Divorce is one of the most expensive, emotionally trying, and life changing events that a person can go through. Not only does it signify the end of a relationship between people who once loved each other, it often also comes at great financial cost. For athletes and celebrities it also means the public has a voyeuristic opportunity to pry into their private lives.
Divorce often damages the reputation of athletes that have worked hard for many years to develop a public persona. They can affect performance on the playing field and illicit outlandish responses from opposing fans and hecklers. These divorces often involve public accusations of infidelity and abuse, while sometimes children are used as bargaining tools to gain leverage.
When athletes or their spouses announce their intention to divorce, it often attracts the attention of major media outlets. The potential for a circus like atmosphere can drive some couples over the edge and invoke outrageous behavior. This article will highlight this outrageous behavior, the skyrocketing settlement sums, and the juicy details of the 20 Craziest Athlete Divorces.
20. Tim Duncan and Amy Sherrill – Undisclosed Settlement
Tim Duncan and Amy Sherrill were college sweethearts that married in 2001. After 12 years of marriage, the couple filed for divorce. It was alleged that Duncan had hired a private investigator to look into Amy’s relationship with her personal trainer. However, in typical Tim Duncan fashion, the details were never disclosed. The divorce between the five time NBA champion and his ex-wife was carried out in a secret meeting by a judge on her lunch break.
19. Ashley Cole and Cheryl Tweedy – Undisclosed Settlement
Ashley Cole and Cheryl Tweedy began their relationship in 2004 and were married two year later in 2006. The England International and the Girls Aloud pop star were one of the most beloved couples in the United Kingdom. Allegations of Ashley Cole’s extramarital affairs arose in 2008, but Ashley denied the trio of allegations and the couple remained together. In 2010, four new allegations of infidelity arose, causing Tweedy to file divorce in February. The divorce was finalized in September 2010.
18. Dwyane Wade and Siohvaughn Funches – $5 million Settlement
In 2002, Dwyane Wade married his high school sweetheart Siohvaughn Funches. Their marriage lasted five years during which time the couple had two sons. After filing for divorce in 2007 it was finally granted in 2010 after a lengthy court battle. In 2011, Wade was granted full custody of their two sons. During their court battles, Funches went through 16 different attorneys and was arrested twice. Their divorce settlement was not finalized until 2013, making the six year court battle longer than their marriage.
17. Hulk Hogan and Linda Claridge – $7.44 million cash in addition to other assets
After starring on reality show “Hogan Knows Best” for two years, Terry Bollea (Hulk Hogan) and his wife Linda filed for divorce in November 2007 after 23 years of marriage. Linda claimed that Hulk had been involved in an extramarital affair, which was revealed to be true in 2012 when a sex tape emerged. Linda would go on to date a 19 year old former classmate of her children, Brooke and Nick. Hulk has since remarried and been accepted back in the WWE fold.
16. Tony Parker and Eva Longoria – Undisclosed Settlement
Tony Parker and Eva Longoria’s marriage began with a beautiful ceremony in Paris and ended with both parties filing divorce documents. Longoria accused Parker of infidelity after reportedly finding text messages between Parker and Erin Barry, wife of former teammate Brent Barry. Longoria filed for divorce in California, while Parker filed two days later in Texas. The divorce was finalized on January 31, 2011 with an undisclosed settlement. Tony Parker has gone on to win another NBA Title and married French journalist Axelle Francine in early August.
15. Alex Rodriguez and Cynthia Scurtis -Undisclosed Settlement
Alex Rodriguez has been a controversial figure in virtually all walks of his life. His six year marriage to Cynthia Scurtis ended in September 2008, with an undisclosed settlement. This settlement included a request that all accounts of extramarital affairs be stricken from the court record. A-Rod balanced his performance enhancing drug use with extramarital affairs with a Canadian stripper, the Manhattan Madam who had Gov. Eliot Spitzer as a client, a Boston hairdresser, and Madonna. He has gone on to be romantically linked with Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, and Torrie Wilson. Rodriguez has said he does not intend to marry again.
