. Reporter: He played for six seasons for the most famous team in the league. It was a nutty time. Reporter: Jeff says, along the way he dated a lot of women, all while ignoring his sexual orientation. What was your first inkling that you were different? Well, I mean, people are born gay. That's just the way it is. I didn't practice it. Reporter: He played for the cowboys in the '80s, a time when homophobia was often the Norman comi didn't feel like an option. Why was being a member of the Dallas cowboys and being gay mutually exclusive? It was a different world. It was not okay to be gay, there was AIDS going around. Reporter: So he lived a life he thought was expected of him. During those years did it ever occur to you that he could be gay? Not at all. It all came out when my son was very small. Reporter: It wasn't easy. It wasn't easy. We got divorced and at that point it was like okay, maybe this is the time. Reporter: It was only a few years ago in his early 50s when he began facing his own sexual its. He had never been in a public space with a man. He didn't have gay friends. He wasn't going to gay bars or gay clubs. We met randomly at restaurant in west Hollywood. Josh was sitting close, and we started talking. And two and a half years later we're married. Reporter: They're now a media power couple. Jeff does infomercials and Josh is an anesthetist. And that new modern family includes the now-teenage kids. All my friends were just super supportive. Nobody was against it or anything. It's 2018. This is the Normal. Reporter: What was it like meeting Josh? Kind of just like I knew kind of moment, like just, I was happy that my dad could finally say T. Reporter: Oh. Yeah. Reporter: Why did that make you happy? Because he could be who he always wanted to be. Reporter: Since his wedding, Jeff says the response has been overwhelming. I've heard from a lot of my Dallas teammates. Reporter: You expted polite silence. It was hrible. I wanted to sit down and say how you doing? We could hug it out. I think the people that are not okay with people being gay don't know gay people. Reporter: Jeff says he's heard from a lot of people still living in the shadows, including other athletes. They don't want to tell people they're gay, and, you know, my lesson is that it's okay. It's not easy, but once you do it, you're going to be a lot happier. Reporter: Do you think you'll see a gay player in the NFL someday? You've probably seen them right now and you don't know it. Reporter: He showed me his helmet, the only relic he has left. A fire burned the rest. You only get them if you break them. And I broke that one, a couple others. Reporter: So this is like real NFL damage. The most aching loss, his Yale helmet. So tonight when he invited us to an ivy football gala, we arranged a little surprise. We hope this per pet waits reglamos poc go. There it is! Reporter: Isn't that cool? Wow. Here we go. Reporter: A new memento for a new beginning.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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