If fighting with his four other brothers was any telltale sign, Rob Gronkowski was destined for sports at an early age. Born in the upstate suburb of West Seneca, New York, Gronk was the second youngest son to his parents, Diane and Gordon. In a house filled with testosterone, settling conflict was sometimes as simple as which brother was the last standing in a pillow fight. 

“It’s funny, because Rob, they just beat the hell out of that kid because he was such a wise guy all the time,” Gordon told the Tampa Bay Times. “They would nail him, doing those Charlie horses and things but when they were through, he would go right back after them. It was non-stop. He had no fears. The kid had no fears growing up. I still think he’s like that.”

But raising four growing boys was no easy feat for Rob’s parents, who did their best to give the lot a well-rounded childhood. To make it happen, it meant Diane stayed at home full-time to help raise Rob and his oldest brother, Gordie Jr., followed by Dan, Chris, and the youngest brother, Glenn. Rob’s father transitioned from working as a salesman for Pennzoil to owning his own fitness business, which meant years of overtime. “I worked two jobs for six years straight until I got my business up and running,” he shared. “I had to. The food bill was $600 a week, roughly, give or take every week. They drank 2½ gallons of milk every day.”

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