Sports Star Relationships With Uncomfortable Age Gaps

The following article includes brief references to addiction and domestic abuse allegations.

Sports stars often have it easy when it comes to attracting beautiful women. With tons of fans watching them on the field or on the court, there's never a shortage of gorgeous women interested in dating an athlete. Sometimes these women just so happen to be young ... very young. People may turn their noses up at May-December romances, but, as they say, the heart wants what the heart wants.

Though many popular athletes were once married to women with whom they were close in age, some left those marriages behind to begin relationships with younger women who captured their hearts. Surprisingly, many of these relationships have continued to blossom throughout the years. Apparently, the massive age gaps just couldn't stop these older athletes and their young partners from falling more deeply in love.

These athletes' relationships are proof that love knows no bounds. From professional wrestlers to basketball players and tennis legends, here are a few sports star relationships with uncomfortable age gaps.

Derek Jeter's young wife is an 'old soul'

Once upon a time, Derek Jeter was one of the sports world's most eligible bachelors. He dated everyone from Mariah Carey to Jessica Biel, though no one locked him down for long. But the former New York Yankees star changed his relationship status from single to taken when he met Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Hannah Davis in 2012. Despite their 16-year age difference, a source told Us Weekly, "Their relationship works because they are both supportive and sweet to each other ... They almost never fight." Perhaps they get along so well because Davis is more mature than what her age would suggest. A family friend told the New York Post, "Her mom told me, when Hannah was about 16, that she was an 'old soul' ... She definitely has a wisdom beyond her years."

The couple later tied the knot in 2016 when Davis was 26 and Jeter was 42. The nuptials took place in an intimate ceremony in St. Helena, California. Since then, the couple has welcomed three daughters to the world –  Bella Raine, born in 2017, Story Grey, born two years later, and in 2021, River Rose joined the family. During an appearance on "The Tonight Show," Jeter revealed that their girls had turned their lives upside down — in the best possible way. "Controlled chaos is the best way to put it," he joked. "... They do my nails, my toenails, makeup, lipstick. And ... it's the greatest thing." 

Julius Erving married his much younger mistress

Professional basketball player Julius Erving's philandering past is no secret. The athlete wrote all about it in the pages of his autobiography, "Dr. J" (via Daily Mail), spilling the tea on his own womanizing ways. As he explained, the Hall of Famer was married to his then-wife, Turquoise Brown, at the height of his career. The couple had four children together, but that apparently didn't stop his wandering eye. Having cheated multiple times, Erving would father not one but two children outside of his marriage to Turquoise. 

The first child was the product of an affair he had with a woman named Samantha Stevenson, which resulted in the birth of their daughter, tennis player Alexander. His second child conceived outside of his marriage to Brown was carried by his mistress, Dorýs Madden, who is 19 years his junior. But Erving and Madden's relationship wasn't just a fling — it appeared to be the real deal. Not letting their age difference (or his marriage) stop them from solidifying their relationship, Erving and Madden got married in 2008 after he finalized his divorce from Turquoise, and they went on to have two more children together.

Michael Jordan is 15 years older than his wife

After divorcing his ex-wife, Juanita Vanoy, in 2006 and being ordered to pay one of the most costly divorce settlements ever (to the tune of $150 million), we thought for sure that basketball legend Michael Jordan was done with love. And we certainly didn't expect him to walk down the aisle again, but, boy, were we ever wrong. Even if he had made a personal vow to swear off committed relationships in the future, the sports star's love life made a slam dunk when he met Yvette Prieto in 2008.

After getting engaged in 2011, the high-profile couple tied the knot in 2013 in Palm Beach, Fla. Jordan was 50 years at the time, and Prieto was 35 — proving that, when it comes to love, age is just a number. The following year, Prieto gave birth to twin daughters, Victoria and Ysabel. 

Steve Nash found love with a college athlete

Steve Nash's first marriage to Alejandra Amarilla — with whom he shares three children with — may have hit the skids after nine years, but that didn't deter the former professional basketball player from giving marriage another shot when he met Lilla Frederick. In March 2016, he and Frederick, a former college volleyball player, got engaged. The proposal took place in the super romantic city of Majorca, Spain where the couple had been vacationing. Nash obviously couldn't wait to share the news of the engagement, so he posted a photo on his Instagram soon after with a caption that simply read, "She said yes!"

