Shaunie O’Neal, Shaq’s estranged wife, is giving her account as an NBA spouse.
Shaunie revealed to Essence magazine that things in her marriage to Shaq began to go bad when he was traded to Miami. For starters, she claims, groupies played their game on a whole different level, showing up to games in such skimpy clothes that they may as well have been sitting in their bra and panties.
“Miami is a great city. It just wasn’t a great city for our marriage,” she said. “It was a whole new lifestyle I wasn’t ready for. Apparently we didn’t have a strong enough foundation for Shaq to withstand that type of temptation.”
When he could no longer resist the temptation, Shaunie would confront Shaq about his infidelity, and his response to getting busted was different every time.
“He would deny it sometimes, and other times he would ask, ‘You got pictures? Video? If not, don’t come at me because you have no proof,’” Shaunie recalled. “He’d say, ‘Okay, you’re mad. Now what? You’re not going anywhere.’”
As we know now, Shaq was wrong that point because Shaunie left him late last year and moved to Los Angeles. But since the split, she said things have gotten better between the estranged pair.
“We are becoming friends, and it’s nice because it’s something we really lacked in our marriage” she said. “I enjoy being able to talk openly to him, and I think we both learned a lot from each other during this time.”
Now Shaunie is about to teach VH1 viewers what life as a basketball wife is really like in her new reality show, “Basketball Wives,” premiering April 11.
— Sonya Eskridge