Muhammad Ali Said “You’re Almost As Pretty As Me” To A Woman That Became His Secretary For A Day – But You Won’t Believe What Happened Next With Her Future Husband

You don’t hear stories every day of world-class athletes and figures that everyone knows about. When you do hear these stories, they spread like wildfire and everyone knows them! Some of these untold stories stay hidden because they don’t necessarily involve the athlete or celebrity but the people that encounter them.

Today’s story is one such story. It was 1964 and a woman by the name of Patricia Driver Terrell was in for a surprise. Her teacher told her that Muhammad Ali would be visiting the school that day. The school and Patricia were in for a treat, and possibly even more than they bargained for! What came next sounds like something that was written in nothing short of a Hollywood script, only, this is real life.

Patricia Terrell in the background (circled) before meeting Muhammad Ali

On the day that Muhammad Ali visited with his entourage there were some unexpected events that occurred. Patricia was in her home economics class at Tennessee State University when her teacher announced that that Muhammad Ali was on campus. Her teacher released the class early in order to meet the boxing star.

Muhammad Ali had recently changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali because he had become a Muslim and he had also refused to serve in Vietnam. His boxing title would be stripped from him the following year, he was doing college tours to redeem his name and present himself to the world with a new name, Muhammad, no longer Cassius.

Patricia was excited to meet Muhammad Ali, as he was one of the biggest icons in the world at this point in time. Larger than life as not only an athlete, but an unforgettable personality.

Patricia’s teacher not only released the class early but told them where Muhammad Ali would be. He would be just the outside the library, in just a few minutes. Her class and her were anxiously awaiting the mega-star!

As Ali walked up with his entourage students held their books out for him to autograph them. Patricia was one of the first to have her book autographed by Ali.

Suddenly, in surprising fashion Muhammad Ali looked at Patricia and said

“You almost as pretty as me”

Patricia felt a bit anxious, nervous and had a huge grin on her face. Next, Muhammad said to her…

Would you be my secretary?

Patricia was excited at the opportunity. She said “Sure!”

Patricia helped Muhammad Ali sign all the books coming his way from students that were now flocking the courtyard. She held the books and gave them to Ali one at a time so he could autograph them and return them to students. Of course, Patricia got Muhammad Ali’s autograph as well.

Patricia (Pat) Terrell pictured center getting her school book autographed by Muhammad Ali!

About five minutes later Patricia’s boyfriend, Grady Terrell walked up and said..

Did you get his autograph?

Patricia answered “Yes!” He then asked ‘Are you ready to go to lunch?’ to which Patricia replied ‘no’ as she shook her head to really mean it.

Grady said ‘Well, I’m gone’ and headed off to lunch.

You might think that’s the end of the story, but it’s only just the beginning. 

What happened next would surprise Patricia even further. Muhammad Ali had finished signing autographs and talking to coach Temple. When he was done he turned to Patricia and said…

Ready to go to lunch?

Patricia snickered as she figured Ali heard her boyfriend ask the same thing and her response to be ‘not yet’ but this time, she was ready for lunch.

Muhammad Ali’s entourage followed Ali and Patricia to the lunchroom. When they arrived Patricia didn’t remember waiting in line and it appears that Muhammad just floated in and the line parted like the red sea. He also had a table set for him.

As Patricia and Ali sat down to eat they had a bit of small talk, most of which Patricia didn’t remember the details as she was a bit starstruck.

While Patricia was sitting down with Ali she saw her brother Gaston Driver coming through the line toward her and Ali. She told Ali “I want you to meet my brother” and she stood up along with Muhammad Ali. As her brother approached Patricia said

“Gaston, meet Muhammad Ali”

Her brother had the best response, one that took the ‘float like a butterfly and sting like a bee’ right out of of Ali’s wings!

Gaston Said… “Never Heard Of You” and immediately kept walking past Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad, shocked and amazed that his sheer presence didn’t stop this man in his tracks said…

is he for real?

Ali had a look on his face of disbelief and confusion but realized Gaston was joking after Patricia responded..

“He’s just playing with you, he knows you.”

Ali and Patricia sat back down and continued their lunch. Patricia thought to herself “I wonder what my boyfriend is thinking or doing right now or if he’s here!”

She then proceeded to look back to where her boyfriend Grady and her would always sit and saw him sitting there with his arms folded and looking mad at her and Ali sitting together having lunch.

After lunch Ali and his entourage went their way and Patricia went her way.

The next day there were rumors at the Tennessee State University (TSU) that Muhammad Ali had spent the night with Patricia. Not knowing where these rumors came from at first it upset her and caused her to want to find out who was spreading these lies.

Patricia kept asking people where they heard this from and she traced it back to “little tommy” (we’ll call him for privacy purposes) and finally found him coming across the street.

She walked up to him in the middle of the street and grabbed his collar on his shirt and held it up and said to him..

“The rumors you’re telling people aren’t true, so stop spreading them!”

He got skittish, and said he was sorry and said he would stop spreading the rumors.

Patricia will forever remember the day that she was Muhammad Ali’s secretary, and the unexpected lunch date that came with it.

Grady and Patricia stayed together and he wasn’t bothered by the event. Grady thought of it as cool as his girlfriend got to spend time with Muhammad Ali at lunch.

Grady Terrell and later ended up marrying Patricia Terrell and having four children together and lived in St. Petersburg, Florida raising their children. Two of their children were born in Tennessee and the other two born in Florida. She is now a grandmother to 17 beautiful grandchildren that live in Tennessee, Illinois, North Carolina and Florida.

Patricia has many more stories to share with other well known figures and celebrities as she got to rub shoulders with many of them. Her husband became a super connector and got a chance to connect with many sports celebrities and notable entrepreneurs in society.

Patricia is passionate about healthy and organic living and is actively involved in her church, community and actively runs an interior design business. She helps her clients make their homes healthy, happy and integrated with their lifestyle needs. She has even done work with Oprah Winfrey’s father and one of the people that worked for Oprah said he had visited all of her homes and said that what she had decorated he said was his favorite.

Patricia Terrell, pictured April 21, 2023 holding an autographed photo of Muhammad Ali along with a picture of her husband Grady Terrell who had gotten the chance to meet and spend time with Muhammad Ali many years later.

Patricia’s Husband Grady Terrell (pictured left) got a chance to meet Muhammad Ali many years later.

How Grady Terrell Met Muhammad Ali Many Years Later

The Evander Holyfield fight was taking place and Grady got the chance to meet Muhammad Ali after the fight. Patricia shares, her husband Grady could get to anyone and had the skill to do so! Grady and Muhammad talked, got the chance to sit down, visit and connect. The story came full circle! Patricia had lunch with Ali many years ago and now Grady (her husband) had the chance to sit down with Ali and build rapport. She had a chance, then he had a chance!

During Grady’s meeting with Muhammad Ali he had a photo autographed by Ali. He later added to Pat (his wife), Kim (his daughter), Grady (his son) and Patrick (his son) but his last son John wasn’t born yet, but he’s still in the memory in spirit! Patricia’s son Patrick Terrell later played for Notre Dame football and and won the 1988 championship and later went on to play in the NFL as well. The Terrell family is no stranger to being around champions!

If you live in the Saint Petersburg, Florida or a surrounding area and are looking for an incredible interior designer you can email her at

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