They later tied the knot in September of that same year when Frederick was just 26 and Nash was 42. Frederick gave birth to their son, Luca, in 2017, and the sports star and his young bride were ecstatic about the new addition to their family. "Mom's a serious champ and we're in love with this little guy," Nash wrote in the caption of an Instagram featuring the adorable newborn. Two years later, another addition joined the family — a daughter, Ruby. After six months of her in their lives, Nash shared an appreciation post celebrating the burgeoning personality of his newborn. Sharing a selfie of him and Ruby together, he wrote, "Wee Ruby is so fun and smiley (usually). Lucky dad [heart-eye emoji]"

Hines Ward swapped his young wife

Former Pittsburgh Steelers player Hines Ward may not be on the field during game days anymore, but the team's home stadium of Heinz Field was the backdrop to his 2014 wedding to Lindsey Georgalas-Ward. TMZ reported that the former wide receiver had been dating Lindsey since 2012. After walking down the 50-yard line to say their "I do's," the couple appeared on an episode of "Celebrity Wife Swap" in 2015 when Hines was 39 and Lindsey was 24.

During filming, Hines swapped Lindsey with actor Verne Troyer's girlfriend Brittney Powell. "She was hesitant," Hines told AJC about his young bride's reluctance in appearing on the reality show. However, Lindsey may have been young, but she was far from being naive — but maybe her inner voice was trying to save her from the impending national embarrassment. On an episode of the program, Lindsey attempted to redecorate Troyer's game room, when the "Austin Powers" star let out a huge, smelly fart right in front of her as a form of protest. Gross.

In August 2021, the couple expanded their family with the arrival of a daughter, Londyn Capri. Although this is the couple's first child together, it's Hines' third, overall. He previously welcomed son Jaden with his first wife, Simone Ward, in 2004. Seven years later, he also welcomed a daughter, Jordyn, with a woman named Melanie Smith.

Bjorn Borg now has the 'perfect life'

Swedish tennis champ Bjorn Borg was swarmed by fans during his heyday, thanks to his long and luscious hair and, of course, his skills on the court. "There were girls on the way to the practice court, girls by the match court, and girls waiting in the lobby of my hotel," he once told The Telegraph. And after two failed marriages, he was finally able to rifle through a bevy of eager women to finally find the girl of his dreams.

The five-time Wimbledon champ married Patricia Ostfeldt in 2002 in front of 130 family members and friends, according to Hello! magazine. Bjorn was 46 on their wedding day and Ostfeldt was 35. Now, their age gap may not seem that bad compared to some of the other athlete relationships, but keep in mind that when Borg was 10 years old Ostfeldt wasn't even born yet. Yeah, let that sink in. Even though they have more than a few years between them, Bjorn believes he's finally with his one true love. "It feels as though I have found the right woman for me and I'm now living the way I want to live. I have the perfect life now and I wouldn't change a thing," he gushed to The Telegraph.

The couple shares a son together. Leo Borg was born in 2003 and has since followed in his dad's footsteps by becoming a tennis player. In 2017, he even depicted a young version of his famous father in the biopic, "Borg Vs. McEnroe."

Tiki Barber and his intern drove off into the sunset

A scandal erupted when former New York Giants and NBC "Today" show host Tiki Barber was exposed for having an affair with his alleged babysitter-turned-NBC intern, Traci Lynn Johnson. What made the story even more scandalous was the fact that Barber's wife, Ginny, was pregnant with twins at the time he was engaging in the affair.

Eight days after his divorce from his ex-wife was finalized, 37-year-old Barber wed 23-year-old Johnson at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau. Their union wasn't without backlash, especially after rumors emerged about how aggressively he was alleged to have pursued the young woman. "On her 21st birthday, he sent her 21 dozen roses to her dorm. He also gave her a diamond and sapphire bracelet," a source told the NY Post. "At this point, she had a boyfriend, and told him that she and Tiki were 'just friends,' but nobody bought it."

