- Melissa Stark is the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football.
- Melissa has been married to Mike Lilley since 2001.
- Melissa and Mike have four children.
Melissa Stark is one of the key figures in NFL reporting. After two decades away, the 49-year-old sports journalist is back on the sidelines for the 2023-2024 season. The sideline reporter for NBC’s Sunday Night Football will be interviewing all your favorite football stars as the season continues into the fall and winter.
When Melissa’s not on the football field, she’s with her family. The sideline reporter has been happily married to Mike Lilley for two decades. So, who is Mike Lilley? Do Melissa and Mike have kids? Scroll down to learn about Melissa’s husband and family.
Who Is Melissa Stark Married To?
Melissa has been married to Mike Lilley since 2001. The couple resides in New Jersey with their family. Mike is the president and founder of Sunlight Policy Center of New Jersey.
Prior to founding the Sunlight Police Center of New Jersey, Mike was the executive director of Better Education for New Jersey, according to his bio. He was also an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
When Melissa was deciding whether or not to take the Sunday Night Football gig, she sat down and discussed it with her husband. The job requires Melissa to be gone Thursday through Sunday each week during NFL season. Mike didn’t want her to turn down the amazing opportunity.
“He’s my voice of reason,” Melissa told The Chicago Sun-Times. “I’m always the one that says, Try this, do this. He brings me back to earth. If he had said, We just can’t have you gone four days a week … but he said, This is amazing that you’re going back 20 years later with four kids. This is incredible. You’re doing it, 100%.”
Does Melissa Stark Have Kids?
Melissa has four kids with her husband. Melissa and Mike had two boys, Mike and Jackson, first. They welcomed twin girls, Clara and Clemmie, in 2007. One of Mike and Melissa’s sons currently attends the University of Virginia, Melissa’s alma mater.
Upon her return to sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football, her kids have had to step up since mom isn’t as home as much. “My daughter said, Mom, I don’t know how to use the washing machine,” Melissa admitted to The Chicago Sun-Times. “I had to FaceTime them before the Cowboys game to show them how to do it. So they’re learning. I think it’s good for them if I’m not doing everything for them.”
Her kids are still growing up, and Melissa is determined to make her family her number one priority. “For me, it’s always been about finding a balance in life,” she continued. “And there’s always the question: Can a woman have it all? Can she have a family, can she have a career? So for me, family was always going to come first. I grew up very close to my family, and it’s always been a huge priority to balance.”
Why Did Melissa Stark Take A Break?
Melissa was a sideline reporter for ABC’s Monday Night Football from 2000 to 2002. She also spent several years with NBC News and notably covered three Olympics for NBC Sports.
The sports reporter left the business to raise her family. Melissa noted that, at the time, she didn’t want to be a mom on the road. “Four kids under four was a lot,” she told PEOPLE. “So I basically said, ‘I’m going to leave the career, I’ll leave this profession to be with my family to be a full-time mom.’ And I never really knew at that time if I’d get back.”
She returned to sideline reporter in 2022 after 20 years away. In a 2022 interview, Melissa opened up about how her husband constantly supported her as she sought to return to the NFL sidelines.
“I’ve always said to my husband, ‘I’m going to be replaced by someone younger.’ And he’s always said, ‘Stop thinking that. No, you’re not,’” Melissa told the Associated Press. “To be able to come back with a family is very validating and an important message for women,” Stark said. “I think it affords a lot of opportunities to women and shows they can find a way to navigate to have that family but also have a career.”