The acronym “WAGs” stands for wives and girlfriends of high-profile professional athletes. For centuries, primarily thanks to fame, power and wealth, sportsmen have scored gorgeous significant others. Most famously, New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio exchanged vows with Hollywood sex symbol Marilyn Monroe at San Francisco City Hall on January 14, 1954. Speaking to Deadspin on the condition of anonymity, a public relations bigwig recounted stories of groupies trying to seduce his athletic clients.
“I'm not really a nightlife guy, but there are times when I need to accompany clients to clubs, concerts, after-parties, whatever,” said the unnamed publicist.
“When I first started, I remember my mouth dropping at every attractive woman who approached one of my clients, and at the things they would say to them or offer them. Now, I don't even bat an eyelash. The only reaction you may get from me is a laugh if it's an approach I haven't heard before. I've seen women slip their numbers to my clients while their boyfriends weren't looking. I've seen women ditch their boyfriends in the bar just for a shot at one of my clients—and I've seen my client shoot those same women down just to laugh at them.”
While groupies’ flirtations oftentimes fail, actresses, models and reality stars are constantly linked to athletes. Hence, tabloids are obsessed with the advances of athlete dating celebrities like the Kardashian clan, Kate Upton, Adriana Lima, Alyssa Milano and others. Unfortunately for many of these seemingly lucky ballplayers, many athletes’ performances have faltered after snuggling with prominent women. With that noted, let’s review 15 WAGs that hindered an athlete’s production.
15 JESSICA SIMPSON (Tony Romo)
Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo began dating blond bombshell Jessica Simpson in November 2007. Shortly thereafter, Romo and Simpson were photographed lounging poolside at a resort in Cabo San Lucas during the Cowboys’ bye week. Six days later, on January 13, 2008, the New York Giants eliminated Dallas from the playoffs with a 21-17 victory.
"If only Tony had called me and said, 'Terry, Jessica [Simpson] and I are going to go to Mexico,' I would've told him: 'You crazy? Don't do that! The paparazzi is going to find you, man. You're a star. She's a star. It's just going to happen,’” said Terry Bradshaw.
Romo, a four-time Pro Bowl selection who was the NFL passer rating leader in 2014, remained the Cowboys’ starter until he got injured in a 2016 preseason game. Although a statistical machine, Romo never directed Dallas to its first championship since 1995. The 2007 Cowboys were loaded and many critics blame Romo’s getaway with Simpson for the squad’s failure.
14 KATE UPTON (Justin Verlander)
Detroit Tigers flamethrower Justin Verlander overwhelmed batters for nearly a decade. Alas, Verlander began seeing voluptuous swimsuit model Kate Upton in 2013. The 2016 season notwithstanding, Verlander’s floundered on the mound and only won 29 games since 2014. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Verlander refuses to bang the 5-foot-10, 140-pound Upton on a day when he pitches, regardless of the outcome.
“There's no sex before a game—absolutely none," said Upton, 25.
“What I've just found out is, if he plays too well, there's no sex after, either. He's exhausted. It's kind of a buzzkill for me.”
Verlander and Upton got engaged in May 2016.
"Kate's there a lot for me," said Verlander. "And we're just normal people. You know, a normal relationship—believe it or not."
A “normal relationship” or not, the 34-year-old Verlander has been exceedingly hittable with Upton by his side.
13 ALYSSA MILANO (CARL PAVANO)
Faded actress Alyssa Milano has an insatiable attraction to men on the diamond. However, no ballplayer succumbed to Milano’s charms more than Carl Pavano. Pavano was an instrumental piece of the Florida Marlins’ championship team in 2003. Capitalizing on his brilliant outings that autumn, Pavano signed a four-year contract worth $39.95 million to become a New York Yankee in December 2004. An aggressive Milano quickly lured Pavano into her bedroom.
“This was right after he won the World Series,” said Milano, 44, who also bedded pitchers Brad Penny and Barry Zito.
“So he was kind of baseball royalty. It was before he came to the Yankees...and became the Carl Pavano you know.”
A fragile Pavano was a laughingstock in the Bronx and his reputation never completely recovered. Moreover, Pavano recorded only one more season with an ERA below 4.00 before retiring in February 2014.
12 ADRIANA LIMA (Matt Harvey)
Nicknamed “The Dark Knight,” Matt Harvey has embraced the company of Gotham’s foxiest women. Tearfully for the New York Mets’ maligned hurler, Victoria's Secret Angel Adriana Lima axed Harvey and left him inconsolable this past spring. Harvey was so distraught by Lima’s decision that he went on an epic bender and missed a Mets game with a hangover. While Lima briefly rekindled with New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, the Mets suspended Harvey for three games.
“It’s completely my fault,” said Harvey, 28, a 2013 All-Star.
“I put myself in a bad place to be ready for showing up for a ballgame, and that is my responsibility. I take full blame for that.”
Harvey is in the midst of an atrocious 2017 and he will undoubtedly get shipped out of Queens this winter. Meanwhile, Lima is now having adult relations with a Turkish writer named Metin Hara.