14. Jeff Gordon and Brooke Sealey – $15.3 million Settlement
Gordon and Sealey began their relationship shortly after they met when the former Ms. Winston handed Jeff a trophy for a Busch series win. For seven years they were the power couple of NASCAR. In 2002, Sealey filed for divorce seeking the couple’s oceanfront mansion, alimony, two cars, and periodic use of their boats and airplane. In the end she was ultimately awarded $15.3 million. Jeff would go on to marry Ingrid Vandebosch in 2006.
13. Lance Armstrong and Kristin Richard – $14 million Settlement
Lance Armstrong and Kristin Richard were married in 1998, after meeting following Armstrong’s 1996 battle with cancer. The couple were able to have three children using sperm Armstrong had banked before his cancer treatment. During his streak of seven consecutive Tour de France wins, Armstrong divorced Richard in 2003. Armstrong then angered many when he publicly began a relationship with singer Sheryl Crow. He also had all of his Tour de France wins nullified after it was revealed he used performance enhancing drugs throughout his cycling career.
12. Greg Norman and Laura Andrassy – $105 million settlement
After 27 years together Greg Norman and Laura Andrassy decided to end their 25 year marriage in 2006. The couple vowed to remain friends, however shortly after their divorce, Norman was romantically linked with former tennis pro Chris Evert. Norman and Evert’s eventual marriage lasted only 15 months before again ending in divorce for the Great White Shark. The divorce from his first marriage cost him $105 million.
11. Mike Tyson and Robin Givens – $10 million Settlement
Mike Tyson and Robin Givens’ marriage only lasted one year and one week, but in that time they generated dozens of tabloid headlines. Givens was an actress famous for her work in “Head of the Class” and the marriage was carried out without a prenuptial agreement. Givens accused Tyson of spousal abuse and mental instability, while Tyson alleged that Givens conspired with her mother to take millions from Tyson. During their brief marriage the couple gave a joint interview to Barbara Walters in which Givens described the marriage as “torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could ever imagine.” Their marriage also gave the world a great story about Givens’ alleged infidelity with Brad Pitt.
10. Michael Strahan and Jean Muggli – $15 million Settlement
In 1999, Michael Strahan and Jean Muggli married. Their marriage lasted until 2006 when the couple had a very ugly divorce. Following a dispute, Jean called the police to their mansion with allegations that Strahan had threatened her. Michael countered by filing for divorce along with allegations that Muggli had withdrawn $3 million from their joint accounts. Strahan was ordered to pay a $15.3 million settlement in addition to $18,000 per month in child support for the couple’s twin daughters. After a further dispute, a judge eventually ordered the couple to auction their Montclair, NJ mansion and divide the proceeds.
9. Shaquille O’Neal and Shaunie Nelson – Undisclosed Settlement
Shaquille O’Neal and Shaunie Nelson were married on December 26, 2002. They would go on to have four children together. Shaq filed for divorce in 2007 in a Miami-Dade circuit court, but later withdrew the application. Two years later in 2009, Shaunie filed for divorce in California. Shaunie elicited a larger settlement for her divorce by encouraging Vanessa Lopez to make her affair with Shaq public. The terms of their divorce were undisclosed. Shaq now works as an analyst for TNT, while Shaunie has appeared on and produced several seasons of Basketball Wives.
8. Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian – Undisclosed Settlement
In 2010, Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian began their public relationship. The couple were married in August 2011 as part of a two part television special which detailed the preparations and the eventual nuptials. On October 31, 2011, Kim Kardashian filed for divorce in a California court. Despite the marriage lasting only 72 days and both parties having prenuptial agreements, the divorce proceedings continued until June 2013. Humphries hoped to have the marriage annulled and described the marriage as a “publicity stunt.”
