In today’s society so many marriages end in divorce and nobody really bats an eye about it. When it comes to the marriages of superstar athletes it is no different. Perhaps it is worse because of all the money and temptation in their day-to-day lives that they can easily squander a healthy relationship. The average adult male does not face half of the things that make it hard for athletes to remain faithful, so it is no wonder so many of their relationships fail. Athletes today have to be very careful whom they marry because they can end up losing most of their hard earned money if they choose the wrong spouse.
The athletes that show up on this list were taken to the cleaners by their ex-wives. Maybe these guys should have stayed away from getting married altogether or at least signed a prenuptial agreement before they tied the knot. It’s hard enough giving away half of everything you earned to an ex-wife, but it is even worse if you had as much money as these guys did at the time of their divorces. Practically everyone on this list was a superstar in their sport so they had all the fame and money and lost a large portion of it. ESPN had an incredible documentary about athletes going broke and how it has become an epidemic. All of the divorces athletes go through definitely factor into why they find themselves in financial sorrow.
Here are some of the biggest money divorces the sports world has ever seen where athletes almost went broke!
15. Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman burst onto the scene as the best role player on the bad boys Pistons who took home two titles in the 80’s lead by Isiah Thomas. After that Rodman helped Michael Jordan and the Bulls win 72 games and a Championship. Rodman ended up with 5 rings, two All-Star appearances, and 2 Defensive Player of the Year Awards in a 14 year NBA career. It is estimated Rodman made $27 million in his career.
Rodman has been divorced three times. His first marriage to Annie Bakes ended early in his career and he married actress Carmen Electra and that only lasted one year from 1998 to 1999. But it is because of his wife who he was married to the longest Michelle Moyer why Rodman shows up on this list. Michelle filed for divorce in 2004 however the couple did not officially split up until 2012. It then came out in court that Rodman owed over $80,000 in child support and was bankrupt.
14. Ric Flair
Ric Flair helped transform wrestling into what it is today and was the face of the WCW for many years until he switched over to the WWE late into his career. The Nature Boy was known for living the most lavish and extreme lifestyle of any wrestler in history. He put on a facade that he had the most money, women, and fame when he was on camera, but his real life wasn’t exactly what he projected on screen.
He has had four wives during his life and they all don’t want anything to do with him. His last wife Jacqueline Flair filed for divorce back in 2012 and he agreed to pay her $4,000 a month in spousal support and a one time payment of $15,ooo for legal fees. He is still working to this day, mostly because he still needs to.
13. Chad Johnson
Chad Johnson is best known for his days as one of the best receivers in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals. He was also known for his very flamboyant personality that made his touchdown celebrations a sight for everyone in the league to see. He made millions of dollars during his 11-year career and he made the Pro Bowl six times including five straight appearances from 2003-2007.
His money and reputation took a major hit in 2012 when he was arrested for domestic violence and his wife filed for divorce. His marriage to Evelyn Lozada lasted a measly 41 days and ended in 2012 along with Chad Johnson’s NFL career. Johnson was arrested on misdemeanour domestic violence charges for head-butting his now ex-wife.The day after, the Miami Dolphins cut him with good reason. This divorce also put Johnson on the brink of going broke.
12. Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson was one of the most electric players to ever play basketball in the NBA, at only 6’0 tall he could score with the best players in the league and even won a scoring title and MVP in 2001 leading his team to the NBA finals. Even before his career began Iverson was known for getting into trouble, he was arrested in high school for getting into a fight at a bowling alley and almost did not end up going to college because of it. A.I. earned over $200 million during his 15 year NBA career.
This trouble has followed Iverson post career as well, his wife Tawanna filed for divorce in 2013 leading Iverson to lose a lot of money. They eventually settled on a lump sum of $3 million and other various assets including a percentage of his future Reebok endorsement deal checks. This was a major factor in Iverson ending up broke after he lived such an expensive and lavish lifestyle now he has nothing to show for it.
