Our society is one that is obsessed with the constant pursuit of youth and that is reflected in our need to be younger, ageless and defy all signs that another year is just around the corner. I truly believe that the obsession with age and our favourite male athletes go hand-in-hand. Why? Because the top athletes in the game spent their precious youth training for the next big game, sacrificing time with their families and even any recreation time for the single-minded pursuit of winning.
Eventually the winning caught up to them and they had the money, accolades, awards, fame and applause but what they were missing was a connection. Many of the athletes who ended up with significantly younger women had whole families with their first wives but it seems like they wanted to start over again and be more present for their kids and take the time out to really treasure the companionship with their wives. It is hard to really understand what these top-level athletes went through in their lives and I feel like judging them is unfair, but it does intrigue many fans to see a much younger woman fall for an older man.
The fact that many retired and found love, understanding and a purpose through the women they dated and married even though they were younger is something to be proud of.
20 Hines Ward (Lindsey Georgalas)
Hines Edward Ward Jr is considered one of America’s greatest wide receivers who played for close to 14 consecutive seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Besides being an exceptional athlete, Hines is also known for his advocacy initiatives for young mixed-race kids as well as Koreans because of his own ethnicity - he is half Korean and half African-American. It was around the time that the Pittsburgh Steelers let Hines go that he divorced his first wife Simone Ward in 2012 and got straight back into the dating game. Hines started working as an NFL analyst for NBC and around that time, he met model Lindsey Georgalas who was 16 years younger than him.
Lindsey studied dance at Point Park University right before she met Hines in 2012.
The two of them made it official when they tied the knot at Heinz Field at 2014. Yup, Heinz Field the same field where he became the NFL star he is - if reports are the believed the stadium may have cut a deal for the man who did so much for venue. Unfortunately, Hines’ first wife wasn’t happy about his wedding because it turns out he forgot to invite his first child from his marriage to Simone... oops!
19 Julius Erving (Dorys Madden)
Any basketball fan in the world knows Dr. J aka Julius Erving who is credited for the style that all your faves love showing off on the court - slam dunking, crossover dribbling and the no looking pass. Julius won three championships, four MVP awards and is known for helping legitimize the ABA when it merged with the NBA. Erving was inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993 and in 1994 Sports Illustrated named him one of the 40 most important athletes in history. Erving was with his first wife Turquoise Irving from 1972-2003 and through there marriage they had four children.
Erving was already married to his first wife, Turquoise, when he began his affair with Dorys Madden. Dorys is 20 years younger than Julius and worked as a Retail Products Dealer when she lived in Florida. In 2003, Julius and Dorys had a child which subsequently led to the divorce with Turquoise. In 2008, Julius and Dorys tied the knot and welcomed three children Jules, Justin and Julietta. In total, Erving has 8 children in all including daughter Alexandra Stevenson who is an American tennis player whose mother had an affair with Erving in the 70s.
18 Mark McGwire (Stephanie Slemer)
Mark “Big Mac” McGwire is a baseball legend as his career has spanned multiple iconic home-runs from 1986 to 2001 where he played for the Oakland Athletics and then later for the St Louis Cardinals. Through his career, Mark has averaged a home run ever 10.61 bats which is only second to Babe Ruth in baseball history. However, Mark’s legacy has been very controversial especially when he was under the microscope for the performance enhancement scandal. In 2010, Mark admitted publicly to using performance-enhancers during most of his career.
Mark met Stephanie Slemer, a sales representative for a St. Louis pharmaceutical company called Tap Pharmaceuticals in 2002 when he was still playing for St. Louis. The two of them ended up dating for a year and a half before he popped the question. By this time Stephanie had quit her job and moved to California where Mark is originally from. Mark and Stephanie tied the knot in Las Vegas in 2002 in front of 50 guests - it was Mark’s second and Stephanie’s first. In 2010, the couple welcomed triplets Monet Rose, Marlo Rose and Monroe Rose. The girls join their older brothers Max and Mason from Mark’s first marriage to Kathleen Hughes.
17 Kurt Angle (Giovanna Yannotti)
He is one of America’s most famous professional wrestlers who is now the General Manager of the RAW brand when he isn’t dabbling with acting on the side. It was actually on an acting job where Kurt Angle met his future wife who was close to 18 years his junior. Giovanna Yannotti is a half-Italian and half-Mexican actress who met Kurt Angle on the set of the 2009 film End Game. Kurt was playing a bad guy and Giovanna was playing a customer at a restaurant he frequents as a favour to her best friend's dad and it was love at first sight with Giovanna falling head-over-heels into Kurt’s blue eyes.
