Shaquille O'Neal and Ex Shaunie's Relationship Timeline

From basketball royalty to cooperative co-parents, here’s a complete look at Shaquille and his ex Shaunie O’Neal’s relationship over the years

Shaquille O'Neal and wife Shaunie O'Neal at Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night XIV at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa on April 5, 2008 in Scottsdale, Arizona
Photo: Michael Caulfield/WireImage

Shaquille O'Neal had a Hall of Fame-worthy professional basketball career, spanning two decades and six NBA teams. But when it comes to his personal life, the 7-ft., 1-in. center said he has his "regrets" — specifically, the end of his seven-year marriage to Shaunie O'Neal, who has since remarried.

Shaq and Shaunie's relationship began in the late 1990s after he joined the Los Angeles Lakers. Over the years, the couple "had it all," according to the former professional athlete: An extravagant Beverly Hills wedding, six children, a 31,000-square foot Florida home.

"I had the perfect situation," Shaq said of his relationship with the Basketball Wives star. But the couple would eventually split twice: first in 2007 and again in 2009.

"You know when you get older, you try to think about the mistakes that you made that could have been avoided. Divorce is definitely one of them," the basketball legend said when reflecting on his past with Shaunie.

From the early days of their relationship to their current co-parenting status — and all the ups and downs in between — here is a complete look at Shaquille and Shaunie O'Neal's relationship.

July 1996: Shaquille leaves the Orlando Magic for the Los Angeles Lakers — where he eventually meets film marketer Shaunie

Shaquille O'Neal and Shaunie

After four years with the Orlando Magic, Shaq departed the team for the Los Angeles Lakers. Not only did the deal bring him $120 million over seven years, but the move would also introduce him to his future wife, film marketer Shaunie Nelson.

Shaunie later revealed that Shaq was the first NBA player she ever dated. "Shaquille was the very first athlete that I dated, and I grew up in L.A.," she told Houston radio station Majic 102.1.

January 11, 2000: Shaquille and Shaunie welcome their first child together

After more than two years of dating, Shaq and Shaunie welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Shareef Rashaun.

"I don't talk about my personal life, but yes, I am a proud father," Shaq said about the birth of his son following a Lakers game against the Minnesota Timberwolves days on Jan. 16, 2000.

Shaq was already a father to a daughter, Taahirah (born in 1996 with his ex-girlfriend Arnetta Yardbourgh), while Shaunie previously welcomed a son, Myles, in 1997.

November 13, 2001: Shaunie gives birth to her and Shaquille's second child

On Nov. 13, 2001, Shaq and Shaunie welcomed a baby girl, Amirah Sanaa O'Neal, to their growing family. Shaq missed practice with the Lakers following the birth of his daughter — and was fined by the team's head coach Phil Jackson as a result.

"That fine?" Shaq said when asked about the incident. "That [expletive] knows what he can do with that fine."

But Jackson insisted there was no strife between coach and player. "You know, there never was anything," Jackson said to the Los Angeles Times. "Between the two of us, there's been communication. Obviously, Shaq went through a long week, with a birth [of his daughter], and his coach fining him, flying in late hours and his hard work."

December 26, 2002: Shaquille and Shaunie wed in a top-secret ceremony

Shaquille O'Neal and wife Shaunie during The Usher - Motorola Party at Shore Club in Miami, Florida, United States

Shaq and his longtime-girlfriend Shaunie married in an ultra-private ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hotel — complete with security guards and dogs blocking onlookers and press from the ballroom.

The Lakers' star kept details about the nuptials hush from their 248 guests until the last possible moment. "Since we didn't find out until the last minute what was going on, I didn't know it was black tie," fellow Laker Brian Shaw said.

But all of the secrecy paid off, with Shaq's mother Lucille calling the wedding "the event of a lifetime."

"Seeing the two of them together and in love is what every mother dreams of for her child," she told PEOPLE.

