Shaquille O’Neal Opens Up About Friendship With Kobe Bryant
Shaquille O’Neal is opening up about the reason behind his split from Shaunie O’Neal.
While chatting on The Pivot Podcast on April 19, the NBA All-Star, 50, shared his remorse over being “bad” during his marriage to the Basketball Wives star, 47, which ended in 2011.
“I’m glad you guys asked because I don’t mind talking about this, but I was bad,” Shaq said. “She was awesome. She really was. It was all me.”
Although the former basketball star didn’t dig too deep into the details behind their divorce, Shaq did share that he “wasn’t protecting her and wasn’t protecting those vows” throughout their marriage of nine years.
“Sometimes when you live that double life, you get caught up,” he explained. “I’m not going to say it was her. She did exactly what she was supposed to do and gave me beautiful kids, take care of the house, take care of the corporate stuff. It was just all me.”
He added, “Sometimes, when you make a lot of mistakes like that, you can’t really come back from that.”
The pair, who tied the knot in 2002, have five children together: Myles, 24, Shareef, 22, Amirah, 20, Shaqir, 19, and Me’arah,15 Shaquille also has a daughter, Taahirah, 25, with his ex Arnetta Yardbourgh.
Now, in hindsight, the Hall of Fame athlete attributes his behavior to “being greedy” during his relationship with Shaunie. “I had the perfect situation,” he said. “I had it all. And I don’t make excuses; I know I messed up.”
For a period of time following his divorce, Shaq recalled feeling “lost” and shared how his family inspired him to get back in the game.
“I said to myself, ‘OK, you’re not married, but you still have to protect and provide for this family,'” he said. “I may not be a husband, but I’ll always be a father, and a father’s job is to protect, provide and love.”
That includes protecting and providing for the women in his life, too.
“I have two wonderful women that have given me beautiful, gorgeous children that I have to protect and I have provide and I have to love forever,” he said. “That’s why I work so hard. I don’t work for me; I’ve got it all. I gotta work for them; I’ve gotta work for my six babies.”
Since their split, Shaq revealed that he and Shaunie have rekindled their friendship and he has become one of her biggest supporters.
“She’s happy now. She’s about to marry a fine young gentleman and I’m happy for her,” he shared, referencing Shaunie’s 2021 engagement to pastor Keion Henderson. “We have a great relationship. But, as I get older, and dwell on situations I can honestly say it was all me.”
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