Male professional athletes, especially ones with name recognition and millions of dollars, rarely have trouble finding a beautiful partner. At the height of their careers, women might throw themselves at these athletes and, depending on the status and bank account of that athlete, that doesn't change in retirement. You likely wouldn't bat an eye if we told you Wayne Gretzky divorced Janet for a stunning 25-year-old blonde, despite the fact Wayne would be 26 years her senior. Nor would you be shocked to learn that Joe Namath is chasing after a 30-year-old - he did, after all, profess he wanted to kiss ESPN's Suzy Kolber in an unflattering moment on air in 2003. Hell, if James Woods can date a 20-year-old (he did and it's gross), then the athlete relationships below should be fairly acceptable.
It's just a fact. People get older but their idea of what's beautiful/hot doesn't. You might be 60-years-old, but you don't suddenly find 60-year-olds the most attractive. No, you still sneak glances at 20-year-olds in the supermarket while you're wife is striking up a conversation with her friend Gladys. These athletes below managed to date much younger, but for the purposes of the headline let's imagine that 12 years is a big enough age difference for someone to be thought of as a father - I mean, have you seen Maury?
15 Jeff Garcia - Carmella DeCesare
This is one of the smallest age differences on this list and we certainly can't fault Jeff Garcia for marrying a 25-year-old when he was 37-years-old himself. The former Canadian Football League (CFL) quarterback finally broke into the National Football League as a member of the San Francisco 49ers in 1999 and went on to have a very productive ten-year career, despite getting a late start. He might never be remembered for his talent on the field, but he was certainly blessed with charisma and personality off the field.
14 Derek Jeter - Hannah Jeter
Derek Jeter could do no wrong. The New York Yankees legend and future Hall of Famer has an extensive dating history that rivals Alex Rodriguez and has been rumored to send his dates packing with a gift basket, which, if true, might be the most gangster thing anyone has ever done. He has since denied the rumor, but most accept it as true anyway. And it hasn't even slightly tarnished his reputation.
13 Steve Phillips - Brooke Hundley
Steve Phillips isn't exactly the first person that comes to mind when we think of famous athletes. The former ESPN baseball analyst and New York Mets manager didn't even play in the big leagues - he played a few years in the minors - but he does fit perfectly on this list.
12 Mike Modano - Allison Micheletti
Mike Modano is a 47-year-old American hockey legend who was super cool on the ice with the jersey - and hair - flowing behind him, and he's just as cool in retirement, at least, judging by his current and ex-wife. Modano played two decades between the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars; toward the end of his time in Dallas, he met and eventually married pop singer Willa Ford, 11 years his junior. If you thought divorcing a hot, younger blonde beauty would have been devastating for Modano, you thought wrong.
11 Tiki Barber - Traci Lynn Johnson
Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber was married to Ginny Cha for 13 years, but he was going behind her back to spend time with - among other things - Traci Lynn Johnson for a few years prior to their divorce in 2012. Barber, a second round pick by the Giants in 1997, married Cha following the 1999 season. He played in the league until 2006 and the couple appeared to enjoy six more years of a happy marriage, but it was anything but.
10 Dwight Howard - Debbie (Teenager)
Most of the athletes on this list are retired or near retirement, which isn't shocking given we're discussing large age gap relationships. It would be real creepy if a 30-year-old professional athlete was dating a 17-year-old wouldn't it? There isn't many instances of that happening, but a couple years ago Dwight Howard found himself at the center of a real controversy.
9 Mark McGwire - Stephanie Slemer
A 12-time MLB All-Star, Mark McGwire, also known as "Big Mac," hit a league-leading 70 home runs in 1998 and was at the front of the MLB's steroid controversy during that era. Early in his career, McGwire was married to Kathlene Hughes, but the couple divorced in 1990. Upon retiring, McGwire, who was 39-years-old at the time, married recent 24-year-old college graduate Stephanie Slemer.
8 Wladimir Klitschko - Hayden Panettiere
A former WBO and IBF Heavyweight Champion, Wladimir Klitschko won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta when his wife, actress Hayden Panettiere was just six years old. He's only a little over 14 years older than Panettiere, so it's not that drastic of an age gap, but it's perplexing nonetheless. The Ukranian boxer is a 6-foot-6 monster in the ring, and while he's not a monster outside of it, he's also no James Bond either. His wife, meanwhile, is a diminutive blonde beauty who starred as cheerleader Claire Bennett in Heroes.
7 Michael Jordan - Yvette Prieto
When the first marriage fails, it's almost a certainty that any professional athlete seeks a young wife. It's easy when you've got the money and celebrity status. It's even easier when you're the greatest athlete to ever play a sport. Michael Jordan married Juanita Vanoy in 1989 after five years in the NBA and the couple managed to maintain a marriage until 2006, despite MJ's plethora of rumored issues.
6 Gary Lineker - Danielle Bux
English soccer (sorry, football) broadcaster Gary Lineker is a prolific player who holds in the country's record for most goals in a FIFA World Cup finals with ten. The former Leicester City veteran married Michelle Cockayne in 1986, while playing with Everton. The couple maintained their marriage until 2006, which is fairly successful in today's world. Lineker didn't stay single long as he began dating Danielle Bux shortly after and the couple married in 2009.
5 Jaromir Jagr - Veronica Koprivova
Jaromir Jagr is not only the NHL's ageless wonder, he was also, for a long time, one of the league's most eligible bachelors. The 45-year-old is currently dating 26-year-old Czech model Veronica Koprivova and has dated numerous younger women in the past. In fact, prior to Veronica he dated someone just two years older than her, Inna Puhajkova, a Russian beauty and former Miss Russia contestant.
4 Tiger Woods - Laci Kay Somers
Where do we start? The most famous golfer on the planet was married to Elin Nordegren and seemed to be living a normal happy life, but that facade came to an abrupt end in 2010 when, well, we all know what happened - Tiger Woods slept with nearly every woman he came into contact with. He was in his 30s at the time and there was many women with whom he had intercourse that were reportedly in their early 20s - and that's just the women we know.
3 Rick Fox - AnnaLynne McCord
Former Canadian small forward Rick Fox was never a dominant player on the court - he does have three rings, however - but he has had tremendous success off the court. The University of North Carolina alumnus married actress and singer Vanessa Williams in 1999 while playing with the Los Angeles Lakers. The couple stayed together until 2005, which is about six years longer than the average basketball-Hollywood relationship - we're looking at you Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian.
2 Steve Nash - Lilla Frederick
Steve Nash followed the same path as MJ. The now-43-year-old Canadian was single for much of his career, but married Alejandra Amarilla in 2005. The couple had twin girls and a son in their six years of marriage before divorcing in 2011, before Nash joined the Lakers for the final two years of his career.
1 Pete Rose - Kiana Kim
You could argue we put Pete Rose at number one because of his status as an all-time great, but then why would we have him ahead of someone like Michael Jordan? Sure, he was a hitting machine in the MLB, but that ain't why he's here. The simple reason is that nobody on this list comes close to Pete Rose in regard to age difference within a relationship.
The former Cincinnati Red engaged to Playboy model Kiana Kim in 2009 when he was 68-years-old. Kim, at the time, was just 29-years-old, and was either a huge baseball fan growing in South Korea or hoping Rose would help her achieve considerable fame, which he did. The couple had a reality show on TLC (who hasn't?) in 2013 titled Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs. We missed the show, but can only assume it ended the way Rose's MLB career did - in complete disaster.
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