April 19, 2003: Shaquille and Shaunie welcome baby number three

Another baby, another basketball season: Shaunie gave birth in the middle of the NBA playoffs to the couple's third child together, a son named Shaqir Rashaun. The baby boy weighed 7 lbs., 14 oz. and was 23 inches long, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Doctors attempted to induce Shaunie earlier in the week so that Shaq would not miss a playoff game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but were unsuccessful. The Lakers center ended up missing a practice and team flight due to the birth, but was able to take a private jet to make the game.

"He's certainly got a lot in his personal life that has to be attended to," Lakers coach Jackson said. "We're really happy for the delivery of a child ... and that everyone's safe and sound and can go forward from there."

March 16, 2006: Shaquille and Shaunie announce they're expecting again

On March 16, 2006, PEOPLE confirmed that the couple was expecting a baby girl, their fourth child together.

Shaq and Shaunie celebrated the upcoming addition to their family with an elaborate Miami Beach baby shower, complete with everything from pampering to poker.

Celebrity party planner Mindy Weiss put together the event for the couple. Manicures, pedicures, massages and knitting lessons were all available for guests to indulge in — as well as tables for people to play blackjack, craps and poker. Guests were also gifted Wendy Bellissimo diaper bags as party favors.

"What most people don't know about (O'Neal) is what a great dad he is," Weiss told PEOPLE. "He loves having lots of children, and I think he'd like to have more. But they've decided this is their last one, since they now will have six children."

May 1, 2006: Shaquille and Shaunie welcome their fourth child together

Just hours after Shaq played in a NBA playoff game against the Chicago Bulls, he rushed back to Miami to witness the birth of his fourth child with Shaunie — a girl named Me'arah Sanaa O'Neal.

"My wife, Shaunie, and I had another beautiful baby girl, Me'arah Sanaa," Shaq said in a statement. "Each child that we have adds another lifetime of joy to our lives. Family is extremely important to me, so I was overcome with extreme happiness when Me'arah arrived healthy and beautiful."

March 27, 2007: Shaquille and Shaunie celebrate his 35th birthday in Miami

Shaquille O'Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers and wife Shaunie Nelson arrive for the 1st Annual Palms Casino Royale to benefit the Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation on April 8, 2004 at Barker Hanger, Santa Monica, California
Doug Benc/Getty

Shaq and Shaunie rang in the then-Miami Heat center's 35th birthday with an over-the-top party at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Miami — complete with a giant cake with sparklers, a performance by Ludacris and a fireworks display.

Shaq and Shaunie partied with friends (including Star Jones and several Miami Heat players) until nearly 5 a.m. "This party was exactly how I envisioned it," Shaunie told PEOPLE.

"If everyone is happy – my wife, my children – then I'm happy," O'Neal told PEOPLE. "I have pretty much everything I need."

September 5, 2007: Shaquille files for divorce from wife Shaunie

After nearly five years of marriage, Shaq filed for divorce from his wife Shaunie in Miami.

The petition, which was filed by Shaq's lawyer Ira Elegant, read that "the marriage between the parties is irretrievably broken."

Shaq's coach at the time, Pat Reilly from the Miami Heat, said he was "devastated" by the news of the couple's split.

"I'm really saddened by the news," Riley said in a radio interview on 790 the Ticket. "But he will work it out — they will work it out, as most people do."

October 9, 2007: Shaunie seeks to dismiss Shaquille's divorce and reconcile

In response to Shaq's divorce petition, Shaunie filed a court motion to dismiss the filing. In the motion, she requested a three-month continuance in hopes of repairing their marriage, according to court documents obtained by Extra.

Shaunie also denied that their marriage was irretrievably broken, as Shaq stated in his petition. She refuted claims that she had been secretive about her assets, as the divorce filing stated, and insisted she had "nothing to hide."

August 15, 2008: Shaquille and Shaunie call off their divorce

NBA player Shaquille O'Neal (right) and his wife Shaunie O'Neal arrive to the 2007 ESPY Awards at the Kodak Theatre on July 11, 2007 in Hollywood, California
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Nearly a year after Shaq filed for divorce in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, Shaunie told the Associated Press that she and her husband planned to stop divorce proceedings.

"Neither one of us could probably answer why we were getting one in the first place," Shaunie said.

