It can be tough trying to meet someone when you’re an athlete. So much of your life is dedicated to your craft, your sport, your profession. The sporting window of a pro sportsperson is quite small as it is. Therefore, you want to be able to maximize your time, try to play to the best of your abilities and achieve as much success as possible. This means having strict, structured, often grueling and mundane routines, such as training, dieting, etc. Depending on your sport, it could also mean that you’re on the road a lot. It’s a very selfish life. Sportspeople have got to be selfish. It’s a path they’ve got to take. Leading such a life, you appreciate how hard it must be to date, to find love and form meaningful relationships. It’s got to take a strong individual to want to get into that type of life in the first place. Then, being around enough to build upon that romance, for it to develop into something more substantial – it’s not easy.
There are one group of people who are understanding of that type of lifestyle; fellow athletes. We’ve seen some interesting athlete-athlete relationships over the years. We’ve seen a few succeed. We’ve seen quite a lot fail. When such athletes strike up romances with each other, it makes us think; are they suited together, will it last? These are eight that didn’t last. We’ll have to wait and see about the other eight. Anyhow, they surprised us when they got together. These are eight athlete couple breakups and eight new romances we were not expecting.
15 Breakup: Tiger Woods & Lindsey Vonn
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are arguably two of the biggest names in sports. Tiger once ruled supreme over the golfing world. Lindsey is a decorated alpine skier. She’s someone who’s brought a lot of fans to the sport and to the Winter Olympics. She’s also rated as being one of the most beautiful athletes in the world. Therefore, who she’s been seen with, who she’s dating, is always a hot topic.
Tiger was once untouchable. But then he went into a downwards spiral – his own making. He attempted to get back onto the straight and narrow. His comeback was hampered by injuries. His life was slowly unravelling at the seams. But then Lindsey Vonn came into his life. She was the best thing that had happened to Tiger for a long time. They first met at a charity event in 2012 and subsequently began dating. During this period, they were the 'it' superstar couple in all of sports. They were cheeky together and very much loved up. It seemed like they were in it for the long-haul. But unfortunately, like a lot of things in Tiger’s life at the time, the relationship crashed and burned. They duo split in May 2015.
14 New Romance: Lindsey Vonn & P.K. Subban
Speaking of Lindsey Vonn, she was recently taken off the market once again. It seems as though P.K. Subban may have had his eye on Vonn for a long time, as he openly professed how stunning she looked at the 2017 ESPYs and after Vonn's run at the Olympics this year, rumors started to form that she was dating the All-Star NHLer. Vonn was seen at several Nashville Predators games late in the season and the whispers continued to mount. Finally, almost a month after Subban's hockey season ended, the two went public with their relationship, walking the red carpet together at the CMT Music Awards in Nashville.
The 33-year-old skier and the 29-year-old NHLer may become the next 'it' couple in sports, as Subban is one of the NHL's most marketable players, while Vonn remains the most famous female skier.
Vonn made some waves at the Olympics this year as she posted on Twitter that she was alone for Valentines Day and openly asked if anyone would be her Valentine. We wonder if this was the point that Subban reached out to her. Who knows, but what we do know is that sports has its newest power couple.
13 Breakup: Kendall Jenner & Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin filed for divorce from his wife recently and has been in a nasty court battle with her. That's why it was little surprising to see him get into a high profile relationship with Kendall Jenner. However, the two were spotted together in Los Angeles on several occasions, as Griffin was the star for the Clippers. Perhaps their relationship took a bit of a hit following Griffin's mid season trade to Detroit this past season, as the Pistons landed the star early in 2018. Since then, things seemed to cool off between Jenner and Griffin.
People reported on the couple's split, as Griffin reportedly snubbed Jenner at Coachella a couple of months ago.
“They’ve definitely cooled off and are taking things at a slower pace, but not because of any particular drama,” the source said. “He got traded and isn’t local anymore, so they’ve grown apart a bit just because of distance. They’re still involved.”
It seems that it didn't take too long for Jenner to move on though, as she's reportedly already moved on to another basketball player, while Griffin still remains entangled in a court battle with his soon to be ex-wife. Things can sure turn quickly.