Their first date was at an Applebee’s and that’s when Kurt knew he had found someone special.
Around the time they were dating, Kurt was recovering from his injuries and taking some downtime and so many of their date nights consisted of hanging at his house, watching movies and chilling. Kurt popped the question to Giovanna in 2010 and in 2012 they were married. Giovanna and Kurt have three daughters together, Giuliana Marie born in 2011, Sophia Laine born in 2012 and Nikoletta Sky born in 2016. Their picture-perfect family is completed with the addition of two dogs Lola and Deedee.
16 Jaromir Jagr (Veronika Koprivova)
Jaromir Jagr is a Czech ice hockey player who currently represents the HC Kladno in the Czech Republic Hockey League. Prior to playing for his country, Jaromir has played for close to 9 American teams and been the Captain for the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers. Jaromir has been a very prolific player even winning the Art Ross Trophy which is presented to the leading point-scorer during the season - the only two others who have won the Trophy are legends Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Although Jaromir has never won an international junior championship or even a World Cup of Hockey medal, he has represented his country by being the official flag bearer in at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
He was inducted into the Czech Ice Hockey Hall of Fame which is a huge honour. Jaromir’s dating history has been pretty low-key - he’s dated around but all that changed when he fell for a beautiful Czech model by the name of Veronika Koprivova. Even a 19 year age difference couldn’t stop love when they first started dating in 2015. Veronika is a former hairdresser turned financial advisor turned model who competed in beauty pageants like Miss Sever 2011 which she won before placing second in the Miss Czech Republic 2012. The couple have been going solid for the past few years even when some selfies emerged with him in bed with another woman!
15 Diego Maradona (Rocio Oliva)
The couple have had an intense relationship which has been very off-again and on-again especially since he dumped his ex Veronica for her. Perhaps their 30 year age difference has something to do with it? The relationship has been bursting with controversies since they fell in love. In 2013, the former football player was accused of grabbing her neck during a major argument on their private jet. In another incident he accused Rocio of stealing expensive jewelry and his precious watches from his mansion in Dubai which he shares with her. The whole incident led to a warrant on her when she was flying back from the World Cup in Brazil to Argentina but he apparently withdrew the charge at the last minute.
However, nothing was as surprising as when a video of Maradona hitting her twice with his right hand was leaked. Rocio’s Aunt watched the video because an Argentinian television channel aired it in 2014 and she called him a “psychopath and a woman beater.” Maradona later denied the whole incident claiming that all he did was knock the phone out of his girlfriend’s hands because he didn't want to be recorded. The latest incident to come out to the public was when security and police were called to their hotel suite because they were apparently being violent with each other.
14 Tiki Barber (Traci Lynn Johnson)
Tiki Barber and Traci Lynn Johnson’s relationship has been dissected since the second they got together. To understand why, we need to examine Tiki’s first marriage to his wife Virginia Cha Barber. The former running back for the New York Giants was married to his college sweetheart in 1999 and they lived in New York city where Virginia worked as a fashion publicist for Ermenegildo Zegna. The couple have two sons Atiim Kiambu Junior born in 2002 and Chason born in 2004. In 2010, Virginia was pregnant with twin girls when Tiki pulled the plug on their marriage after close to 11 years together.
Tiki ultimately revealed to Sports Illustrated that he has fallen in love with Traci and would go sneaking around to see her when Traci was an intern on the Today show when he was a commentator. Even a 12 year age difference didn’t stop the couple from tying the knot and making it official 8 days after his divorce from Virginia was finalized. The couple were married in a very intimate civil ceremony in New York in 2012. Traci and Tiki welcomed their first child, Brooklyn a daughter in 2013 and then Teagan, another daughter in 2016.
13 Jeff Garcia (Carmella DeCesare)
For Jeff Garcia, the former American football and Canadian football quarterback, fortune shined on him when he met Carmella DeCesare a former Playmate of the Year 2004 and WWE Diva contestant. They have a 13 year age difference but Jeff’s whole life turned around the time they started dating. Jeff had just been released by the 49ers and although he was a three-time Pro Bowl for the team, he became a free agent had spent the last five years on five different teams. However, things changed when Jeff met gorgeous European-Caribbean model Carmella. They dated and thats when Jeff signed a two-year $7 million contract with the team.
