Kurt and Brenda Warner Put 'First Things First'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 1, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight Kurt Warner, a quarterback great. He has a Super Bowl ring and has dazzled fans for years.

There is so much more to know about this man. Football is his job. His wife, family, and faith are his life.

Kurt and his wife Brenda Warner go "On the Record" about their book "First Things First."


Kurt and Brenda, nice to see both of you. And what a great new book, "First Things First." And Brenda, I know why it is "First Things First," why its titled that, but you tell us.

BRENDA WARNER, KURT WARNER'S WIFE: Well, "First Things First" just means a lot to us. It just shows us what we put first in our lives. And we just wrote this book to be able to share it with people, get a good laugh, realize that we are just real people trying to raise good kids, and trying to do it right like everybody else. So we just put "First Things First" in our life, and we just wanted to write about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Kurt, we get a little bit of the football, but this isn't a football story. This is a love story, this is a family story, isn't it?

KURT WARNER, NFL QUARTERBACK, ARIZONA CARDINALS: It is. There is a little bit football in it for the football fans, but it is more about life around football, and life raising seven kids, and with a beautiful wife, and all the things that go into it.

So it is a fun look at what it is like to be in the NFL, but more importantly, what it is like to have a relationship and raise kids in the environment.

VAN SUSTEREN: Kurt, he looked like a football player. Brenda, I have to say, you do not look like a marine to me.

BRENDA WARNER: Well, I feel like a marine sometimes still, that's important thing.

VAN SUSTEREN: You are a marine.

BRENDA WARNER: I am. I will always be a marine at heart. There is no ex-marine, it's just a former marine. And I love serving the country, and I miss it a lot.

He does not believe I was ever in, because he does not believe I took an order from a man. But there is truth that I did at one time.

KURT WARNER: Outstanding pictures.

VAN SUSTEREN: I bet you have. Brenda, why the marines? What drove you to the Marines?

BRENDA WARNER: The Marine Corps just interested me a lot. My sister went to college, and my parents did not have a lot of money. So I heard a lot of fussing and fighting about money a lot.

And it just was a challenge, it was something different. And I was not a great student. So I signed up right before my senior year. I just felt like the Lord was calling me to do it.

And now that I look back, it set me up to be a strong person, to enjoy a lot of good times and bad times, but staying strong. So I'm thankful for it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Kurt, I know you've been tackled once or twice in your life, but this picture, this cover, you're tackled by all of these children. How many are there?

KURT WARNER: There are actually seven of them. They range everywhere from 20 years old down to three-year-old twins. So we've got them basically, as you can see in the picture there, from every age, every shade, every size.

But it makes life at the Warner household of little chaotic, but very unpredictable and a lot of fun.

VAN SUSTEREN: You got me, Kurt, and the first program but about being tackled, basically. I thought you were talking about again.

KURT WARNER: Exactly. That's kind of what we are hoping.

VAN SUSTEREN: You got me.

KURT WARNER: All those football fans would get pulled in with that. And it was a fun place on things, because I have experienced that on the football field but I get a lot of home to.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, Kurt, what was it about Brenda? Why did you marry her?

KURT WARNER: She's looking at me, all the pressure.

BRENDA WARNER: Make it good.

KURT WARNER: I think the biggest thing was, you know, she talked about her strength before. And she says they can't Marines. She's got a crazy story if you hear it, everything that's going on in her life.

And there was just something that stood out about her. I think about her strength and the way she is independent and stood by herself, and I think that intrigues me, that it was not a person that I was going to be able to walk all over, their marriage is going to be a partnership, and we were going to do this whole thing together. And I think that's what intrigued me and threw me in, and one of the things that I love about her the most.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right Kurt, for all the women out there, you are not so perfect. I've read this book, and you brush your -- when you brush your teeth, you let it dribble down your chin.

KURT WARNER: That's just because she can't stand it, so every once in awhile I have to do something that drives her crazy.

VAN SUSTEREN: All the women think you're so perfect, so I just had to get out there.

And Brenda, what is this business about you not turning off the TV before you falsely? What is going on about that?

BRENDA WARNER: Seriously, you know. I am watching important things like you, and he just want me to turn off and go to sleep. That is just my way to go to sleep, and I guess I annoy him that way. But it's real marriage in real life stuff.

KURT WARNER: I have never seen anyone fall asleep so quickly. She could be sitting and reading a book, and the book stays in its reading position, as shall be asleep for hours. And I can't turn the light off or the TV off because I think she's still awake.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't know if there is such a definition of "a normal family," but what I love most about the book is I read things like you say I hate climbing over clothes. She needs to pick them up more often.