12 New Romance: Danica Patrick & Aaron Rodgers
News of Danica Patrick and Aaron Rodgers’ romance really came out of the blue. People just didn’t see it coming. Firstly, they come from different sports. Secondly, nobody had an inkling that it was on the cards. Both are massive names in their respective sports. They’re now undoubtedly the new power couple of the sporting world.
Both Aaron and Danica haven’t had the best luck when it comes to relationships over the years. Their respective relationship histories are pretty dire. Danica’s been married and has been in a relationship with a fellow racing driver. To us outsiders looking in, that relationship made more sense than this one.
Aaron had just broken things off with actress Olivia Munn. He was quick to move on to Danica. They’ve been dating since earlier this year.
At the age of 34, Aaron’s NFL career is gradually petering out. Danica can now call herself a former athlete. When they become a retired sporting couple, they’ll have a lot more time together. Perhaps it’ll be then that they really find out about themselves, if the relationship’s going to work. At the moment the romance is there, but they’re still in the early stages. Time will tell as to whether it develops into anything more substantial.
11 Breakup: Kevin Durant & Monica Wright
Kevin Durant is an American pro basketball player who plays for the Golden State Warriors. The 29-year-old has had quite a career to date. He’s received tons of accolades and is regarded to be one of the most popular players of the NBA.
Monica Wright is a 29-year-old pro basketball player who plays in the WNBA. She last played overseas for the Perth Lynx. Injuries though have kept her off the court for quite some time.
It made sense when Kevin and Monica got together. People love it when two people from the same sport find love. That’s the ultimate athlete romance. They did find love too. They were very much loved up and were even engaged to marry at one point. But unfortunately, it didn’t work out. The breakup came as a shock to the sporting world. Some thought it was Kevin’s persona, that fact that as he puts it himself, he’s just a big high school kid and hasn’t really grown up. But Monica has divulged the real reason they called off the engagement and went their separate ways. It was because of Monica’s religious values. She had strong Christian faith. She felt she was losing that being with Kevin. They were going down different paths and she wasn’t willing to sacrifice her values and lifestyle.
10 New Romance: Hilary Knight & Frederik Andersen
28-year-old ice hockey player and now Olympic gold medalist Hilary Knight has done a massive amount for the sport of women’s ice hockey. She’s become one of the most influential people in the sport, for team USA in general. The ice hockey forward has won several gold medals and accolades during her time on the ice. She’s become the face of women’s ice hockey in The States. She’s the face of the game not just because of her achievements on the ice. Hilary’s regarded to be one of the most beautiful women in sports. Her popularity and global appeal took off massively in 2014 when she showed off her figure in a steamy shoot for ESPN’s Body Issue. Suddenly people saw Hilary in a different light and liked what they saw.
Frederik Andersen is a Danish ice hockey goaltender. From this standpoint, it makes sense that Hilary and Frederik have gotten together. Both are 28, both play ice hockey. But still, we weren’t expecting the romance because many feel she's out of his league. But they’re very much loved up. Initially they kept their relationship a secret. Then they started sharing public moments and appearances together and we got the news that we weren’t expecting.
9 Breakup: Maria Sharapova & Grigor Dimitrov
Grigor Dimitrov is known as the playboy of the tennis scene. He’s the lady’s man, is always dating fellow players or some celebrity or other. He’s dated Serena Williams in the past. He’s also dated another top pro on the tennis circuit, Maria Sharapova.
Maria was once one of the top sportswomen in the world. That was due to her prowess on the court, but also because of her business savviness off it. She was one of the most marketable athletes on the planet. I also don’t need to add that she’s an incredibly beautiful woman. Grigor himself isn’t bad looking. They made a nice couple. Not that it would’ve mattered to them, but the tennis world and fans approved when they got together.
Maria said they were very happy during their two years together. She’s written in her autobiography that initially she wasn’t into Grigor. She’s described the relationship as simple and genuine.
To us outsiders, we saw a good-looking couple very much in love with each other. They spent quite a bit of time together too. It wasn’t like it was a short-lived romance. That’s why we were shocked when they decided to breakup. Maria’s said: “His good memory was my bad memory.” Make of that what you will.