With the scandal finally behind them, the couple appeared to be more in love than ever and welcomed two daughters together — Brooklyn, born in 2013, and Teagan, born three years later. In 2022, Johnson joined the cast of Season 12 the "Real Housewives of New Jersey" as a friend of Melissa Gorga. Speaking to Us Weekly, she revealed how happy she was that the show gave her an opportunity to dispel some rumors about her relationship with Barber. "That Tiki and I had this big affair, which was not true," she said. "That I was the nanny or the babysitter, which is patently not true."

Kurt Angle won his wife over with a trip to Arby's

Olympic gold medalist and WWE and TNA Hall of Famer Kurt Angle had just ended his first marriage to Karen Jarrett (née Smedley) which played out on television as an Impact Wrestling storyline when he met Giovanna Angle (née Yannotti). The two connected on the set of the 2009 movie "End Game," according to an interview Giovanna gave to Vince Russo in 2016. Completely ignoring their 18-year age gap, the two slowly fell for one another. After becoming friends for a few years, he finally asked her out on a date to Arby's — because nothing says "I love you" like a roast beef sandwich.

Friendship eventually turned into romance, and the couple later married in July 2012 and welcomed three children together (Kurt also shares two kids with Jarrett). The two seem determined not to let their age difference get in the way of their unconventional love. On social media, they aren't shy about celebrating their blended family and relationship — and the solid work involved in maintaining it all. On Twitter in March 2023, Giovanna revealed that she really vibed with the teachings of a married couple who shared the secret to a long-lasting relationship, writing, "'Do you want to be right? Or do you want to be happy?'... DEEP!" Just a few days later, Kurt shared an adoring birthday tribute to his wife on Instagram, writing, "You are everything to me. I absolutely love the life that we have together." Aw.

Robert Kraft has been with two much younger women

Robert Kraft's wife of 48 years, Myra Kraft, died of ovarian cancer in 2011. The couple was apparently very much in love. "Bob Kraft had a fairytale romance with his wife, and they had this incredible marriage," an unnamed source told People in 2019. After Myra's death, Robert found love with his much younger now ex-girlfriend, Ricki Noel Lander. The actor and model is 59 years younger than the wealthy New England Patriots owner. The former couple's huge age gap wasn't the only odd thing about their relationship. The couple also garnered attention after Ricki welcomed a child who didn't belong to her then-boyfriend.

Kraft moved on with yet another much younger woman after he and Myra parted ways. He and Dr. Dana Blumberg reportedly began dating in 2017 and tied the knot in 2022. The couple is very private, but what we do know about Dr. Blumberg is that she is an ophthalmologist. We also know that she is 33 years younger than Kraft. The husband and wife got married in a star-studded surprise wedding — guests reportedly had no idea the event was taking place. "We thought it was a party and then when we went upstairs — and [a] screen opened and Robert and Dana came out," an attendee told People. "She was in a wedding dress, and Elton John announced them as 'husband and wife.' Then Meek Mill wrote a song for them — which he sang with Ed Sheeran as backup." Could they get any more interesting?

Justin Verlander is a decade older than Kate Upton

New York Mets pitcher Justin Verlander met model Kate Upton on the set of a commercial in 2012. The celeb couple revealed their relationship to the world in 2013 and tied the knot four years later. The husband and wife appear to be head over heels for each other, but their relationship hasn't exactly been perfect. Verlander and Upton briefly parted ways in 2013. It seems that they didn't initially have plans to reconcile because Upton began dating "Dancing With the Stars" choreographer Maksim Chmerkovskiy during this time.

Verlander found his way back to the model after she and Maksim Chmerkovskiy split, and they appear to still be going strong. They became parents to daughter Genevieve in 2018. As for their age gap, Upton is 10 years younger than her husband. The model was asked about the age difference during an interview with People in 2017. "It's kind of great to be with someone who is in a similar place in their life," Upton explained. "I think because I started my career so young — and he started his career so routine oriented — that coming into our own we kind of both did it at the same time."