It seems like it really sort of normal family, if there is such a thing, a fun family.

KURT WARNER: I think you're right. I think so many people get a perception of me based on football and what they read, or maybe my beliefs as a Christian.

But that's what we wanted to do with this book is we want to show people that we are real. We love Jesus, and that's a huge part of our life, and so is the NFL, but we are just real people, and we go through the same things that every married couple goes through or every parent goes through, the struggles and the joys of both of those things.

And that is really what this book was all about, to show people a behind-the-scenes look at our lives, our relationship, and our family.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's nice. When you read the book, you know you guys love each other, and you have all of these kids. Brenda, I don't know how to say this the right way, but is it like herding cats sometimes?

So many of them, how do you keep track of who is where and who's doing what?

BRENDA WARNER: A lot of times, it is marine corps roll- call. Just making sure -- there many times during the day where I think where is so- and-so.

But you know what, you just kind of go with it. You do not overanalyze it. I think that a lot of times mothers get freaked out because they want everything perfect, and I gave that up a long time ago. I just want my kids to be happy. And so if they do not match in their clothing or have two different shoes on, that's fine with me. We just go with it. And I just hope they know how loved they are and that they are going to make a difference in this world.

But it is real life. It is hurting cattle. It is trying to make everybody behave, and nobody does. But we really enjoy it, and we really hope that we are doing it right.

VAN SUSTEREN: In reading the book, I get the idea that nothing was handed to either one of you, that you work at your marriage and your family. Even, Kurt, I hate to mention this, but you got cut by the Green Bay Packers and you are stocking shelves.

No offense -- that told you that I owned one share of the Packer, but you had to work yourself back.

KURT WARNER: I think that is a huge part of both of our lives is the things we've had to work through, the circumstances that we have gone through in our lives, the challenges that we have faced.

And what you realize in life and real life and raising kids and being married that you have those same things, you have challenges that come every day. And they are thrown at you as your kids get older, and they go through the high school years and off to college.

And then you have the little ones, and they're all those challenges. And although they may not be on the scale of some of the things that Brenda and I have been through if you encompass our whole lives, they are things I think we've learned from in the past, and they allow us to meet those challenges head-on and figure out ways to get around them. We never give up, we never quit, we never say this is a dealbreaker. We just find a way to work through it, and I think that's been the key to our marriage and then a key for us to, hopefully, raise seven great kids.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you like football, Brenda, or not?

BRENDA WARNER: I hate football, hate it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Really? Why?

BRENDA WARNER: I do. I know.

You know, I just do not get the whole thing somebody that much money to play a game. Granted, I love to --

VAN SUSTEREN: Don't complain about that one.

BRENDA WARNER: I know, right?

KURT WARNER: That's what I keep telling her.

BRENDA WARNER: But, you know, my dad made John Deere tractors or 30 years, and we had a good life. And she never came home with bruises and broken bones. And so I have a different perspective.

I do not get the fame and fortune think, but the fact that we walk into a room, and these kids that are diagnosed with cancer were just going through a rough time, light up, you know what, I think let's just do it. They work for something, and so let's take advantage of it.

So even though I don't like football, I like all the blessings that come with it.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you mentioned the fame with it, I will mention, Brenda, I will leave this as a tease what you said about President Bush --


-- and you are both laughing about that one.

But Kurt, you have received phone calls from President Obama and you have also met President Bush, right?


That's the same. I think we look at ourselves all the time, and as we talk about in this book, we are normal people, both raised in Iowa. We never dreamed that we'd have all these opportunities.

And so we're taking them one day at a time, and were thanking God for every chance we get to have an opportunity, like she said, to impact someone's life.

And it's been great. We have met a lot of people along the way, we've had opportunities to do a lot of great things along the way, and things that we never dreamed of.

A dreamed of playing in the NFL, and people wearing my jersey, and being on a big screen. But the things you don't dream of are the things you can do to have an impact on people's lives, and that's been the most amazing part of the whole thing, and that includes meeting influential people like the president.

VAN SUSTEREN: Kurt, why are you so good at football? Have you figure that one out yet? Is it drive? Do you love the game? Is a natural talent? What is this? Why are you good at it?

KURT WARNER: There is definitely a triumph, I definitely loves the game. There's not a whole lot of natural talent, so it doesn't fall there. I have been surrounded by a lot of great players and a lot of great coaches over the years.

I do not know what it is. But I have got a drive in me that I want to be great at everything that I do, whether it's loving my wife or raising my kids or playing the game of football.

And I think that has been a huge part of it is that I never want to give up, I never want to settle for anything but the best. And that is what I've always tried to push towards no matter what circumstance I am in.


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