8 New Romance: Carolina Wozniacki & David Lee
Everything seems to be going swimmingly in Caroline Wozniacki’s life at the moment. From a tennis standpoint, the 27-year-old Danish star is finally living up to her reputation as one of the world’s best players. She’s always been there and thereabouts at the top of the rankings. This time, she and the fans would feel it’s warranted. She won her first Grand Slam this year at the Australian Open. That win propelled her to the top of the rankings.
Caroline’s someone who’s enjoyed plenty of popularity. Not only is she good on the court. She’s cheeky, has a bit of fun, just has an infectious personality. She’s also an incredibly beautiful woman. There aren’t many who have a bad word to say about her.
Things are also going well for Caroline in her personal life. She hasn’t had the greatest of luck when it comes to relationships. You’ll read about that in a bit. But now things are falling into place. However, it’s not the relationship that we expected. She took to social media to announce on Valentine’s day that she was in a relationship with former NBA champion, 35-year-old David Lee. The news came as a bit of a shock. People just didn’t see them together. But they’re very much loved up and are engaged to marry.
7 Breakup: Carolina Wozniacki & Rory McIlroy
When Caroline and Rory got together, they were both young, 20-something year old sporting superstars at the tops of their respective games. They struck up a romance after bonding about their sporting lives. Things got pretty intense pretty quickly, evidently too intense for Rory. We saw Caroline caddie for Rory, saw him at her tennis matches. It just seemed like the perfect sporting relationship. There were lots of give and take and both were very loved up.
That’s why the breakup was something no one was expecting. Even Caroline wasn’t expecting it. It came out of the blue, blindsided her. Apparently, Rory ended things by phone. They were engaged to marry, had a date set and everything. Then, when the wedding invitations were sent out, Rory realized that he just wasn’t ready for marriage. He left Caroline heartbroken. Understandably they went their separate ways.
Rory has said that Caroline loved living life in the limelight. Although he was a big star himself, he just wasn’t ready for that type of media scrutiny. The prospect of marriage proved to be a bit too much. But it’s all worked out the pair in the end. Both are with new partners. Caroline’s claimed she’s found her soulmate in David Lee. So, every cloud has a silver lining, although they probably didn’t see it quite like that when the breakup happened.
6 New Romance: Bastian Schweinsteiger & Ana Ivanovic
The sporting world was shocked when Ana Ivanovic retired from tennis. She was one of the most popular women in the game. She’s a former world number one and Grand Slam winner. On her day she could beat anyone. She also gained a tremendous amount of popularity in the sporting world because of her looks. She’s rated as being one of the most beautiful sportswomen of all time. But Ana was fed up with her inconsistent form. She wanted to move on to the next stage of her career.
Ana, being Ana, could have gotten anybody. She’s been in some high-profile relationships in the past. But everyone was shocked when Ana began dating Bastian Schweinsteiger.
People began wondering where they first met, how they struck up a romance and how things progressed. They certainly have progressed. It wasn’t long before the duo got hitched in Venice, Italy. They’ve just had their first child together too.
Fans of Ana, although they can no longer see her on court, can keep up to date with her life and relationships on social media. Luckily for them Ana’s an avid Instagram user. She’s a retired athlete, yet has 1.5m followers. That just about says it all in terms of what people think of Ana, how popular she is.
5 Breakup: Nicola Adams & Marlen Esparaza
Nicola Adams is a Team GB boxing hero. She gained a tremendous amount of popularity at the Olympics. Then she turned pro and has enjoyed a good time of things, decimating all those she faces up against. Nicola is rated as being one of the best female boxers in the world. She’s the reigning Olympic, World, Commonwealth Games and European Games champion at flyweight. She just keeps stacking up the achievements.
Nicola has done a tremendous amount for women in boxing. She’s also done a whole lot for LGBT rights. She’s openly bisexual and is regarded to be one of the most influential bisexual women in the world.
Marlen Ezparza is an American boxer. She too has racked up an impressive record since turning pro. She too is openly bisexual. That’s because Marlen had run off with her personal trainer – who’s a guy by the way.
The fact that Nicola and Marlen got together didn’t surprise us. They couldn’t really have been more suited to each other. They got engaged at London’s Shard. But then all of a sudden, the wedding had been called off. The relationship had been broken off. It was a scandalous revelation. Marlen is now planning on marrying him leaving Nicola heartbroken. Nicola has said that Marlen was “nasty” and “didn’t care about anyone.” Sounds like a good thing they went their separate ways.
