Home/NBA

via Imago

Having affairs and being accused of stealing money-all types of things people were saying,” were Shaunie Henderson’s words when talking about her situation after parting ways with Shaquille O’Neal. After 9 years of marriage, the two divorced in 2011. But for years next, she couldn’t escape the heartbreak and accusations that continued to follow her.

And that dragged on until O’Neal confessed his mistakes just a month before the 49-year-old’s second marriage to Pastor Keion Henderson. The mother of four emotionally detailed her feelings and expressed her gratitude for her ex-husband doing the needful. 

In her first-ever memoir, “Undefeated, Changing the Rules and Winning on My Own Terms,” Henderson spoke about O’Neal’s public apology and wrote, “Finally, about a month before Keion and I got married, Shaquille was a guest on a podcast where he confessed that I was the best thing that ever happened to him, had been the perfect wife and mom, and that it had been his fault that our marriage ended. It was a nice gesture, even if it came twelve years too late, and I appreciated it.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

In April 2023, the 4x NBA Champion made an appearance on ‘The Pivot Podcast’ and admitted that their relationship fell apart because of his mistakes. Shaq said, “I was bad… It was all me. She was awesome, she really was. It was all me.” In his words, more recently, the 4X NBA champion admitted that he was at fault for not seeing the gifted life before him. Shaq said, “Shaunie was also a perfect woman, and I messed it up. I was living the good life.” 

The two first met each other in 1996 and tied the knot in a top-secret ceremony in 2002, after having welcomed two children. “The event of a lifetime,” Shaq’s mother had called it as they went on to build a family of six. However, in the process, love had evaded the two. Shaq admitted he wasn’t the best of partners to Shaunie whose aims were focused on making a name and earning money.

It was in 2007 that he first filed for divorce under a ‘confidential’ agreement but of what was revealed, Shaunie was stated to have been ‘secretive of her assets’. Getting past it nonetheless, the Basketball Wives producer stepped in to dismiss the claims and mend their relationship, which, however, adorning its fruits and weeds, ultimately fell through in 2011. 

This long process of heartbreak wasn’t easy for Shaunie. “Irreconcilable differences,” was the reason stated for the split but accusations of being a thief followed her along mercilessly. 

Shaunie Henderson initially thought dating Pastor Keion would be boring

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

In 2011, Shaq’s memoir hinted that the couple had struggled with infidelity. Adding that to the reasons for the divorce did not help with Henderson’s peace. So when the NBA star confessed, the first lady of the church was grateful for the gesture. However, she detailed how every effort she made to prove herself right wasn’t even considered in the past. 

People didn’t want to hear her opinion. Speaking of the ordeal, the producer opened up about her struggles and said, “I had to live with the embarrassment and hope that over time people would slowly forget about it. I had to endure going to the stylist or the store and over hear people saying vicious, false things about me behind my back.”

On her VH1 show, Shaunie & Keion’s Destination “I Do”, she admitted that she wanted him to take a stand for her when she was struggling. While she wished that it had happened sooner, Henderson is content to have finally gotten her apology. However, she found love again in 2020. It all began when Pastor Keion was invited to preach in San Bernardino, which later turned into an impromptu date. Shaunie said, We had this great conversation that ended up being five or six hours to where we got kicked out of the regular restaurant into the lobby.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

However, she also expressed that since she grew up in the church and had seen how pastors are, Shaunie was not sure how this relationship would work out. In an interview, she revealed, “I’ve never dated a pastor before or preacher. First of all, I thought it was going to be really boring. I didn’t think that you (Keion) would be fun. I didn’t think that your lifestyle really allowed you to be the kind of fun that I like…”

Keion admitted that he also was looking for someone who could understand him and “Somebody who could let me access that side of me without feeling judged.” The CEO Of Amirah Inc. is now happily married to Keion Henderson, upon wedding whom, she admitted, “thought I would never in my lifetime experience a love like this.” A love, she believes was false in her relationship with Shaq.