"Things have been going so great, that someone actually had to remind us that 'Hey, you do remember those papers are still there.' Literally, it was days ago," Shaunie added. "So, we've agreed that before we leave Florida we'll make sure that that's gone away."

March 5, 2009: Shaquille and Shaunie celebrate his 37th birthday

Shaq and Shaunie were spotted in Miami celebrating the NBA star's 37th birthday at the Sagamore Hotel. The duo also spent the week visiting friends and took a drive by the Star Island home they lived in when Shaq played for the Miami Heat.

"They were in good spirits and happy to see their Miami friends," a source told PEOPLE.

November 10, 2009: Shaunie files for separation from Shaquille

Shaunie sought to end her seven-year marriage with Shaq when she filed for separation in Los Angeles, citing irreconcilable differences.

She filed for sole custody of the couple's four children together, with visitation allowed for Shaq, according to the court papers. She stated she will eventually seek a divorce.

March 11, 2010: Shaquille and Shaunielreach a settlement in their divorce

After months of proceedings across both California and Florida, Shaq and Shaunie reached an agreement on all terms of the divorce — including property, custody and support, Shaunie's lawyer Sorrell Trope told TMZ.

Trope said the California courts (where Shaunie originally filed) would handle issues related to child custody. The Florida courts would be in charge of finalizing the divorce, as well as handling any issues surrounding property division and spousal support.

April 19, 2010: Shaunie talks about her life post-divorce from Shaquille

Shaquille O'Neal and wife Shaunie Nelson arrives at the Warner Bros. premiere of "Superman Returns" held at the Mann Village Theater on June 21, 2006 in Westwood, California
Frederick M. Brown/Getty

The decision to end her marriage to Shaq did not come easy for Shaunie, she revealed in an interview with PEOPLE.

"I had a fear of being by myself and being responsible for so much on my own," she said.

But once she filed in November 2009, "it was like a weight lifted off of me," Shaunie said. "It's a good feeling to know that I'm able to give my kids more and be a better person to be around."

Speaking of her relationship with Shaq since then, Shaunie revealed that things between the two had never been better — and that they speak daily. "Once you let things go, they don't make you mad anymore," she said.

November 17, 2011: Shaquille opens up about the end of his marriage with Shaunie

In his memoir Shaq Uncut: My Story, Shaq discussed what led his seven-year marriage with ex-wife Shaunie to come to an end. The recently-retired NBA star admitted to infidelity and not being the "best partner" to his former spouse.

"At one time my ex-wife Shaunie and I were happy, but I admit it — I was a guy," Shaq wrote. "I was a guy with too many options. Choosing to be with some of those women, well, that's on me. In my mind, I never did it disrespectfully, but obviously I shouldn't have done it all."

The athlete added: "You know as well as I do relationships are about maintaining ... It wasn't the big stuff, it was the small stuff, and that's my fault. I had things to do. I was trying to win, trying to make some money. I admit I wasn't the best partner. I just didn't know how. I'm learning now."

January 27, 2020: Shaquille and Shaunie both mourn the loss of Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant

Both Shaq and Shaunie shared sentimental posts on Instagram following the helicopter crash that killed Shaq's longtime Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.

"There's no words to express the pain I'm going through now with this tragic and sad moment of loosing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie," O'Neal wrote on Instagram. "I love you brother and you will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW !"

Shaunie shared a photo of Kobe and Gianna from just a day before the crash.

"Yesterday," she wrote on her Instagram Stories alongside the snap — which appeared to show Bryant and his daughter as they watched Shaunie and Shaq's 13-year-old daughter Me'arah on the court — alongside the hashtags "long live Gigi" and "long live Kobe."

February 8, 2021: Shaquille compliments his children's mothers — including Shaunie — on parenting in a pandemic

Shareef O'Neal (L) poses with Shaquille O'Neal (C) and Shaunie O'Neal (R) as he celebrates 18th birthday party at West Coast Customs on January 13, 2018 in Burbank, California
Cassy Athena/Getty

When it came to parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic, Shaq gave all the credit to the mothers of his six children — including Shaunie.

"I have six wonderful kids," the athlete said on an episode of the PEOPLE Every Day podcast. "Not a lot of discipline is needed. Their mothers did wonderful, beautiful jobs of that."

