Sports stars regularly have fans worshipping their every move, and when playing games on the road, an athlete's heart can wander. It isn't a new phenomenon for a sports celebrity to meet someone on the road, or even in their team's home city, and father a child. Sometimes the poor kids produced via a one night stand or with a mistress can be kept a secret or the athlete can deny being the father altogether.
Even though an athlete may recognize the child they conceived out of wedlock, they don't necessarily want anything to do with the little boy or girl. Sure, they may pay child support or a one-off payment, but don't expect some of these lacklustre dads to have a role in the child's life. They are too focused on their careers, and aren't willing to jeopardize their big contracts or brand image by pulling daddy duty.
Being a sports star's child isn't easy either. Especially if you never get to meet your dad. It also doesn't help if, like Demetress Bell, the father you know is yours won't have anything to do with you. Meanwhile, you watch your half-brother and half-sister get his affection. Not to mention living the high life.
The old cliché is right. Anyone can be a dad, but it takes a man to be father. Some may say the men on this list are dads, but not all of them are truly fathers.
15 Dwight Howard
Charlotte Hornets centre Dwight Howard has fathered enough kids to field his own NBA team. The former No. 1 pick has eight kids with eight different women, or so has been alleged. It is a good thing Howard is due to make $23.5 million this season. He is going to need it to pay child support for his kids. For a time, Howard kept some of his children a secret.
However, in 2013, the mother of his first child, Royce Reed, let it slip on Twitter that there were a pair of kids Howard hadn't told anyone about. The NBA star and Reed have had a tumultuous relationship. He sued Reed in 2010 and a Florida judge ruled the former Orlando Magic cheerleader could no longer speak about Howard in the media. Although he is alleged to have had eight kids with eight women, right now, Howard has only five with five confirmed.
14 Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera pulls down $30 million a season for the Detroit Tigers. He is one of Major League Baseball's highest paid players. Yet, the power hitter is denying child support to two children he fathered in Florida. Cabrera had a long-term affair with Belkis Mariela Rodriguez and for years he tried to keep her quiet about the children he sired. Cabrera allegedly bought her a $1m home in 2017 to satiate her financial needs. However, Rodriguez is looking for more money as Cabrera continues to support her and his two children. According to the Detroit Free Press, Cabrera hasn't denied the children are his. However, it seems he is just happy to give them money and pretend they aren't.
13 Elijah Dukes
Former Tampa Bay Rays and Washington Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes didn't have a long MLB career. He only played three seasons in the show. Dukes career was most likely derailed due to his off-field lifestyle. Not only did Dukes father an alleged five children with four women in a span of three years, but he threatened to kill his wife NiShea Gilbert and their kids. Dukes went so far as to text Gilbert a photo of him holding the weapon he planned to use on her. As if Dukes couldn't sink any lower, he impregnated a 17-year-old girl in 2007. The girl was a foster child, who had been living with a member of Dukes' family. Since 2012, washed up as a baseball player, Dukes has been in and out of jail. One arrest was due to eating a bag of an illegal substance after being stopped for a traffic violation.
12 Tom Brady
Tom Brady is often seen as a squeaky-clean NFL legend. However, in 2007, Brady fathered a child with Bridget Moynahan. According to reports, Moynahan wanted nothing to do with Brady after the birth of their child. The baby, John Edward Thomas Moynahan was born nine months after the couple broke up, so it could be interrupted that Brady bailed when he discovered she was pregnant. The couple's break up just happened to be the same month Brady began dating his now wife Gisele Bundchen. The two married in 2009 and have since had two children. Although Brady seemed to not have much to do with John during his early years, it seems the child has been welcomed into the Brady household today despite Moynahan remaining tight-lipped on her ex-lover.
11 Chad Johnson
Former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson has seven children by last count. In 2017, Johnson was hit with a paternity suit by Alexia Farquharson. She sought to find out if Johnson was really the father of the child he continually denied. Farquharson would be the seventh mother of a Johnson child. The former NFL star has lost millions due to child support payments to his baby mamas. Last year, Johnson had two of his Florida homes foreclosed on. If that wasn't bad enough, he had to put his $3m home up for sale, too. In January 2018, Johnson admitted to being the father of Farquharson's baby. However, it was reported he was unwilling to pay money to support the child.
10 Latrell Sprewell
Latrell Sprewell is most famously known for choking former coach P.J. Carlesimo and threatening to kill him. Sprewell later made headlines when he was offered a $14m-plus contract extension by the Minnesota Timberwolves only to reject it by saying, "Why would I want to help them win a title? They’re not doing anything for me. I’m at risk. I have a lot of risk here. I got my family to feed". It's funny Sprewell mentioned his family in that statement as in 2007 he left his girlfriend and four kids. Although Sprewell has been ordered to pay child support, he has lost the more than $100m he earned during his NBA career. Oh, and the former Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks player also had a child outside of his relationship to former girlfriend Candance Cabbil. Sprewell probably wishes he could get that $14m contract extension back about now.
9 Diego Maradona
Sometimes it can be difficult to dissect the facts from the fiction in the life of Diego Maradona. It was in the city of Naples that Maradona had the most success of his club soccer career. That's also the place where he got deep into his drug and alcohol addiction and made links with the Italian mafia. In Naples, Maradona allegedly had a number of partners, including model Cristina Singra. The two had a child out of wedlock in 1986. Maradona denied being the boy's father until 2016. Weeks later, 15-year-old Santiago Lara was alleged as another Maradona secret child. Lara was the sixth illegitimate child linked to the former soccer great. Maradona denied being the dad and has since tried to distance himself further. Maradona has continually refused to take DNA tests to prove any child linked to him are actually his.