11. Greg Norman
Greg Norman was one of the great golfers of his generation and won two majors during his career. He was alone at the top of the world golf rankings for a total of 331 weeks in the 1980s and 1990s. He was also inducted in to the golf hall of fame in 2001. He is perhaps the best Australian golfer ever to play on the PGA tour. Norman became a millionaire through all of his career earnings and endorsements during his golf career.
Norman has been divorced twice. He left his longtime wife for tennis star Chris Evert and then those two split shortly after that. Laura Norman (who Greg was originally married to) got a divorce settlement for $50 million, and she divorced her husband because of his desire for fame and wealth. When asked if Norman cheated on her with anyone other than Evert during their 25 year marriage the former Mrs. Norman said “no comment.”
10. Kenny Anderson
Anderson was the second overall pick in the 1991 NBA draft selected by the New Jersey Nets. By the 1994 season he was appearing in his first NBA All-Star Game for them and was one of their best players until he was traded in 1996. After that he turned into a journeyman point guard and he ended up playing for 9 teams in his 14 year career. During his career he made around 60 million dollars.
He lost most of that money because of unpaid child support payments for his seven kids. However he almost went bankrupt because of his ex-wife and former Real World: Los Angeles cast member Tami Roman. Even though they had a prenup, Akbar was able to challenge that agreement because of Anderson’s infidelity during their relationship. She was awarded a lot more than the 5.8 million dollar number they originally agreed too. She even got a vanity plate with Anderson’s money that read “HISCASH.”
9. Evander Holyfield
Evander Holyfield was one of the best boxers of his generation and was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world four times in his illustrious career. He retired from boxing officially in 2014 after nearly a thirty year career that started in 1985. He made an estimated $205 million dollars from boxing and endorsements during that time.
It is hard to imagine how Holyfield lost most of that fortune, but all of his marriages definitely factored into the equation. Holyfield was married and divorced three times. In 1991 he settled with his first wife Paulette Holyfield for $4 million, which was a large sum of money at that time. Evander bought a $14 million dollar mansion with his third wife Candi Holyfield, but the house was foreclosed on in 2010 when the couple filed for divorce. It is unclear who got what in the divorce, and by that time there was not much more money Evander had to give.
8. Terrell Owens
Terrell Owens is one of the best receivers in NFL history and belongs in the Hall of Fame. He ranks in the top five in nearly every statistical category that is significant for the receiver position. His personality was difficult to deal with in locker rooms and that lead him to bounce around towards the end of his career. T.O. had a fourteen year NFL career and made the pro bowl six times. Owens made more than $60 million in his career playing for five different teams.
A combination of bad investments, divorce, and child support payments lead Owens to being almost flat broke. He has four children with four different women and has over $44,000 in child support payments per month because of it. In 2011, Owens told a judge in a Family Court dispute that he was broke because he was paying $125,000 a month in mortgage and child support payments.
7. Terry Bollea (Hulk Hogan)
When fans think of the golden years of wrestling they immediately think of Hulk Hogan. He brought a certain flare and a physique that was unmatched by anyone that ever stepped in the wrestling ring. Hollywood Hogan carried the WWE for years and most of the legendary matches of all time included him.
In 2009 Hogan’s wife Linda Bollea filed for divorce. Their settlement remained confidential at first but it was reportedly worth up to $30 million plus some other assets. She got 70 percent of the couple’s liquid assets, 40 percent ownership in their various companies and $7.44 million of the couple’s $10.41 million held in bank and investment accounts, but Hulk will not pay her alimony. Linda apparently will never forgive Hogan. She said in an interview: “You took me for granted and never appreciated me or our beautiful family… blaming me for your horrendous mistakes.”
6. Shaquille O’Neal
Everyone who is a basketball fan definitely is familiar with Shaquille O’Neal. The big Diesel was one of the greatest players of all-time and he might even be the best centre to ever grace the court. He won four NBA titles 3 with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat. It is estimated that Shaq earned 300 million in salary and endorsements in his career.