4 New Romance: Allison Stokke & Rickie Fowler
29-Year-old Rickie Fowler, has been enjoying a stellar time of things over the years. On the sporting side of things, he was ranked as the world’s number one amateur golfer. He made the leap to the professional ranks in 2009 and has done decently at pro level too. Things seem to be going swimmingly for him in his life. He’s enjoying a steady time of things on the golf course, and things in his personal life seem to have fallen into place too.
As of 2017, Rickie’s been dating Allison Stokke. It came as a surprise, firstly because Allison was suddenly back into the limelight. A lot of people didn’t even know who she was. That’s because she’s disappeared off the radar a bit. She’s a track and field athlete. As a teenager her pics began to get picked up. It wasn’t long before she started getting lots of attention. People began speaking about her as being the most beautiful athlete in the world. Allison found this tough to deal with. She didn’t want to be thought of in such a manner. But she’s gradually begun to embrace it, does modeling and photoshoots etc. Now she’s in the limelight again, this time for her relationship with Rickie. At least this time around she’s a bit more prepared for the media and has someone to share the burden with.
3 Breakup: Glory Johnson & Brittney Griner
It’s no secret that the WNBA is teaming with same-sex couples. As NY Post have reported, an ex-player has gone as far to say that 98% of the women in WNBA are lesbian. That’s a pretty remarkable stat.
The world of sport is getting better at accepting same-sex couples. But there’s no doubt that the WNBA is leading the way in this field. The players don’t really face discrimination and are accepted. That’s just the way it should be.
Glory Johnson and Brittney Griner are one of these couples. The duo got engaged in 2014. But their relationship was far from being hunky-dory. A year later they were both arrested. The two had gotten into a physical altercation. If they’d broken up then, nobody would’ve been surprised. But they still got married, a couple of weeks later no less. Now we’re thinking, if they can get through that, they can get through anything. That incident must have made them stronger. They’re in it for the long-run. But unfortunately – for their sakes – that’s not the way things worked out. They ended up breakup up and divorcing in 2016. It was a relatively short romance and a whirlwind few years for the couple.
2 New Romance: Ben Simmons & Kendall Jenner
We mentioned before that Kendall Jenner ended things with Blake Griffin after he was traded to Detroit, but that makes it a little surprising that she's now dating Ben Simmons, albeit casually, considering Simmons plays in Philadelphia. It makes a little more sense that Jenner and Simmons would be dating, as both are roughly the same age, with Jenner being 22 and Simmons set to turn 22 this summer. The two were spotted together on several occasions that last couple of months. It was also a little surprising considering that Simmons had been linked to singer Tinashe and no word had even broken that Simmons and Tinashe had broken up. Simmons is already gathering quite the impressive dating resume for himself at a young age.
Although Simmons and Jenner have been seeing each other, they don't seem to be official quite yet.
"Kendall has been out with Ben Simmons a few times and she likes him," a source told E! last week. "They have mutual friends and have been getting to know each other over the last few weeks. He has been spending time in L.A. with her and has been to her house. They've hung out there and have been to dinner a few times."
1 Breakup: Greg Norman & Chris Evert
Greg Norman is a massive name in the world of golf. He’s rated as being one of the greatest golfers to have ever played the game. He spent a remarkable 331 weeks at number one in the world. That wouldn’t come as a surprise considering he’s won 91 tournaments. He also had a charming personality. That combined with his fearless approach on the golf field and his aggressive playing style, meant he had a ton of fans. Since retiring, Greg has been dabbling in this and that and has been mainly concentrating on his philanthropic endeavors.
Chris Evert is another sporting superstar. She’s rated as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. She won 18 Grand Slam titles and won 157 championships in total during the course of her career. Chris was also number one in her sport.
This is a couple that could have also featured on the other side of this list. People just weren’t expecting golfer Greg Norman and tennis star Chris Evert to get together, especially since they’re both retired and didn’t meet whilst playing. That’s unusual. But they got together and things happened quickly. It led us to believe that they were deadly serious about the relationship. But the breakup came as an even bigger surprise than the marriage, especially the time frame in which it happened. They split after just 15 months. That tends to happen with younger couples. But nobody was expecting their marriage to be so short-lived.