Carmella married Jeff at the CordeValle Resort in California in 2007.
The couple have four children together, a daughter Presley was born in 2008, a son Jason in 2009, another son Jax in 2010 and another daughter Faith in 2011. Jeff officially announced his retirement in 2012 after playing a total of astounding 21 seasons. Carmella and Jeff are committed to charity work and so they founded Garcia Pass It On Foundation which is dedicated to share resources which includes money and assistance to people struggling in less fortunate circumstances.
12 Gary Lineker (Danielle Bux)
Gary Lineker is a former English footballer and sports broadcaster who took England to the World Cup and later was a host on the very popular BBC show Match of the Day. Gary was married to his first wife Michelle in 1986 and the couple share four sons - George, Harry, Tobias and Angus. Unfortunately in 2006, Michelle filed for divorce leading to Gary being a single free man. In 2009 Gary married model Danielle Bux at a private ceremony in Italy in 2009 who he met on a blind date in 2007. The couple have an age gap of 19 years which was a point of contention because Danielle wanted more kids - she has one daughter Ella from a previous relationship.
Gary (who already had four children) felt he was too old to have another and so they called it a day and filed for divorce in 2016. Its very interesting to note that even though the couple divorced, they were seen quite a lot hanging around. Gary even accompanied Danielle on her house-hunting trips! Within two years of divorcing Gary, Danielle eventually moved onto to date businessman Nate Greenwald, she became pregnant and gave birth to daughter Romy.
11 Rick Fox (AnnaLynne McCord)
Rick Fox is a multi-talented personality who began his career playing for the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers and then began acting on proper television before becoming a part of reality television. Rick Fox is probably most famous for his relationships though especially his elopement with Vanessa Williams in 1999. The couple had a daughter a year later unfortunately their marriage didn't last and ultimately Fox filed for divorce in 2004. Its interesting because any bad blood between the celebrity couple is no more especially since they even co-starred on Ugly Betty together. Fox was in another high-profile relationship with Eliza Dushku which lasted from 2009-2014.
Since then he has been linked to a bevy of Hollywood beauties - most of them substantially younger than him. The rumours began swirling when AnnaLynne McCord and Rick Fox were spotted at some pre-Super Bowl events in Arizona in 2015. AnnaLynne has been quite quiet on the movie and television front especially since she split with her much older boyfriend Dominic Purcell in 2014. However, sources who spotted Fox and McCord said they were often seen cozying up. AnnaLynne would often call Rick her boyfriend whenever she could. Clearly Fox and McCord don't really care for the 18 year age difference!
10 Pete Rose (Kiana Kim)
There is something to be said about the Major League Baseball player and his love for gambling and marriages. Peter Rose is considered one of the greatest hitters when he played from 1963-1986 however the former Cincinnati Reds player was banned in 1989 for his addicted to gambling. Peter Rose has been in the news ever since he became became engaged to Kiana Kim, his fiancee who is half his age. Kiana was enrolled at Arizona State University where she was working towards a Business Management degree however after graduation she ended up as a flight attendant, then a real estate agent and then got into modelling where she appeared in what is probably the world's most infamous magazine in 2010.
The two of them had their own reality tv show on TLC in 2013 called Rose: Hits & Mrs. The show chronicled their lives, children from subsequent relationships and Kim’s ambition to have her own skin-care line. Unfortunately, the TLC audience wasn't really feeling the show and the show was cancelled after just 6 episodes. The two would later even appear during the 2014 Super Bowl on a national Sketchers ad. The couple are still enjoying their long engagement since 2011 and have no plans to make it official… yet.
9 Shaquille O’Neal (Laticia Rolle)
Shaquille O’Neal is considered one of the greatest and most dominant players in the history of the NBA. Shaw not only won multiple championships but also Olympic gold. In 1996, Shaq signed the most lucrative contract in the history of basketball with the Los Angeles Lakers which consisted of $120 million over seven years. Shaq officially retired in 2011 after playing for 19 years and he turned his attention to television becoming an NBA analyst. Shaq also believed in formal education and he ended up earning two graduate degrees - one MBA from Barry University, Florida in 2005 and then returned in 2012 where he was awarded a doctorate.
