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Who is Jamal Murray’s girlfriend?

She's so much more than an Instagram scandal.

Jamal Murray
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Gabriel García Márquez once said that “All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.” This statement is very true, but those three lives can get blurry in a modern age in which social media, overeager fans, and hackers run rampant.

NBA player Jamal Murray and his girlfriend Harper Hempel found this out the hard way. It’s difficult to balance one’s public and private lives, and it’s violating when someone decides to share something publicly that was not meant to be seen. Before we get to what happened to Murray and Hempel, let’s explore the events leading up to it, starting with Murray’s impressive career.

Jamal Murray’s early life, college, and NBA highlights

Murray was born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. His first love was basketball, and when he was just six years old, he was already competing in basketball leagues against 10-year-olds. His dad was a big part of his basketball education, teaching him kung fu and meditation and even becoming his assistant coach at Orangeville Prep. In 2015, Murray announced that he would play college basketball at the University of Kentucky for Coach John Calipari.

Although Murray’s college basketball career was short, he was a remarkable player, averaging 20 points per game and going on to make the All-SEC First Team and the SEC All-Freshman Team. The Associated Press named him a third-team All-American and in 2016, Murray was chosen by the Denver Nuggets as the seventh overall pick in the NBA Draft.

As the Nuggets’ point guard, he would continue his high-scoring average. Early on in a game against the Portland Trail Blazers, he scored a then-record 19 points. After his rookie season, he was named NBA All-Rookie Second Team. Murray caught the attention of the world when the NBA was in its bubble during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time since 2009, with Murray’s help, the Nuggets advanced to the Western Conference Finals. This time, Murray scored 40 points. The team eventually lost to the Lakers, and unfortunately, a torn ACL at the end of the 2020-2021 season would take Murray out of the 2021-2022 season.

Murray meets Hempel

Murray met his girlfriend Harper Hempel while they were both student athletes at the University of Kentucky. Harper joined the volleyball team her sophomore year as a defensive specialist/setter. She was born and raised in Union, Kentucky and attended Larry A. Ryle High School. Her father, Rich Hempel, is the CEO and one of the founders of eCoachSports, an elite coach training program with alumni that include Rick Carlisle and Brad Stevens. After high school, she attended the Gatton School of Business at the University of Kentucky where she majored in Marketing and Digital Media and ultimately met Murray.

Post-college, Hempel started working in photography and social media and currently has her own small photography business, Harper Hempel Photography. She also works as a Social Media Community Manager at Fact & Fiction and as a Social Media Marketing Manager at All Social Jessie.

The Instagram scandal

On March 22, Murray’s personal Instagram account was hacked. The hacker posted a video in which Hempel appeared to be performing oral sex on Murray. By the time Murray realized what had happened, a countless number of fans and followers had seen the video. Some even downloaded and screenshot it. Both Murray and Hempel deleted their Instagram accounts and took to Twitter to apologize and ask fans to delete the video. “First and foremost,” Murray stated, “I would like to apologize to my fans. My account has been hacked, currently working on the issue. Thanks.” Hempel added, “If you have the video please delete it.”

This was a horrible incident for both Hempel and Murray to go through, and since the leak, the couple has become much more private. So far, they’ve refrained from sharing information about their relationship on their new Instagram accounts and will likely think twice before downloading any potentially destructive content to their devices.

As numerous other celerities have learned from similar instances, some things are better left unseen.

Shannon Cudd
About the author

Shannon Cudd

Shannon is a passionate writer and actor from sunny Southern California with a degree in Theater from Chapman University who believes in the power of storytelling to make this world a better place. Beyond being a freelance writer for WGTC her byline has appeared in the OC Register, KnockLA, LittleThings, Inside Hook, and more. Her love of all things nerdy is fueled by decaf Earl Gray Tea. Follow her on social media @MsShannonCudd or check out her website at www.ShannonCudd.com