On Friday, Nov. 6, Shayanna Jenkins celebrated an important day in her life. She wished a happy birthday to her daughter, Avielle, as well as her late fiance, Aaron Hernandez. She posted a message about the former NFL player and said that he is guiding their only child.
"Happy Birthday to my sweet bundle of joy," Jenkins wrote in her Instagram post. "My sassy firecracker with such a sensitive soul , you are braver than you believe , stronger than you think and more loved than you'll ever know ! I know you cherish this day because it's one you share with your daddy. Daddy is looking down on you and will continue to guide you forever ! May you smile big today and always ! I love you ... [Avielle turns 8] [daddys girl] [AH forever HBD]."
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Nov. 6 marked Avielle's 8th birthday. It would have also been Hernandez's 31st birthday. The former New England Patriots player died by suicide in April 2017 while serving life in prison for the murder of Odin Lloyd, a minor league football player. The then-27-year-old was found hanging in his prison cell and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
This post was not the first time Jenkins paid tribute to her late fiance and their daughter with a birthday post. She had a similar message in 2017, the first birthday since Hernandez's death. Jenkins commemorated the day with a message about discovering she was pregnant.
"Today is such a special day !!! The two most important individuals in my life are lucky enough to share the same Birthday," Jenkins wrote in 2017. "I remember finding out I was pregnant and crying because I wasn't where I wanted to be in life BUT Aaron was so happy and reassured me that I would / we would be the best parents Avielle could ever ask for - and little did I know he was telling the truth."
Prior to Netflix's documentary about Hernandez, Jenkins faced questions about her fiance's alleged sexuality and whether he and his former cellmate were lovers. She said that "you can't describe someone's sexuality without them being here" and that she can't say what Hernandez was feeling inside despite having a child with him. Jenkins also said that she wished he had told her about any of these "urges" so she could let him know that he shouldn't feel shameful.