Kimberly Stroud and Coleridge Bernard Stroud III raised their four children in California
Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud’s unique journey to NFL stardom has been greatly influenced by his parents, Kimberly and Coleridge Bernard Stroud III.
Kimberly and Coleridge married in 1997 and had four children together — Isaiah, Asmar, Ciara and C.J. — until Kimberly filed for divorce in 2012.
Coleridge, a former pastor, influenced C.J.’s Christian faith and helped get his son interested in football. However, Coleridge was sentenced to 38 years in prison when C.J. was 13 years old, which had a profound effect on the quarterback.
“People slip up ... People make mistakes. As I’m getting older, I’m realizing how tough it is to be a man — not only a man, but a Black man in our communities,” C.J. told The Columbus Dispatch in September 2022. “I think I thrive now at this age, just understanding that doing the right thing is the right way and letting God lead your life is the best way. That’s what I learned from my father.”
The No. 2 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft knows he wouldn’t be where he is without his mother’s support and sacrifices during the challenging period after his father was incarcerated.
“My mom, she had to play both roles for me for a while; mother and father,” C.J. said to NFL Network in April 2023. “I’m super blessed to have a mother like I do.”
So who are C.J. Stroud’s parents? Here’s everything to know about Kimberly Stroud and Coleridge Bernard Stroud III.
Coleridge was a pastor at a church he and Kimberly helped build
Coleridge and Kimberly helped build a church called Life Application Christian Center in their hometown of Rancho Cucamonga, where Coleridge was a pastor. Coleridge would sometimes involve C.J. in his sermons and even ask C.J. to speak to the congregation occasionally, according to Sports Illustrated.
“C.J. and Ciara, my younger two, that’s all they knew was church. We went to church several times a week,” Kimberly told Fox Sports in November 2022. “We dedicated a lot of our time to volunteering in our neighborhood, in our community. So my children spent a lot of time being selfless and knowing there’s a lot, there’s a big world out there, and you’re not the whole world.
C.J. has never shied away from speaking about his faith. Shortly before he was drafted into the NFL in April 2023, he told PEOPLE that his faith was helping him stay “stress-free.”
“Wherever God wants me to be, that’s what’s important,” C.J. said. “I mean, I know that He has a plan in my life, so whether I go 1, 2, 3 in the draft, wherever it’s at, I’m ready for it, and I’m blessed to be here.”
Coleridge and C.J. have had an up-and-down relationship
While Coleridge had a positive impact on his son’s early childhood, C.J. will never forget when his father called to say he was in prison when C.J. was 13 years old. Coleridge was convicted on charges of carjacking, kidnapping, robbery and misdemeanor sexual battery connected to a drug-related incident and is eligible for parole in 2040.
At his 2018 appeal, per Sports Illustrated, Coleridge said that he “spent nearly 20 years as a successful businessman, pastor, homeowner, husband, and father.” When his wife filed for divorce in 2012, his “life spun out of control again and he began using illegal drugs again after more than 20 years of sobriety.”
Coleridge’s incarceration had a profound effect on C.J. to the point where they didn’t speak for years, but eventually, C.J. forgave and reconnected with his father.
“My pops, he was my best friend, to have your best friend be snatched like that, it was tough,” C.J. said on The Pivot Podcast in September 2022. “I just look at the things my dad did that were positive, but for a while, I hated my pops, for real. Like, man, how could you leave me like that?”
“When I talk to him now, I don’t hold [any] ill will. I tell him ‘I love you man,’ ” C.J. continued. “At the end of the day, you made your mistakes and I made mine.”
Coleridge’s prison sentence inspired C.J. to advocate for criminal justice reform
While C.J. has had a history-making rookie season in the NFL, he turned the spotlight away from himself and onto criminal justice reform during a postgame press conference on Nov. 5.
“I got to talk to my dad a little bit this week and I’m praying to God that something can happen that he can get out and come to one of these games ... our criminal justice system isn’t right and that’s something that I probably need to be a little bit more vocal about,” C.J. said in his postgame press conference. “It’s not just my dad’s situation but the whole criminal justice system is corrupt. I’ve been watching videos in Mississippi and some of the prisons have rats and roaches and don’t get me wrong. Criminals should do their time ... but they’re still humans ... I just wanted to shine light on that.”
C.J. has also worked with REFORM Alliance, which aims to "transform probation and parole by changing laws, systems, and culture to create real pathways to work and wellbeing." He chose to represent the organization on Dec. 4, 2023, wearing custom cleats during the Texans' game against the Denver Broncos as part of the NFL's My Cause My Cleats initiative.
Kimberly served as C.J.’s inspiration by working to provide as a single mother
After Kimberly and Coleridge split in 2012, she raised her children as a single mother and worked as a property manager for a storage facility to provide for the family.
According to ESPN, C.J. never complained about their financial situation. When Kimberly noticed C.J. had blisters on his feet from playing a season in cleats he had grown out of, C.J. told his mother he didn’t want to tell her because he saw how hard she worked. “You’re not gonna have to do this forever. I just want you to know that," he told his mom.
Kimberly has always been impressed with her son’s character and resilience, which she discussed with Sports Illustrated in December 2022.
“He had a choice when his father went away,” Kimberly said. “He was going to let that motivate him and be the best or he was going to succumb to it and become a statistic of a kid whose parent did something they shouldn’t.”
She continued, “I sit and I’m amazed at how resilient he is. C.J. is the most amazing human I have ever met.”
Kimberly and C.J. have a charitable foundation together
In November 2023, the Stroud family launched the C.J. Stroud Foundation. Kimberly serves as the organization's president, and while C.J. originally wanted to name the foundation “The Stroud Family Foundation,” she convinced him to use his name instead.
“I told him it’s not what it’s named, but what it stands for,” Kimberly told WSYX. “We’re building a legacy within the community. When people see your name, they’ll know that you not only care about football but also about them.”
The foundation’s first official event, “Quarterbacking Hunger,” occurred later that month. The event provided Thanksgiving turkeys and dinner fixings to 100 single mothers in the Houston area, as well as gloves, scarves, hats and other essentials for families to take home.
“There’s a lot of different passions that [C.J.] has ... [helping] single moms [is one of them] since I was a single mom. We all started crying [during the event] because a mom, her husband’s in prison ... same situation [as when C.J. was growing up]," Kimberly told KHOU. “I’m really grateful that C.J. has taken the step … for a young voice in our generation to shed light on some of the issues that go on in this world.”
Kimberly is starting a podcast with another NFL mother
In November 2023, Kimberly told WSYX that she would be starting a podcast called The Mom’s POV Show with Monica Daniels. Daniels is the mother of Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr., who was C.J.’s teammate at Ohio State.
“She’s one of my closest friends, and she’s going through the same thing as me,” Kimberly said. “She’s incredible and so strong. She’s always encouraging me and vice versa.”
The two plan discuss all aspects of parenting a collegiate and professional athlete.
“I wish they would write a book to all quarterback moms, or college football moms when they first start in this journey because there’s really nothing out there,” Kimberly previously told Fox Sports. “You’re just kind of winging it with a lot of other parents who are winging it too.”
Kimberly is very supportive C.J.'s NFL career
C.J.'s mom and siblings are staples at Houston Texans games.
In January 2024, Kimberly watched C.J. become the youngest quarterback in NFL history to win a playoff game when the Texans beat the Cleveland Browns during the AFC wild-card round.
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