The marital union between Shaquille and Shaunie O’Neal had only been five years gone in late 2017 before the first signs of trouble began to surface. Despite the marriage being at an early stage, Shaquille had filed for divorce for very shocking reasons. He would, however, withdraw the application and the couple would remain together for two extra years until their union hit rocks again. This time, it was Shaunie who wanted out, and there was no going back.
Almost a decade later, the circumstances leading up to the split of a fantastic sports couple remains a mystery to many fans and followers alike. Not anymore. This piece bares it all about what really caused the divorce. We also feed you with never-before-seen details about Shaunie O’Neal and her five lovely kids. Let’s see!
Who is Shaunie O’Neal?
Shaunie O’Neal is an American businesswoman, TV personality, and an executive producer of major reality TV series including Baller Wives, Basketball Wives, and Basketball Wives LA. She was born as Va’shaundya Karlette Nelson on 27th November 1974, in Wichita Falls, Texas, USA. Although there are hardly any details chronicling her early life and education, we know she spent the first ten years of her life in Wichita Falls until her parents relocated to Los Angeles. After high school, O’Neal proceeded to the University of Southern California where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1997.
While it’s not clear what O’Neal did right after college, it’s no secret that she found interest in the show business and pitched her tent in that arena. She was the brains behind the creation of the widely-followed reality TV show titled Basketball Wives. More so, O’Neal appeared on the show as well. The show, among other things, features the lives of women who are or have been married to or dated professional NBA players. Perhaps one feature that fans never fail to acknowledge about the Texas-born beauty is her imposing personality which, for many, seems to stand her out of the pack.
Over the years, however, that feature has backfired in a way, earning her a sizeable number of critics. But before we get to that, we must tell you about an important aspect of her life that even qualified her to be on the show in the first place. You guessed it, her marriage.
How She Met Shaquille O’Neal
Before meeting Shaquille O’Neal (a.k.a Shaq), Shaunie was a film marketer. Though the couple has hardly spoken about their love story. We have reasons to believe that they had met years before they tied the knot. According to sources, the two had been together since the mid-1990s. By the time they were getting married on the boxing day of 2002, they had children already. Well, two out of those were from previous relationships. Theirs was a pretty private wedding attended by close friends and relatives in Beverly Hills Hotel.
Who Are Her Children?
Together, the O’Neals had four children. Although they had a child each from their previous relationships. For Shaunie, she had her first child, Myles, with her former boyfriend on May 8, 1997. Shaquille, on the other hand, had a daughter, Taahirah (July 18, 1996), with his former girlfriend, Arnetta Yardbourgh.
Together, Shaquille and Shaunie had their first child, a son they christened Shareef Rashaun O’Neal (b. January 11, 2000). After getting married, the couple had their second child together, a daughter named Amirah Sanaa O’Neal (b. November 13, 2001). Then came their second son, Shaquir Rashaun O’Neal (b. April 19, 2003). On May 1, 2006, they welcomed their second daughter, Me’arah Sanaa O’Neal.
Like his father, Shareef has gone the way of basketball and now plays for the LSU Tigers. Shaquir also plays basketball for his high school team at Crossroads School, Santa Monica. Me’arah plays basketball for the female team at the same school as her brother. She is also a reality TV star like her mom; featuring in VH1’s Shaunie’s Home Court. Amirah O’Neal is also a reality TV personality and plays basketball on the Crossroads School team. Taahirah, the oldest of the O’Neal kids isn’t so much into basketball like the rest of her siblings. So far, she has a BA in sociology from Oglethorpe University, Atlanta, Georgia. Taahirah works to raise funds for charity organizations in Houston, Texas, where she now lives.
Their Split: How Did It Begin?
The year was 2007. The O’Neals had been married for five years already. But their relationship history was almost twice that. Shaquille had reportedly filed for divorce from hi wife. His reason? Shaunie had not been open enough about her finances. According to the NBA star, his wife should know more than to keep her assets and earnings a secret from her own husband. The story didn’t add up to most fans. Back then, Shaquille was earning no less than a whopping $20 million annually. So, why the fuss? Well, we may never know why.
Shortly after that, the marriage got back to shape and the divorce papers soon disappeared. But that was only temporal as two years later, their marriage took a major hit and this time, it was Shaunie who wanted out. Her reasons? “Irreconcilable differences”. According to sources, it all bordered on infidelity. Though it was not clear who Shaquille was cheating with, Shaunie had everything in place to call it quits. Two years was all it took to wind up their union and Shaunie had won custody of all their five children. Shaquille, on the other hand, was obligated to pay heavily in child(ren) support; after making Shaunie sign an agreement not to go public about their divorce on her Basketball Wives show. It would be years later, in his memoir, that Shaquille will own up to his faults. He admits ruining their union by being unfaithful to his wife.
Today, both Shaquille and Shaunie share a cordial relationship. They hang out with their children from time to time. Nevertheless, the couple has since moved on to other matters of greater concern.
What Has Shaunie O’Neal Been Doing Since Their Divorce?
Since their divorce, Shaunie O’Neal has continued featuring on her several TV shows. The reality shows highlight several issues about being a basketball wife. From parenting to self-esteem. As of this writing, Shaunie is working on the production of another program Let’s Talk About It. This time, she works with other organizations to address issues relating to women and empowerment. She has also launched her footwear collection which involves a partnership with the company, Chinese Laundry. Her nicely designed shoes cost between $79.95 to $200 a pair.
Also, Shaunie O’Neal isn’t backing out on love. She has also tried moving on to a new relationship with the young model, Marlon Yates. However, after dating for six years, their relationship hit rocks. This is the last known relationship she been in so far.