Michael Jordan, Wife to Divorce After 17 Years
It’s game over for Michael Jordan and his wife: The couple filed for divorce Friday after 17 years of marriage.
“Michael and Juanita Jordan mutually and amicably decided to end their 17-year marriage,” the couple’s lawyers said in a statement. “A judgment for dissolution of their marriage was entered today. There will be no further statements.”
The former Chicago Bulls star, 43, and his wife met at a restaurant in Chicago and wed in Las Vegas on Sept. 2, 1989. They have three children: Jeffrey, Marcus and Jasmine.
Their marriage had shown signs of trouble before: Juanita Jordan filed for divorce in January 2002, but the couple announced a month later they were trying to reconcile and she withdrew her petition.
During that previous divorce petition, Jordan said efforts to save the marriage had failed and future ones “would be impractical and not in the best interests of the family,” the Associated Press reports.
Still, some friends were surprised by Friday’s announcement. “I’m shocked and disappointed that their marriage didn’t work,” family friend Les Coney, whose son played basketball with the Jordans’ oldest son, Jeffrey, tells PEOPLE. “I think they’re wonderful people and I have no doubt they’ll be putting their kids first.”
Coney says the divorce was especially shocking given that the Jordans had spent so much time together in recent days. On Dec. 23, the attended their son’s basketball game and later sat together in a box to watch the Bulls play the Bobcats in Chicago.
“You read about women wanting his attention. But grown men and children do too,” Coney says. “He’s a magnet. He hasn’t played basketball in five years, but still, people stop and take pictures and ask for autographs. Marriage is hard for any couple, and if you add celebrity to that, it’s even harder.”
The Jordans were never prone to public displays of affection. “But they clearly communicate,” says Coney. “When Juanita couldn’t get the stereo to work, he’s the first person she called. And Michael was right there.”