"My job is just keeping them into the game, have fun," he added. "You just have to mix it up as a dad … you just have to have fun with them an hour, rest, have fun with them an hour, rest. Then you also got to give them a space to let them do their own thing."

March 12, 2021: Shaunie discusses her "great co-parenting relationship" with Shaquille

In an appearance on the Tamron Hall Show, Shaunie opened up about her relationship with the former NBA star — specifically how they parent their four children together.

"We have a great co-parenting relationship, seriously," Shaunie told host Tamron Hall. "It took us a long time to get there — don't get me wrong, it was not an easy journey — but once we got there, and I think we felt comfortable being honest with each other and just sharing what was going on in our lives, in our personal lives to a certain extent."

Beyond co-parenting, Shaunie also spoke about their relationship since their split in 2009: "I think we both support each other. I used to tease him and be like, 'Could you please hurry up and get a wife? And then you could stop, you know, randomly FaceTiming me and talking about your day? Like ... get a girlfriend or something."

November 11, 2021: Shaunie gets engaged to boyfriend, Pastor Keion Henderson — and ex Shaquille approves

After nearly two years of dating, Shaunie and her boyfriend Pastor Keion Henderson became engaged during a trip to an undisclosed tropical island.

"This was one of the most magical and special days of my life, being someone that had never officially been proposed to — like no down on one knee and asked 'will you marry me' moment," Shaunie said in a statement to PEOPLE. "And honestly I'm the person that thought I would never in my lifetime experience a love like this. Everything about that night was incredibly amazing."

Later, Shaq congratulated his former wife on her new fiancé. "She's happy now," O'Neal said in an episode of The Pivot Podcast. "She's about to marry a fine, young gentleman and I'm happy for her."

April 19, 2022: Shaquille says he blames himself for his divorce from Shaunie

Shaquille O'Neal and wife Shaunie Nelson during 2004 MTV Video Music Awards - Red Carpet at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, United States
Chris Polk/FilmMagic

Nearly 13 years after his divorce from ex-wife Shaunie, Shaq revealed on an episode of The Pivot Podcast that he blames himself for the end of their marriage.

"I was bad," Shaq said of his behavior during their relationship. "She was awesome. She really was. It was all me … I wasn't protecting her and protecting those vows."

"Sometimes when you live that double life, you get caught up. I'm not going to say it was her; it was all me," Shaq added. "She did exactly what she was supposed to do and gave me beautiful kids, take care of the house, take care of the corporate stuff. It was just all me. Sometimes, when you make a lot of mistakes like that, you can't really come back from that."

Shaq also revealed he felt "lost" after his ex-wife and children moved out of their Orlando mansion.

"Seventy-six thousand square foot house by yourself, lost. No kids, go to the gym, nobody's playing in the gym. Go to their room, nobody's there," he said. "I was just being greedy."

May 28, 2022: Shaunie marries Henderson

On May 28, 2022, Shaunie tied the knot with fiancé Henderson in a tropical island ceremony. About 200 guests attended the romantic outdoor wedding at the Aurora Anguilla Resort and Golf Club. With the help of her three sons, she walked down the aisle in a sparkling gown by Jean Louis Sabajai in partnership with fashion stylist Eric Archibald.

Shaunie's five children were in attendance, and the bride told PEOPLE their support was "everything" and that her family is a "package deal" when it comes to her relationships.

"He's been amazing to just step into our lives and fill a void that's been there for a minute in a space of just being here with me, cause I haven't had somebody," she said. "They love him which makes me love him even more."

November 2022: Shaquille admits he was a "d--khead" to Shaunie during their marriage

The legendary former NBA player reflected on his marriage to Shaunie in his November PEOPLE cover story.

"I was a d--khead," he said. "You don't know how good you got something till it's gone."

"And guess what? It's your fault," he said of himself. "I was living the good life."

Shaq went on to add that a quiet house, which was normally filled with his five kids and various other relatives, made the divorce even more unbearable.

"Second day. Third day. Fourth day… forever. The silence starts to get to you," he said.

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