7. Nick Faldo and Valerie Bercher, Gill Bennett, and Melanie Rockall – Estimated $20 Million Settlement
Nick Faldo has been married three times, with each ending in divorce. He first married Rockall in 1979 and divorced her in 1984 after it was revealed he had been having an affair with his manager’s secretary, Gill Bennett. Faldo would go on to marry Bennett in 1986 and the couple would have three children. Their divorce in 1995 cost Faldo a $4.7 mansion, a $6.3 million payoff, and a $790,000 pension for Bennett’s work with Faldo’s charitable foundation. Faldo then married Valerie Bercher in 2001 and divorced her in 2006 in a settlement that was not disclosed.
6. Chuck Finley and Tawny Kitaen – Undisclosed Settlement
After five years of marriage, Chuck Finley filed for divorce from Tawny Kitaen three days after an incident of domestic abuse. According to the police report, Kitaen was arrested for attacking Finley with a stiletto heel. The former video vixen fired back with allegations of Finley’s steroid and marijuana use, cross dressing, and binge drinking. The divorce ended in an undisclosed settlement. Kitaen has gone on to appear on reality shows “The Surreal Life” and “Celebrity Rehab.”
5. Martin Brodeur and Melanie DuBois – $9 Million and Child Support
Martin Brodeur and Melanie DuBois were married in 1995. The couple had four children together and everything appeared to be happy. That is until the 2003 playoffs when DuBois filed for divorce from Brodeur alleging he had an affair with her sister-in-law. The affair was confirmed when years later, he married the sister-in-law Genevieve Nault in 2008. DuBois was compensated with a $9 million settlement and a judge ordered Brodeur to pay $500,000 per year in child support until 2020.
4. Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe – Undisclosed Settlement
Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe got hitched in San Francisco on January 14, 1956. Their marriage would be one of the most storied in Hollywood and sports history despite lasting only 274 days. They publically had disagreements following the infamous skirt blowing scene for the Seven Year Itch and a yelling battle in a theater lobby. They soon divorced for an undisclosed settlement. However their love affair was not over and resumed again following Monroe’s marriage to Arthur Miller. Following her eventual suicide, DiMaggio claimed her body and arranged her funeral. On his deathbed in 1999, it was reported that DiMaggio’s final words were “I’ll finally get to see Marilyn.”
3. Jason Kidd and Joumana Samaha – Undisclosed Settlement
Jason and Joumana were married in 1997 and had three children together. In 2001, Jason was arrested for domestic abuse and was ordered to attend anger management classes. The couple reconciled, but ultimately separated after ten years of marriage. Jason filed the application for divorce citing “extreme cruelty over a long period of time” in 2007 after 10 years of marriage. The application also cited an incident where Joumana used the couple’s son to gain access to the New Jersey Nets locker room. She then left her son in the locker room, while she went courtside to heckle and insult her husband.
2. Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy – $168 million Settlement
Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy were married in September 1989 after first meeting at a Chicago restaurant. After having three children together, Juanita filed for divorce in 2002, but withdrew her petition shortly after. After attempting to reconcile, their divorce was finalized on December 29, 2006, with Juanita receiving a $168 million settlement in addition to their $7 million Chicago mansion as well as custody of their three children. At the time it was the largest celebrity divorce settlement in history. Jordan went on to become owner of the Charlotte Bobcats and has since remarried.
1. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren – $100 million Settlement
On November 25, 2009, The National Enquirer published a story that accused Tiger Woods of having an extramarital affair. Two days later, Woods crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant, tree, and several hedges. This began a tailspin for Tiger Woods, in which the media unveiled the length and breadth of his infidelity which ranged from porn stars to Perkins waitresses. This scandal caused Tiger to put his golf career on hold and cost him sponsorship agreements with AT&T, Tag Heuer, Gatorade, Accenture, and General Motors. Elin and Tiger now share custody of their two children and live 25 minutes apart from each other in South Florida.
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