Shaquille O’Neal still refers to his ex-partner Shaunie as ‘his wife’, despite her being married to another man

Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal is very often known for his candid takes and opinions which can be outrageous to the NBA community. As the star’s global presence continues to grow, his fans are keen to learn more about his personal life.

Recently, Shaq opened up about his past relationship, providing insight into the Lakers’ legend’s previous marriage.

Shaq once mentioned he still considers Shaunie his ‘wife’

It is rare to see certain players open up about their lives and Shaquille O’Neal can be considered as one of them. With his very charismatic and chaotic behavior, one would not expect Shaq to talk about deep or heart-touching topics.

However, on many occasions, the basketball legend opened up about his previous marriage with Shaunie O’Neal, who now goes by Shaunie Henderson. Shaquille O’Neal and Shaunie tied the knot in 2002, in Shaq’s early days with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The couple went on to live a happy life. Shaunie is the mother of Shaq’s four lovely kids. However, just like Kobe’s and Shaq’s split, the couple had their own issues which eventually reached the point of no return following which the two individuals called it quits in 2011.

Shaquille O"Neal
Shaquille O’Neal and his wife Shaunie via Getty Images

Speaking on their divorce, Shaquille O’Neal admitted his wrongdoing and stated that their relationship’s failure was his fault. Shaq said, “At one time my ex-wife Shaunie and I were happy, but I admit it — I was a guy. I was a guy with too many options. Choosing to be with some of those women, well, that’s on me. In my mind, I never did it disrespectfully, but obviously I shouldn’t have done it all.”

Shaq added on saying that he was learning from his past experiences. He said, “You know as well as I do relationships are about maintaining … It wasn’t the big stuff, it was the small stuff, and that’s my fault. I had things to do. I was trying to win, trying to make some money. I admit I wasn’t the best partner. I just didn’t know how. I’m learning now.”

Shaq and Shaunie got divorced in 2011 via Getty Images

Recently, Shaquille O’Neal referred to Shaunie as his wife and offered a mature and insightful explanation for why he still uses that term. Shaq stated, “And I’m going to still love her and she’s still my wife. I will always protect, provide, and love for her, married or not.”

Later, Shaq admitted his fault for their separation, acknowledging, “I was bad. She was awesome. She really was. It was all me … I wasn’t protecting her and protecting those vows.”

Who is Shaunie O’Neal married to now?

Shaunie O’Neal moved on with her life, establishing herself as a strong, independent woman in the entertainment business after her divorce from Shaq. Despite maintaining an amicable relationship with Shaq, they did not reconcile. Nearly a decade after her divorce, Shaunie got engaged to Pastor Keion Henderson after two years of dating.

Shaquille O"Neal
The O’Neals via Getty Images

Shaq did not hold any grudges against this relationship and instead was very chivalrous in his response to the pair getting engaged. He said, “She’s happy now. She’s about to marry a fine, young gentleman and I’m happy for her.”

In 2022, Shaunie officially tied the knot with her boyfriend Keion Henderson in a private ceremony with about 200 guests in attendance.

What are your thoughts on Shaq’s personal history? Feel free to raise your opinions in the comments below.

Caleb Mathew

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Feel free to reach out to me at @calebmathewww on Instagram.


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