11 BRANDE RODERICK (CADE MCNOWN)
Former UCLA quarterback Cade McNown chose Playmate of the Year Brande Roderick over greatness on the gridiron. Chicago drafted the 6-foot-1, 210-pound McNown 12th overall in 1999. McNown, a southpaw who was a 1998 consensus All-American and that year’s Johnny Unitas Award winner, was outspoken about his virginity and clean lifestyle coming out of Westwood. Apparently, the Windy City changed McNown and he began frequenting Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion near Beverly Hills. McNown essentially ditched the Bears’ playbook and fornicated with Roderick at Hefner’s palace. After taking Roderick to Mexico without permission, McNown was permanently banned from bunnyland.
"We have all kinds of guests at the mansion," a spokesman for Hefner said. "Sometimes we must cast someone out into the darkness of the night, the transgressions ranging from the trivial to the more serious."
The Bears’ decision makers sent McNown to the Miami Dolphins in August 2001 for a sixth-round draft pick in 2002 and a conditional seventh-round pick in 2003. McNown never competed as a Dolphin and he was out of the sport altogether by the age of 25.
10 KRISTIN CAVALLARI (Jay Cutler)
The Denver Broncos selected Vanderbilt University quarterback Jay Cutler with the 11th pick in the 2006 draft. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Cutler performed sparingly as a rookie. However, in 2007, Cutler emerged as a formidable presence in the pocket and completed 63.6 percent of his 467 attempts for 20 touchdowns and 3,497 yards. In 2008, Cutler made the Pro Bowl and topped the AFC in passing yardage with 4,526. A native of Santa Claus, Indiana, Cutler was traded to the Chicago Bears in March 2009. A year after relocating to the Second City, Cutler began getting cozy with reality television personality Kristin Cavallari. Alongside Cavallari, Cutler regressed and became the league’s most polarizing signal-caller.
"Our relationship isn’t perfect,” said Cavallari, 30, who married Cutler in June 2013. “But we love each other and we work on it and we make a conscious choice to work on the relationship and I think that that’s what you just have to do.”
If not for Ryan Tannehill’s season-ending injury, the 34-year-old Cutler would no longer be an NFL employee.
9 MADONNA (Jose Canseco)
Jose Canseco was snapped leaving Madonna’s New York City apartment building at 5 a.m. in May 1991. Presuming that the duo wasn’t playing Parcheesi into the wee hours, the New York Post’s headline aptly read “Madonna’s Batboy?”
“She’s different and exciting,” Canseco said the following day. “She does what she wants-as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. She isn’t strangled by what the norm in society is.”
Canseco helped the Oakland Athletics capture a World Series title and he earned the 1988 American League MVP award. Still, Canseco’s career oddly plummeted after his night with the Material Girl. Roughly a year later in August 1992, the Athletics sent Canseco to the Texas Rangers for Rubén Sierra, Jeff Russell and Bobby Witt. Canseco became a relatively productive journeyman until he was allegedly blackballed from the sport following the 2001 campaign. To this day, Canseco asserts that Madonna wanted him to inseminate her.
"I'm Cuban and she wanted a Cuban child,” claimed Canseco, 53.
“She wanted to get married and have a child with me. I then told her I was trying to work things out with my wife. That if I left her, I would lose a lot of money and she said, 'I have lots of money. Don't worry about that.'”
8 KIM KARDASHIAN (Miles Austin)
Wide receiver Miles Austin signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent out of Monmouth University in June 2006. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Austin became a storybook overachiever who made two Pro Bowl squads and led the NFC in receiving yards as a Cowboy in 2009. Regrettably, Austin started seeing Kim Kardashian in June 2010. Following approximately 90 days of bliss, Austin and Kardashian severed ties in September.
“They were acting as if they were single or just having fun, but they never were – it was the real deal,” a source told People. “They were always strong, but before Kim left for Europe they decided it’s not fair that they don’t get to spend more time together and ended it.”
Austin never recaptured his explosiveness after doing the horizontal poker with Kardashian. The beloved Hawk permanently shelved his cleats in December 2015 at the age of 30.
7 CARMEN ELECTRA (DENNIS RODMAN)
Hall of Fame power forward Dennis Rodman was a lockdown defender, and unstoppable force on the boards, who could dominate a game without scoring. Nicknamed "The Worm," the 6-foot-7, 220-pound Rodman was an invaluable member of the Chicago Bulls’ teams that clinched three consecutive titles from 1996 through 1998. Five months after limiting Karl Malone’s production in the 1998 NBA Finals, Rodman married sexpot Carmen Electra in November at a Sin City chapel. The lovebirds constantly bickered and Electra filed for divorce in April 1999.
“When it was good, it was amazing," said Electra, 45, a fixture in Playboy magazine.
“And when it was bad, it was the worst. It happened so fast. It was so spontaneous, and I remember right after, 'Oh god, what did we do?'"
The Bulls’ hierarchy released Rodman in January 1999 and he never again worked steadily in the association.
