All About Melanie Wilking? Who Is Austin Ekeler's Wife

Washington Commanders running back Austin Ekeler made a big move off the field marrying his wife Melanie Wilking

Published Time: 04.06.2024 - 00:31:10 Modified Time: 04.06.2024 - 00:31:10

Washington Commanders running back Austin Ekeler made a big move off the field: marrying his wife Melanie Wilking.

The NFL player and Wilking got married on May 25, 2024, surrounded by their family and friends. The pair first met when Ekeler messaged Wilking on Instagram and got engaged in August 2023.

While a majority of their relationship has been long distance as they’ve traveled between California, Las Vegas and — after Ekeler signed with the Commanders in March 2024 — Virginia, they told PEOPLE in May 2024 they were looking forward to settling down in one place and starting a new chapter of their lives together as a married couple.

"Marriage to me means a partner who will always be there for you through thick and thin. It’s getting to go through life with your best friend right by your side, creating experiences and a family together," Wilking said.

Ekeler added, "It means being with a forever partner to grow and explore the adventure of life together."

So who is Austin Ekeler’s wife? Here’s everything to know about Melanie Wilking and her relationship with the athlete.

Melanie is a dancer alongside her older sister, Miranda. The two moved to Los Angeles to pursue their dream of becoming professional dancers and grew their platform online on TikTok as the Wilking Sisters, amassing over 3 million followers.

However, in 2021, Melanie and Miranda had a rift in their relationship when Miranda signed with 7M Films, a management company run by Robert Shinn, who is also the leader of the Shekinah Church. Melanie also joined the company and church, but she left after she felt uncomfortable with the control Shinn had over the dancers he oversaw.

Now, Melanie primarily makes dance content on her own or with her other dancers, occasionally posting with her sister on their joint account.

Melanie’s family shared their story of allegedly losing their daughter and sister to what they believed was a cult in the May 2024 Netflix documentary Dancing for the Devil. In the film, they detailed how Miranda broke contact with her family, refusing to attend her grandfather’s funeral because she needed permission from "someone closer to God,” their father, Dean, shared in the documentary.

In February 2022, Melanie’s family went on Instagram Live to share their concerns over Miranda’s well-being, suspecting that she was in a cult that was controlling her interactions with her family.

Miranda refuted the statement, telling The Cut in a May 2024 statement, "I am not held against my will and I've never been a hostage. I go to church and I have faith in God. If one day I wish to pursue my faith elsewhere, I will and feel completely free to do that.”

Though they are now -

somewhat reunited — Miranda attended Melanie’s wedding in May 2024 — Melanie said in the documentary that the family’s interactions with Miranda feel “superficial” and were used more for Miranda’s social media content than connection.

Ekeler and Wilking first met when the football player messaged her on Instagram. The two began posting each other on their Instagrams in 2021, with Wilking wishing Ekeler a happy birthday in one of her first posts with him in May 2021.

A few months later, Wilking posted a video of Ekeler posing like her on Instagram, where he showed off some of his own dance moves.

After dating for over two years, Ekeler popped the question to Wilking on Aug. 24, 2023, in Laguna Beach, Calif. He surprised Wilking with both of their families present on the beach in a romantic proposal.

"It was definitely the best surprise ever," she told PEOPLE of the special day.

Though they may have been estranged at the time, Miranda commented her congratulations on Melanie’s post announcing their engagement, writing, “Congratulations you guys????????” in the comments.

Less than a year after getting engaged, Wilking and Ekeler got married in a sweet ceremony with 138 of their loved ones at the Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa. The couple told PEOPLE they chose Vegas as their destination since it was their “home base” and it provided a fun vacation for their family and friends visiting from across the country.

"Living far away from our families is not always easy, so having everyone in one place was really all we wanted," Wilking said.

The pair enjoyed their first dance to Parmalee’s “Take My Name,” as Wilking stunned in a strapless Rivini by Rita Vinieris dress. The rest of the guests were in all black, something Wilking said she saw a video of online and “fell in love with the concept.”

Overall, the day was perfect, Wilking said.

"It was everything we have ever wanted and more,” she said. “To have all of our family members travel to Las Vegas to celebrate our love is something I could have only dreamed about. We are so thankful."

For the entirety of their relationship, Wilking and Ekeler traveled back and forth between Vegas and California — and now Virginia — to see each other. But now that they’re married, they told PEOPLE they planned on putting an end to the long distance.

"This will finally be the chapter where we are doing it all together. Of course we will both have to travel in the future, but we will now call the same place home — Virginia during the season and Vegas during the off-season," Wilking said.

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