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Taya Kyle: The Woman Behind the Legend of American Sniper, Chris Kyle

Chris Kyle was a celebrated Navy SEAL with a record number of sniper kills. Much less is known about his wife, Taya Kyle. Learn about her strength, resilience, and her life with Chris.
by Rob Gillham | Dec 13 2023
Credits: CNN

When it comes to Chris Kyle, the renowned Navy SEAL who courageously served four tours in Iraq, many people know him as the most lethal sniper in American military history. However, what often misses the spotlight is his life off the battlefield.

This includes Chris Kyle’s loving wife, Taya Kyle (49 years old). Let’s dive deeper into the world of this courageous woman, her life with Chris until his death, and their shared journey.
 

Understanding Taya Kyle: Chris Kyle’s Wife and Widow

Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Taya Ranae Studebaker, daughter of Lake Oswego Mayor Kent Studebaker, was born and raised in a life of service. Taya tied the knot with famed U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, a parent to their two children.

Taya, now 46, came into wider public view through her husband’s autobiography, further highlighted in its cinematic adaptation, American Sniper, directed by Clint Eastwood. Acclaimed actress Sienna Miller brought her to life on screen, an endeavor Taya actively participated in by working closely with screenwriter Jason Hall.

Her reach extends beyond the silver screen as she has successfully carved out a space for herself as an American author, a political commentator, and a military veteran’s family activist. 

Life changed abruptly when her husband Chris was murdered by veteran Eddie Ray Routh on February 2, 2013. Taya responded by becoming a spokesperson for her husband’s military service and veterans’ issues nationwide.
 

Tara Kyle Today

In her mission to champion the cause of the military, Taya has become a tireless advocate for widows and families who have tragically lost military service members. She played a critical role in promoting the Chris Kyle Law – a legislature in Texas that aims to alleviate employment obstacles for active-duty military personnel and their spouses.

In continued pursuit of this cause, Taya founded the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation in 2014, which seeks to create enriching experiences for veterans and their families. She took to pen and paper and released her own autobiographical account, “American Wife: A Memoir Of Love, Service, Faith, And Renewal” in 2015, where she shares her journey as a military spouse and coping with her husband’s tragic demise.

Beyond her written work, Taya has appeared on television in various roles, ranging from judging Miss America pageants in the past to being a regular Fox News contributor. She resides in Texas, continuing her advocacy work for military families. 

It is understood that Taya Kyle is not currently in a relationship and has not been publicly linked with anyone since her husband’s passing. Back in 2015, in an interview with People, she expressed her fear of starting a new romance, viewing it as a potential act of betrayal to Chris. As a mother of two, Taya focuses on balancing her bustling career while raising her two children.
 

The Family of The American Sniper 

During the course of their marriage, Taya and Chris were blessed with two children – a son, Colton, and a daughter, McKenna, who were born approximately 18 months apart. Chris affectionately referred to Colton as “Bubba,” while Mckenna earned the sweet moniker of “Angel.” 

Precious photos of their childhood feature the adorable youngsters as infants imprinting their tiny feet in the Texan earth for molds and animal life under the watchful eyes of their proud fathers. However, information about Chris and Taya’s two children remains limited and under wraps.
 

Chris Kyle: The Man Behind The Sniper

Chris Kyle is best remembered as the American Sniper, the title of his memoir that later became an Academy Award-nominated movie. With an astonishing 160 confirmed kills (though, as the Pentagon notes, the real number may be as high as 255), Chris Kyle was indeed a force to be reckoned with.

His highly proficient skills led to him being called the “Devil of Ramadi” by Iraqi insurgents. 
 

Chris Kyle’s Murder in 2013

Chris Kyle tragically lost his life on February 2, 2013. He was shot and killed at a shooting range in Texas by a fellow military veteran, Eddie Ray Routh.

Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield had taken Routh to the shooting range as a part of a therapy outing for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Routh, who was suffering from PTSD and other mental health issues, turned the gun on Kyle and Littlefield, killing both. Routh was later found guilty of their murders and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Chris Kyle’s loss was deeply mourned across the United States, especially within the military and veterans communities.
 

The American Sniper Story: A Mixture of Fact and Fiction 

The American Sniper film and book story is largely true, but it’s not the complete picture. Some elements were dramatized or omitted for cinematic reasons.

For example, the film does not delve into Chris and Taya Kyle’s struggles in their marriage during his deployments. It’s essential to note that the story we see on the screen, while largely accurate, is just a slice of the reality that was Chris Kyle’s life.

Taya Kyle and her husband are an embodiment of courage and resilience. She navigated immense struggles, not only as a military spouse but also in her husband’s absence.

For those interested in delving deeper into the story of Chris Kyle and other combat veterans, the book Modern Warriors on Blinkist offers an enlightening read. You can enjoy this insightful book with a free 7-day trial on Blinkist.

Remember, the warrior spirit isn’t just on the battlefield – it exists in every moment of life. So, seize the free trial opportunity and immerse yourself in their inspiring stories.

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