6 KATE UPTON (Mark Sanchez)
Quarterback Mark Sanchez helped the New York Jets advance to the AFC Championship game in the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Granted, the Jets had powerful lines on both sides of the ball and were backed by a potent ground attack. Regardless, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Sanchez prospered throughout both playoff runs and even outshined Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Carson Palmer during them. Alas, according to a New York Post article published on December 21, 2011, Sanchez began having coitus with Kate Upton.
“Sanchez has been paying frequent late-night visits to the Victoria’s Secret and Sports Illustrated swimsuit model’s Flatiron apartment, we’re told. He’s been spotted several times at the voluptuous blonde’s pad since November, usually after games or before practices — sometimes as late as midnight — rolling up in his black chauffeur-driven Navigator.”
A jilted Upton mocked Sanchez and the Jets a year later when Notre Dame lost to Alabama 42-14 in the BCS title game.
"Its okay Notre Dame this happened to the Jets every week,” tweeted Upton.
Sanchez has been beyond heinous in the pocket since he dumped the busty siren.
5 KHLOE KARDASHIAN (RASHAD MCCANTS)
The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted North Carolina Tar Heels shooting guard Rashad McCants 14th overall in 2005. The 6-foot-4, 207-pound McCants couldn’t adapt to the association’s style of play and was beset by a string of injuries. To exacerbate issues, McCants started dating Khloé Kardashian in August 2008. The sweethearts were together for about five months before Kardashian ditched McCants in January 2008. Within a week of their split, McCants was sent to the Sacramento Kings. Sacramento refused to extend McCants’ contract in July 2009 and he was altogether out of the NBA at the age of 24.
“Without that situation (dating Kardashian) in play, I’m a $60-$70 million player,” McCants said. “Easily.”
The 32-year-old McCants is a free agent who hasn’t played professionally since suiting up for the Cañeros del Este organization in 2015.
4 LISA ‘LEFT EYE’ LOPES (ANDRE RISON)
Andre Rison was a troubled man before he began seeing Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes in March 1993. However, Rison worsened with Lopes as his girlfriend and he eventually imploded. Rison, who made four straight Pro Bowl squads as an Atlanta Falcon from 1990 through 1993, had a rocky relationship with Lopes. Following an especially ugly argument, Lopes completely torched Rison’s mansion in Alpharetta, Georgia. Excluding the 1997 campaign, Rison’s career nosedived after Lopes’ turn as an arsonist. Rison also struggled financially and he declared bankruptcy in 2007.
“When you have cash, you create debt,” said Rison, 50, who made at least $19 million over his career.
“You spend until you’ve got nothing left. I should have saved a lot more money. I should have saved a lot more money.”
3 LAMAR ODOM AND KHLOE KARDASHIAN
Following a beautiful month of romance, Lamar Odom and Khloé Kardashian exchanged vows in September 2009. Shockingly, the 6-foot-10, 230-pound Odom and 5-foot-9, 160-pound Kardashian divorced in December 2013. Subsequently, the 2011 NBA Sixth Man of the Year couldn’t secure employment and he never again played in the association. Restless and still saddened by the Kardashian fiasco, Odom went on a near-fatal drugs and alcohol binge in October 2015 at a brothel in Crystal, Nevada. Odom was placed on life support for a few days before he regained consciousness.
“No (I don’t want Khloé back),” said Odom, 37. “I say that with no offense to her. That would be the best for both of us if [we] keep our distance.” Needless to say, both parties have moved on.
2 RACHEL UCHITEL (Tiger Woods)
A racy text message from Rachel Uchitel caused Elin Nordegren to brandish a golf club and chase Tiger Woods around their exclusive residence with it. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Woods was petrified of the 5-foot-11, 140-pound Nordegren and he crashed his Cadillac Escalade SUV into a fire hydrant in a futile effort to escape from the Swedish stunner. Often referred to as “Mistress #1,” Uchitel was Woods’ primary lover. In fact, before the scandal went public, Woods swore he was preparing to divorce Nordegren for Uchitel.
“I want you to lay next to me, lay on me of where ever you want to lay,” Woods texted Uchitel. “Why didn’t we find each other years ago. We wouldn't be having this conversation.”
Woods has been hindered by back problems, substance abuse issues and nymphomania. Hence, many factors have caused Woods’ ineptness on courses across the globe. Still, Woods’ lust for Uchitel initiated his downfall as a world-class golfer.
1 ROBIN GIVENS (Mike Tyson)
“Iron” Mike Tyson was one of the most feared and dominant boxers in the sport’s history. The 5-foot-10, 220-pound Tyson defeated WBC titlist Trevor Berbick in November 1986 to become the youngest heavyweight champion ever. Unwisely, Tyson got involved with actress and parasite Robin Givens shortly after the Berbick bout. Tyson became enamored with Givens and the two exchanged vows without a prenuptial agreement in February 1988. Predictably, Givens publicly badmouthed Tyson and then divorced him a year later on Valentine’s Day 1989.
“He's got a side to him that's scary,” said Givens before their divorce was finalized.
“Michael is intimidating, to say the least. I think there's a time when he cannot control his temper. And that's frightening to me. To my mother. To anyone around.”
There’s no question that Tyson’s battled countless demons and his unraveling was probably inevitable. Nonetheless, Robin Givens was a critical part of Tyson’s undoing.