Shaq was happily married to Shaunie from 2002-2009 and the couple share four children however things took a turn for the worst when his wife discovered all his extra-marital affairs because they switched blackberries. Fast forward to 2014 and Shaq met lifestyle blogger and TRESS creator Laticia Rolle at his birthday bash. There's a 16 year difference between the two and even though they keep on sparking regular engagement rumours by posting diamond rings on important fingers - there has been no confirmation or even a formal announcement. Keep us posted, you two!
8 Mike Modano (Allison Micheletti)
Retired hockey player Mike Modano married his sweetheart pro-golfer Allison Micheletti and no one even batted an eyelash at their 19 year age difference. The two tied the knot in Dallas at the Joule Hotel in Dallas in 2013 in front of many of Modano’s teammates and even billionaire Mark Cuban. This was Allison’s first marriage but Mike’s second, his first one being to singer Willa Ford which lasted from 2007-2012. The couple were spotted by the paparazzi in St. Barth’s on their honeymoon. The couple both share hockey in their blood because Allison’s dad is a former NHL player who then became a broadcaster for the New York Rangers.
It turns out that Mike is also an avid golfer which made their mutual love for the sport that much sweeter during their courtship. Mike was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014 and his new wife including his father-in-law was there to be supportive as much as possible. Mike is considered one of America’s greatest hockey players of all time through his 21 year career as he played for Minnesota, Dallas and Detroit- even winning a Stanley Cup with the Stars in 1999.
7 Wladimir Klitschko (Hayden Panettiere)
Child-star turned actress Hayden Panettiere was never one to shy away from age differences, especially when she dated her co-star Milo Ventimiglia who was 12 years older to her when they both starred on the hit tv show Heroes. However, within a year, the couple split and Hayden was head over heels in love with a family friend, boxer Wladimir Klitschko who she began dating in 2009. Although the couple who shared a 14 year difference were deeply in love, the travelling and hectic schedules became too much for them to stand and the eventually broke up in 2011. Hayden moved on to New York Jets player Scotty McKnight but she also broke up with him in 2012.
One thing led to another and Hayden and Wladimir were engaged in 2013. The couple welcomed their first daughter Kaya in 2014 however Hayden struggled with postpartum depression. Hayden has been very vocal about her battle with postpartum depression and she made it a point to even discuss it during an appearance on Live With Kelly & Michael. The couple have been together for over eight years and I’m sure that I’m not the only one who is excited to see the rest of their journey unfold through marriage and more kids!
6 Steve Nash (Lilla Frederick)
Relationships have been a toughie for Steve Nash even though he’s been an eight-time NBA All-Star and two-time MVP but to be honest he’s dated some of the most notable and gorgeous woman. Steve’s long list of beautiful women includes being engaged to ex-Spice Girl Geri “Ginger Spice” Halliwell, dating Elizabeth Hurley right after! Get in there! After sowing his wild oats over the years, the General Manager of the Canadian national team finally met the woman of his dreams who was not only much much younger but she also was an athlete!
Steve met 25-year-old Lilla Frederick who is an Pepperdine University alum, a junior women’s United Stated team volleyball player and she won gold at the 2008 NORCECA Women’s Junior Continental Championships…. and love was in the air! The couple took a vacation to Mallorca, Spain because Steve has a controlling share in the Real Mallorca soccer club but he did mix business with pleasure when he popped the question in 2016. Months later the two made it official when they tied the knot in an intimate ceremony in Manhattan Beach, California. In 2017, the two welcomed their first child together, a baby boy named Luca Sun who was born in West Hollywood.
5 Michael Jordan (Yvette Prieto)
Everyone and their mother knows the most successful basketball player in history with his 6 rings however, few people know that one divorce took his from a billionaire to a millionaire. Michael Jordan married Juanita in 1989 and they have three children however when she filed for divorce in 2002 there wasn’t a prenuptial agreement in place. Besides becoming a single free man, Michael also ended up significantly less rich (if that can be believed) because Juanita got $204 million as a settlement. But don’t worry this story has a happy ending for Michael Jordan. Fast-forward six years later and Mr Jordan met a gorgeous Cuban-American model by the name of Yvette Prieto at a club and everything changed that night.
The new couple moved in together in 2009 and were engaged in 2011. The couple wed at the Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in 2011 where the bride wore J’Aton Couture. It wouldn’t be a Michael Jordan wedding if Usher and Robin Thicke didn’t serenade the newlyweds for their first dance as an official married couple. In 2013, Michael and Yvette announced that they were expecting their first child together and in 2014, Mrs Jordan gave birth to two twin girls Victoria and Ysabel.
