Why did Shaquille O'Neal and ex-wife Shaunie O'Neal divorce?

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Shaquille O'Neal divorced his first wife, Shaunie (Image via Getty Images)

Shaquille O'Neal has had a very successful life. After almost two decades of dominating the NBA, Shaq retired and focused his energy on his business and broadcasting career.

Unfortunately, some things haven't been great in his life. The basketball legend married in 2002, but his marriage ended up falling apart. Despite this happening more than a decade ago, Shaq still regrets losing his wife.

This article will reveal everything you need to know about O'Neal's marriage to Shaunie. We will take a deeper look into their relationship and why their marriage resulted in a divorce.

Shaquille O'Neal married Shaunie Henderson in 2002

The Los Angeles Lakers center was at the peak of his career in 2002. After achieving a three-peat, one of the rarest feats in basketball, O'Neal decided to marry his girlfriend, Shaunie.

They met in the late 1990s, shortly after the basketball star signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. Shaunie was a film marketer, and Shaq was her first basketball boyfriend.

When they had their first child together in 2000, their relationship was off to a great start. They had another child in 2001, and a year later, they decided to marry.

Shaq married Shaunie in 2002, after having two children with her (Image via Getty Images)
Shaq married Shaunie in 2002, after having two children with her (Image via Getty Images)

The couple had two more children after their marriage. Their son Shaqir was born in 2003, while their daughter Me'arah Sanaa was born into the world in 2006.

You may be interested in reading: Is Shaquille O'Neal married? Taking a closer look at LA Lakers legend's personal life

Unfortunately, their marriage began to deteriorate when Shaquille O'Neal filed for divorce in September 2007. According to Shaq's lawyer, the marriage was "irretrievably broken," which is why the basketball player filed for divorce.

O'Neal has four children with Shaunie (Image via Getty Images)
O'Neal has four children with Shaunie (Image via Getty Images)

O'Neal called off the divorce in August 2008 as he tried to reconcile with his wife. However, this did not last long as Shaunie filed for divorce in November 2009, citing irreconcilable differences.

This time, it was all over. The divorce was finalized in March 2010, and the four-time NBA champion still regrets it. Fortunately, they are great co-parents and have done a great job raising their children.

O'Neal cheated on his wife

While irreconcilable differences could mean a number of things, the basketball legend later admitted that he cheated on his wife. This is what led to their separation and divorce, which is very unfortunate.

You may be interested in reading: When Shaquille O'Neal openly admitted to cheating on his wife: "Choosing to be with some of those women, well, that’s on me"


The basketball legend praised his ex-wife and said that she was amazing. However, he took the blame for their divorce and said that it was all on him. He also added that the two were happy until he ruined it.

Since Shaunie, Shaq has been involved with several other women, including Nicole Alexander and Laticia Rolle. He is reportedly dating actress Annie Ilonzeh in 2022.

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Edited by Krutik Jain