8 Dan Marino
Dan Marino paid millions of dollars to keep the news of his secret child out of the public eye. In 2005, Marino and fellow CBS employee Donna Savattere had an affair that resulted in pregnancy. According to the New York Post, Savattere was a CBS "underling" and Marino paid her off to keep their child Chloe under wraps. News about the child's birth didn't become public until 2013 when the story broke days before Marino was a pundit on CBS's Super Bowl broadcast. The channel didn't seem to mind and their PR statements acted as if Marino had done nothing wrong. When Chloe was born in 2005, Marino was married to his wife Claire. The couple have six children and are still together. Savattere went on to marry following Chloe's birth. Marino reportedly took financial responsibility for his secret child, but that doesn't mean he really wants much to do with her.
7 Reggie Bush
Former NFL running back Reggie Bush made headlines in 2017 for fathering a child outside of his marriage to Lilit Avagyan. Preston Exposito was born with little fanfare from Bush. DNA tests later proved Bush was the father of the child. Coincidentally, Preston was born just days before Bush and wife Avagyan announced they were pregnant with their third baby. According to gossip columns, Bush's ex-mistress Monique Exposito was furious when she found out the former NFL player was having another child with Avagyan. Social media was also up in arms, but it was due to Avagyan not kicking Bush to the curb. Exposito, a Miami cocktail waitress, and Bush went to court shortly after Preston's birth as she sought to get child support from the Super Bowl winner.
6 David Beckham
David Beckham is not just a world-famous soccer player, but he is an entrepreneur and fashion symbol. Despite being married to former Spice Girl Victoria, Beckham has allegedly had extramarital affairs. Beckham has stated he made mistakes and that his marriage to Victoria has been difficult in the past. Several women have publicly stated they had affairs with Beckham, and there are rumours the former soccer great had a secret child with one of them. Former personal assistant Rebecca Loos and Sarah Marbeck have both come forward stating they were Beckham's mistresses. Loos has also claimed she set Beckham up with supermodel Esther Canadas while he played for Spanish team Real Madrid. Although there is no evidence that Beckham fathered a child with any of the women, allegations continue to be made over possible affairs he had during his career.
5 Rae Carruth
Rae Carruth didn't want his unborn child so much that he hired a man to take the life of his girlfriend. In 1999, Carruth was a star wide receiver with the Carolina Panthers and had a long career ahead of him. However, Carruth was infuriated when he found out his girlfriend Cherica Adams was pregnant. The wide receiver hired friend Van Brett Watkins Sr to shoot Adams and to end the life of her and the baby. Adams was eight months pregnant when she passed. The baby, Chancellor Lee Adams, was delivered via C-section. Despite suffering brain damage, Chancellor Lee Adams is a teenager today. While many athletes deny being a father to a child, Carruth took his denial to a new level.
4 Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain famously slept with 20,000 women. With all the women the NBA great slept with there has to be some little Wilts running around the United States, right? Well, according to a 2015 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine, there is at least one. In an article about Chamberlain, Aaron Levi was identified as the former Los Angeles Lakers' son. Levi, a biracial man who was adopted as a child, tracked down his birth mother. She maintains her relationship with Chamberlain produced the son she gave up for adoption. According to Levi's mother, she spoke to Chamberlain just once after the child's birth; and the NBA star never met the baby prior to him being put up for adoption. Although Chamberlain died nearly 20 years ago, the former basketball player's family has denied Levi is related to them.
3 Dwight Yorke
Former Manchester United player Dwight Yorke was one of the biggest stars in English soccer during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Yorke's celebrity led him to a relationship with model Jordan (a.k.a. Katie Price). In 2002, Price gave birth to her son Harvey. Born blind and autistic, Harvey was conceived during Price's relationship with Yorke. However, the former soccer star didn't own up to being a dad. Yorke repeatedly denied being Harvey's dad until a DNA test proved the two were father and son. According to Price, Yorke has never met Harvey nor has he paid child support. Price has repeatedly pleaded with Yorke through British tabloids for him to see Harvey. However, it seems to continually fall on deaf ears.
2 Jon Jones
UFC fighter Jon Jones has had a colourful career inside and outside of the octagon. Jones was stripped of his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship following a hit-and-run incident. He was later stripped of it again when he tested positive for a banned substance. Jones has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars due to UFC fines and legal fees following both incidents. Jones reportedly fathered five children with three different women before he reached the age of 24. Three of his children can be linked to his fiancee Jessie, but the other two seem to be forgotten about by the MMA fighter. Jones' activities influenced Chael Sonnen to say some not so nice things about him in interviews. Sonnen implied that Jones is bad dad and all around terrible guy. Sonnen could just be sore about losing to Jones in 2013.
1 Karl Malone
Former NFL offensive lineman Demetress Bell is the son of Karl Malone. The former NBA great has never denied Bell is his son. However, Malone has never given confirmation of it either. Malone reportedly impregnated Bell's mother – who was 13 at the time of conception - while he was in college. A criminal conviction was not sought as the family hoped Malone would support the baby if left free from prison. According to an ESPN.com article, Bell didn't know Malone was his father until he finished high school. As the offensive lineman grew in name recognition, Malone told him "it was too late for him to be his father, and he'd have to make it on his own". Bell did make it on his own, but he has also watched Malone act as a father for Daryl and Cheryl Ford. Malone also denied them until a paternity suit was made public by the media in 1998.