Taya Renae Kyle (born September 4, 1974) is an American author and military veteran’s family activist. Known as the widow of US Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, she was portrayed by Sienna Miller in the 2014 film American Sniper about her husband’s life. Kyle is the co-author of American Wife: A Memoir of Love, Service, Faith, and Renewal, a book about life with her husband.
Born Taya Renae Studebaker in Portland, Oregon, Taya is the daughter of Kim and Kent Studebaker. Her father is currently the mayor of Lake Oswego, Oregon. She has a sister named Ashley (Studebaker) Brittell.
Studebaker met Chris Kyle in 2001 and they married in 2002, later having two children. As a Navy SEAL, her husband is known as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history.
In 2012, her husband’s autobiography, American Sniper, was published. When he was shot and killed at a shooting range in Texas in February 2013, Kyle became a widow at age 38.
Following the death of her husband, Kyle has given speeches and talks on his service and in regard to veteran’s issues at numerous venues as well as appearing on news networks such as CNN. Kyle is an advocate for women and families who have lost family members while serving in war. In August 2013 the state of Texas enacted the Chris Kyle Law (SB162), which was created to “expand the effort to help ease employment challenges for active duty military members and their spouses”. At the ceremony, Kyle stated, “I hope that by incorporating these changes into current Texas law we can honor the legacy of Chris Kyle and the many like him.”
In 2014, Kyle founded the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation as a touchstone for veterans and their families. The foundation’s mission is to “serve those who serve us by providing meaningful interactive experiences that enrich family relationships”.
In May 2013, former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura brought suit against Kyle for $1.8 million. The lawsuit was continuation of an original lawsuit filed in 2012 against Kyle’s husband over a statement made in the book American Sniper. In the book’s chapter titled “Punching Out Scruff Face”, Chris Kyle stated he had punched a celebrity he called “Scruff Face” for saying the SEALs “could afford to lose a couple” in war. Ventura won the lawsuit as the result of an 8 to 2 jury decision.
Clint Eastwood directed the feature film American Sniper in 2014, based on the life of Kyle and her husband. Kyle was involved in the making of the film, working with the film’s screenwriter Jason Hall and was portrayed by Sienna Miller. The film was released nationwide in January 2015 by Warner Brothers and nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay. It won the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing.
On May 5, 2015, Kyle’s autobiography, American Wife: A Memoir of Love, Service, Faith, and Renewal, was released by Harper Collins publishing. Co-written with military and war author Jim DeFelice, the book details her life as a military wife and how she dealt with the sudden and untimely death of her husband.
In September 2015 she was a judge for the Miss America pageant.