4 Derek Jeter (Hannah Davis)
When Swimsuit Illustrated model Hannah Davis met the professional baseball shortstop Derek Jeter...she didn’t even know who he was!? Even though there’s a significant age difference of close to a decade and half between the two - sparks went flying that day in 2012, when Hannah and Derek apparently met through a mutual friend when she was in New York having dinner with her Mom. Its public knowledge by now that even though they were spotted a few times together in Florida and New York, the two would try to avoid being photographed publicly and kept their relationship under wraps for the next three years. In 2015, Derek let it slip that his “fiancee” gifted him a dog for Christmas and that's how you and me and the rest of the world found out.
In May of 2015, Hannah and Derek would make their relationship official by making an appearance at the Met Ball hand-in-hand even though Hannah’s finger was missing that big rock that everyone was excited to see. The model and part owner of the Miami Marlins officially tied the knot in Napa Valley, California in front of 100 guests including friends and family in 2016. The couple welcomed their first child, a daughter named Bella in 2017.
3 Robert Kraft (Ricki Noel Lander)
What happens when the owner of one of America’s most beloved Football teams falls madly in love with an actress exactly half his age? Presenting Robert Kraft and Ricki Noel Lander! Robert’s first wife Myra passed away at the age of 68 from cancer leaving behind four sons and a heartbroken husband. Fortunately, Robert fell head over heels for Ricki who is 38 years in 2012 and the two have never looked back. Of course Robert’s friends and family have been worried about him jumping into a new relationship barely a year after his wife of 48 years passed away but I think judgement of someone’s else life is unnecessary.
Ricki is a part-time actress who has made small guest appearances in shows like Ugly Betty, True Blood, Blue Bloods and she even popped up in Ant-Man. Besides acting, she also serves on the Board of Trustees for a modern dance company and she also co-chaired the NYC Ballet Fall Fashion Gala. Ricki has also dabbled in designing where she created an NFL clothing line for women in 2014. In the fall of 2017, Ricki announced that she had a baby boy and Robert was quick to add that he wasn’t the biological father. Although he’s not actually the father, he is still with Ricki and they plan to raise the child as they shuttle back and forth between their Boston and Los Angeles homes.
2 Jerry Lawler (Lauryn McBride)
They have always been a controversial couple, most of it stems from their 39 years age difference between the American professional wrestler and commentator for WWE and his girlfriend. After three failed marriages, the latest one being his 2000 marriage to a former WWE employee Stacy Carter. For some reason Stacy was fired by the WWE and Jerry quit as a sign of protest. However, when they divorced 3 years later, Jerry went back to the WWE. Following the divorce, Lauryn and Jerry started dating hoping they found true love but truly what they courted was a lot of scandals.
In 2012, Jerry suffered a major heart attack live on air during a regular WWE broadcast In 2015 Jerry and Lauryn were in a terrible car accident where they spent four hours in the E.R. and they both suffered major concussions. The second major scandal involving the two of them occurred in 2016 when they were both arrested for assaulting one other and charged for domestic abuse. Lucky for them, the charges were shortly dropped and both continued their relationship. Lauryn has a son named Peyton from a previous marriage and Jerry has two sons, Brian and Kevin from his first marriage.
1 Bjorn Borg (Patricia Ostfeld)
Bjorn was a teen sensation when he became his professional career as a tennis player in the early 1970s earning more than a million dollars in prize money and even more millions in endorsements. He is often called the greatest athletes in history and was acknowledged as the No.1 tennis player during his career. However, the Swedish star who won close to 15 Grand Prix Super Series titles burn out by the time he was 26 and retired. Bjorn also had his fair share of relationship and dating buzz. Bjorn was 45 when he began dating real-estate agent Patricia Ostfeldt who is 11 years his junior.
Bjorn credited her with helping his reform his old ways which included excessive partying into the wee hours of the morning. Bjorn and Patricia officially tired the knot in 2002 on the archpelago island near Stockholm called Ingaro where the couple were married in an 17-century church surrounded by 130 guests. A year later in 2003, Bjorn and Patricia welcomed their first child together, Leo. Tennis clearly runs in the blood of Borg blood because in 2017, Leo Borg was named the top high-ranked tennis player in Sweden at the tender age of 14!