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Shaquille O’Neal Says He Was a ‘Serial Cheater’ and Lamented Affairs Cost Him Valuable Time With His Kids

~ OCTOBER 2022 ~

  • Shaquille O’Neal said he was a “serial cheater” and his affairs cost him valuable time with his kids.
  • O’Neal said he was “all the way down” after divorcing his ex-wife Shaunie and losing time with his six children, four of whom he had with Shaunie.
  • O’Neal, who has reconnected with his children, said the best days of his life were raising his young kids.

Shaquille O’Neal said on his podcast, “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” that he was a “serial cheater” and the affairs cost him valuable time with his kids.


The topic came up when O’Neal was asked about Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka’s one-year suspension for a reported affair with a team staffer and singer Adam Levine’s DMs to models.

O’Neal said he wouldn’t criticize Udoka because he had cheated on his ex-wife Shaunie Henderson.

“I was a serial cheater,” O’Neal said. “It would be crazy and blasphemous for me to get up here saying boom, boom, bam. I can’t do that. I know these guys personally. I know they’re going through a lot because I went through a lot … I did it. I was the best at it. I’m not proud of it. I lost my family doing it. I lost valuable, important years with my children doing it.”

O’Neal and Shaunie got married in 2002 after having a son, Shareef, and daughter, Amirah. They went on to have two more children together, a second son, Shaqir, and second daughter, named Me’arah. O’Neal also has a daughter Taahirah from a previous relationship, and Shaunie has another son, Myles, who took O’Neal’s last name.

O’Neal and Shaunie split in 2007, briefly got back together, then filed for divorce in 2009.

Shaquille O'Neal holds up the peace sign while sitting next to Shaunie O'Neal, who smiles at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards.
Shaq and Shaunie O’Neal in 2004. Image: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images


On his podcast, O’Neal said the happiest days of his life were being greeted by his young kids.

“The happiest days of my life were coming home and hearing six different people saying, ‘Daddy, daddy, daddy,'” O’Neal said. “Happiest days of my life. Forget the money, forget the cars, even the championships. Especially when they were little and 2 [years old] and 3 and didn’t really care that I missed 10, 15 free throws. They’re waiting for me after games. ‘Daddy, can we go to Universal?’ Those were the best days of my life.

“When I lost those — not gonna use the ‘D’ word, because I know a lot of people are suffering — but I was all the way down. Sometimes I’m still all the way down. Especially when I was in my house in Orlando, which is 70,000 square feet, in there by myself. Nobody. Like I built a house for the kids — gym, game room, pool house, guest house for the mom, and all that. When I lost all that by being stupid, it killed me.”

O’Neal had previously hinted at having affairs, saying on the “Pivot Podcast” in April that he wasn’t “protecting those vows.”

“I was bad. She was awesome,” O’Neal said of Shaunie. “It was all me. We don’t need to talk about what I was doing, but I wasn’t protecting her and protecting those vows. Sometimes you live that double life and get caught up. I’m not going to say it was her. It was all me.”

O’Neal said he rebounded after the divorce by realizing he still had to be a father to his kids.

Shaquille O'Neal (center) and Shaunie O'Neal (right) pose with their four children in 2018.

Shaquille O’Neal and Shaunie had four children together: Shareef, Amirah, Shaqir, and Me’Arah. Cassy Athena/Getty Images

“I may not be a husband, but I’ll always be a father, and a father’s job is to protect, provide and love,” he said.


O’Neal appears to have a good relationship with his children now, particularly his sons. Shareef spent time with the Los Angeles Lakers Summer League team and now plays in the G League. Shaqir plays basketball at Texas Southern University. O’Neal told For The Win that he advises his sons on how to make it to the NBA and the importance of finding their own path.


A version of this article originally appeared here on insider.com

Source
insider.com

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