Who is Colin Kaepernick’s biological mother, Heidi Russo?

Who is Colin Kaepernick’s biological mother, Heidi Russo?

Kevin Omuya
updated at September 16, 2023 at 9:56 AM

Colin Kaepernick's biological Mother, Heidi Russo, is a household name. Colin became famous for his athletic prowess and made headlines for instigating protests against racism by taking a knee while the national anthem played during games. When she attempted to patch things up with Colin Kaepernick after he had made a name for himself as a quarterback, she began to monopolize the spotlight.

Colin Kaepernick Biological Mother Heidi Russo
Colin Kaepernick's biological Mother, Heidi Russo. Photo: @Heidirn1 (modified by author)
Source: Twitter

The fact that Kaepernick does not want to reunite with his biological mother has caused him to dismiss her efforts. Certified nurse Heidi Russo resides in Denver, Colorado, at the moment. She is one of the founding members of the advocacy group “Linked Thru Love,” which works to dispel myths about adoption and birth mothers.

Profile summary



Full name

Heidi Russo




53 years old as of 2023

Date of birth

January 1, 1969

Place of birth

United States






1.87m (6'2")

Famous as

The biological mother of Colin Kaepernick


Licensed nurse


James and Phyllis Zabranzky

Marital status



Heath Russo



Net worth


Social media


Heidi Russo's early life

Russo was born in 1969 to Phyllis and James Zabransky in the United States. As a teenager, she was dating an African-American man who dumped her after learning she was carrying his child.

At 19 years old, on November 3, 1987, she gave birth to her son Colin. She decided against parenting her kid despite her parents' promises of support since she realised she could not provide him with the life she had envisioned. Thus, she arranged for Rick and Teresa Kaepernick to adopt their son.

Teresa Kaepernick and Heidi Russo

Teresa Kaepernick And Heidi Russo
Colin Kaepernick's adoptive parents, Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, and Colin and his girlfriend, Nessa Diab (from left to right). Photo: Michael Zagaris
Source: Getty Images

When he was only six weeks old, Teresa and Rick adopted Colin from his birth mother, Heidi Russo (Colin and his biological father do not speak).

Heidi, at the age of 19, took care of Colin for a short time while she looked for a permanent home for him. Teresa and Rick adopted Heidi in December of 1987 after being introduced to them by a mutual acquaintance.

After losing two babies to congenital heart problems, Rick and Teresa adopted Colin despite having two children. Heidi stayed in touch with Colin's foster parents until he was seven; they sent her updates and photographs of him. Colin Kaepernick's lifelong dream was to be a professional football quarterback.

After severing ties with the Kaepernick family, Russo focused on getting her life back on track until Colin turned 18. Colin had already established himself as an NFL star at that stage. Colin disregarded Heidi when she wrote him a letter claiming to be his biological mother, even though he verified the letter's authenticity.

On the other hand, Heidi was heavily criticized for reentering Colin's life after he became famous, an accusation she vehemently refuted. She continued making unsuccessful attempts to contact her long-lost son.

Colin Kaepernick's civil rights movement

Colin Kaepernick Heidi Russo Relationship,
Colin Kaepernick (7) and fellow players of the San Francisco 49ers take a knee before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi Stadium on October 2, 2016, in Santa Clara, California. Photo: Michael Zagaris
Source: Getty Images

In 2016, while under contract to the San Francisco 49ers, Colin initiated a civil rights protest by taking a knee while playing the American national anthem. A lawsuit was filed to end police violence.

To show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight against racism in sports and society, Colin became the first player to take a knee during a game. He became a cultural legend for sparking a trend quickly spreading over the globe's athletic venues and competitions.

Heidi Russo's family

Heidi and Heath Russo were married after meeting while working as nurses. They moved to Denver, Colorado, with their three kids. She has been a mum in recent years regarding her estrangement from her son.

The nurse has three wonderful boys with her husband, Heath Russo: Michael, Ethan, and Alex, nicknamed Jett. She has accounts on the popular networking platforms Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Heidi Russo's net worth

As of 2022, Heidi Russo's wealth has not been audited or updated. However, Heidi can provide for herself thanks to her nursing salary. Estimates put a nurse's annual salary in the United States at $73,550.

Aside from that, her assets and income are kept under wraps. However, her biological son's net worth is $20 million. The 32-year-old quarterback also receives an annual salary of $12.4 million.

Social media presence

Heidi Russo often tweets adorable photos of her kids and family to her massive following. She also tweets on various issues connected to racism and anti-Semitism. Moreover, 2,400 individuals are her Twitter followers.

Colin Kaepernick's mom, Heidi Russo

The previous several years of Colin Kaepernick's life have been extensively covered in the media. Since he reached the summit of professional football and participated in the Super Bowl, a lot has happened quickly. It created a problem that almost no quarterback has ever faced.

The former NFL athlete has had a somewhat unconventional beginning to his career. Colin Kaepernick's biological mother abandoned him shortly after his birth. He was relinquished for adoption. Russo attempted to make amends with her biological son later in life.

Russo, a trained nurse at the time of Colin Kaepernick's conception, abandoned his father. Kaep was just five months old when she left him. Reports indicate that Russo's family volunteered to assist with his upbringing. Instead of accepting assistance, she took her son to an adoption agency.

What is Colin Kaepernick doing now?

What is Colin Kaepernick doing now?
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers in action against the New York Jets at Levi's Stadium on December 11, 2016, in Santa Clara, California. Photo: Al Pereira
Source: UGC

The former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers is now a father, an active participant in the media, the owner of a publishing firm, and the founder of a charity called "The Colin Kaepernick Foundation," which works to improve the lives of Black and Brown youngsters.

Colin Kaepernick’s biological mother, Heidi Russo, shares her beliefs and contributes to several organizations online. Like her son, she has been quietly advocating for the rights of African-American victims of crime or prejudice by posting numerous advocacies.

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Kevin Omuya photo
Kevin Omuya
Kevin Omuya is a Content Writer with 4 years of experience who joined Sports Brief in 2022. In 2019 he held a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism & Digital Media from KCA University.