Shaq's ex-wife points to why marriage fell apart in new book

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Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal has been open and honest about his failed marriage with Shaunie Nelson, now Henderson, in recent years.

In her book, “Undefeated: Changing the Rules and Winning on My Own Terms,” she shared her side of the story on why her marriage to the Los Angeles Lakers legend fell apart.


Shaq and Shaunie in 2008

NBA player Shaquille O’Neal and then-wife Shaunie O’Neal at Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night XIV at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa on April 5, 2008 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Michael Caulfield/WireImage)

I enjoyed those sweet early years being a mother and raising my children; my days were always busy with kids and family, and every now and then I got to travel or enjoy a little of the NBA high life. But invisibly, my marriage was beginning to crumble,” she wrote, via the New York Post.

“As I’ve written, it wasn’t obvious early on. You know how when you first get sick, and the symptoms are so mild that you’re not even sure you are sick? That’s how things were in the early years. I was busy and happy and didn’t notice what was going on. But as the disease progressed, the symptoms became harder and harder to ignore.”

She pointed to O’Neal “going missing” at times during their marriage.

“Our chef did all the grocery shopping. His managers paid all the bills. I took care of the kids. So where was he going in the morning, during the day, and at night? No one works out that often,” she wrote.

Shaunie Henderson in 2019

Shaunie O’Neal attends the grand opening of Shaquille’s At L.A. Live at LA Live on March 9, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)


“When we moved to Miami, I even heard a rumor that he had a condo in Miami Beach. I started to get suspicious, but he always had an answer, and I could never prove anything. Eventually, I was forced to admit that my family life wasn’t as blissful or perfect as I wanted to believe.”

The two officially divorced in 2011.

Last year, O’Neal opened up about how he “messed it up” with Henderson and Arnetta Yardbourgh.

“I had two perfect women and I messed it up,” O’Neal said. “My first one was my baby mother, Arnetta, and then I met Shaunie. Shaunie was also a perfect woman, and I messed it up.

“Yeah, you know, we were young and always just doing dumb stuff. But, the good thing about our relationship is that they forgave me, and we have a good relationship now. But when you ask me about the perfect woman — I had two perfect women and I messed it up, just by, you know, being dumb.”

In 2022, he called himself a “d—head” while being married to Henderson.

Shaq hosts Super Bowl party

Shaquille O’Neal attends Shaq’s Fun House Big Game Weekend at Talking Stick Resort on Feb. 10, 2023 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)


“Sometimes when you live that double life, you get caught up,” he added. “I’m not going to say it was her. It was all me.”

Fox News’ Scott Thompson contributed to this report.

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