His ex-wife Shaunie O’Neal is sitting pretty off of the money he earned on the hardwood. Shaq reportedly has to pay her $20,000 a month in alimony. She ultimately filed for divorce because of infidelity in the marriage and that is no surprise because O’Neal has been a ladies man his entire career. A detailed account of their entire settlement was not disclosed to the public, but Shaq lost some sponsorships and his reputation took a hit. He has since actually become much smarter with his money.
5. Sugar Ray Leonard
Sugar Ray Leonard is one of the greatest boxers of all-time, he even won titles in five different weight classes which is astounding. He was a member of the fabulous four boxers that included Roberto Durån, Thomas Hearns, and Marvin Hagler who were all famous and fought each other throughout the 1980’s. Sugar Ray may have been the best of that era which is why he made so much money in purses and endorsements during that time period.
In 1990 his former high school sweet heart Juanita Leonard filed for divorce citing both physical and substance abuse from her husband. Their settlement never came out publicly but there were rumours that she was asking for up to $50,000 a month in alimony. This divorce never really pushed Leonard to become broke in 2012 his net worth was estimated at an impressive $120 million, but she definitely took a good chunk of his change.
4. Nick Faldo
Nick Faldo had a fairly dominant career as a professional golfer and he made his mark when he won his first British Open Championship in 1987. During his career he won an impressive 6 major titles and was the world number one golfer for a total of 97 weeks on tour. Faldo is now known for being an on air golf analyst.
Faldo has been married three times, but his most notable divorce came in 1995 when he and his wife Gill separated. Faldo offered her a one time payment of 4 million pounds and the couple’s 3 million dollar mansion near the Wentworth Golf club. She also received a $500,000 pension from her job as director of Nick Faldo International. Long term this work to his advantage, but it was still a huge loss.
3. Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson is perhaps the most intimidating boxer to ever step foot in the ring. Some of his fights were the most watched ever on pay per view making him one of the highest paid fighters of his time. Tyson has been divorced multiple times, most notably in 1988 when he was separated from then wife Robin Givens. In a memoir written in 2013 Tyson claimed that Givens and her ruthless mother conspired to make millions off of him. He says they got married because she claimed to be pregnant. However three months into the pregnancy she had not gained a single pound and then she claimed to have miscarried the child. The two never signed a prenuptial agreement, so she received a settlement of more than $10 million. Tyson isn’t broke, but that is a lot of money and a horrible way to lose it.
2. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is definitely one of the top ten players to ever play in the NBA, and he dodged a major bullet recently. He was one of the primary contributors on 5 championship Laker teams and also had individual highlights like no other player of his era even scoring 81 points in a single game. America was shocked when squeaky clean Kobe Bryant was accused of assault while on a road trip in Colorado in 2004, but he was eventually acquitted of all charges. His wife Vanessa Bryant definitely did not forget this and even though she stayed with him initially she eventually decided to file for divorce in 2011 citing irreconcilable differences. Kobe was set to lose half of his fortune because they never signed a prenup before they got married. However, in 2013 Mrs. Bryant called off the divorce and Kobe saved a fortune.
1. Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods was the ultimate golf prodigy going on The Mike Douglas show at only two years old hitting golf shots with a beautiful swing. From there Tiger went on to exceed expectations as he turned to the most dominant golfer of all time and his stretch from 2000-2009 was perhaps the best run any athlete has had in any sport. Tiger struck fear in the hearts of every opponent during his prime and if he was in the hunt on Sunday fans knew he was going to win the tournament.
Tiger’s fall from grace happened in 2010 when his wife caught him cheating with a parade of party girls and film stars through text messages and calls on his cell phone. She chased after him with a nine iron and he crashed their SUV into a tree. His ex-wife Elin Nordegren walked away with a settlement worth over $100 million dollars and his sponsors pulled back like crazy as he nearly lost his livelihood. He didn’t go all the way broke, but definitely came close!
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