Jeff Garcia married a former playboy model

Former NFL player Jeff Garcia is married to Carmella DeCesare. He might be a football star, but his wife has also enjoyed quite the career herself. She was a WWE Diva Search contestant and a Playboy Playmate. The brunette beauty also modeled for Sports Illustrated. Garcia is 12 years older than her.

While DeCesare has accomplished a lot, she's also garnered attention for all the wrong reasons when she was hit with a misdemeanor assault charge, per ESPN. The model reportedly got into a fight with one of Garcia's ex-girlfriends at a club. In court, DeCesare claimed that the football player cheated on her with the woman, which eventually led to the altercation. The former Playboy model was ultimately acquitted of the assault charge she initially faced.

It appears that this couple has matured and settled into parenthood. Garcia often gushes about his family on social media. "Here's my crew, the greatest team a dad could ever dream of," the former NFL star wrote in the caption of an Instagram photo that featured his four kids. "I'm so blessed to have 4 beautiful, healthy, smart, active little ones that I can love, inspire, educate, mentor, motivate, and care for as they travel their own journeys in life."

Brock Lesnar married a fellow former wrestler

Brock Lesnar and his wife Rena Lesnar (née Greek) — better known as Sable — have a lot in common. The pair found fame as WWE wrestlers and likely leaned on each other throughout their careers. While the two may have bonded over their shared profession, it also created problems early on in their relationship. Lensar revealed that he wanted his then-girlfriend — 10 years his senior — to join him in leaving the WWE after he walked away from the company in 2004.

"Rena was still on the road with WWE, and she was flying into Phoenix to be with me," he wrote in his book "Death Clutch: My Story of Determination, Domination, and Survival," (via Sportskeeda) "I didn't like the fact that she was in that environment anymore. I already knew she was the woman that I wanted to be with for the rest of my life, but she wasn't ready to let go of her career yet." 

Brock must have been really upset about his then-girlfriend's decision because he went on to reveal that he wasn't willing to move forward in the relationship until she left the wrestling company. "I wanted to marry Rena (Sable)," he shared in his book. "However, before I could do this, I needed her to get out of WWE. 'If we want a relationship,' I told her, 'neither one of us can work for that company. We both know the long-term side effects of everything there.'" Rena complied and they went on to get married.

Lance Armstrong and Anna Hansen's long tour de romance

Former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong married Anna Hansen in 2022. By that point, the longtime couple had been together for 14 years and had already welcomed two children. Armstrong also shares three children with his ex-wife, Kristin Richard. Armstrong is 9 years older than Hansen, but that doesn't seem to have much of an effect on their relationship

The former cyclist took to Instagram to share a heartfelt message about his wife following their wedding. "Anna, you have been my absolute rock the past 14 years and let me be clear, I would not have survived them without you," he wrote for the caption of a series of wedding photos. "I am so proud of the couple we have become — It took us doing the work, the really hard work, and I am so glad that we did. I love you immensely and will always be here for you and our family." The couple tied the knot at Château La Coste in France. 

Armstrong and Hansen have shared interests despite their age gap. They both appear to be passionate about fitness considering the fact that Hansen is a yoga instructor. She also teaches classes on her YouTube channel, which has over 1,000 subscribers. Armstrong supported his wife's passion by making an appearance in one of her videos.

Cristiano Ronaldo wooed a Gucci sales associate

Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo was 33 while his longtime girlfriend, Georgina Rodriguez, was 23 at the start of their relationship. The couple aren't that close in age, and they also had very different professions prior to dating. In the Netflix series "I am Georgina" (via People), Rodriguez revealed that the couple met while she was a sales associate at a Gucci store. The brunette beauty began living somewhat of a double life after she and Ronaldo began dating. "Many times he'd come after work," she explained. "... I remember once [he turned up] ... in a Bugatti. My coworkers went crazy. They get there on the bus, and I would leave in a Bugatti. I mean people couldn't believe it."

The couple lived very different lives at first but they seem to have had no problem finding common ground. The pair are now raising five kids together, including Ronaldo's child from a previous relationship — but parenthood hasn't been easy. In 2022, Ronaldo revealed that he and Rodriguez's newborn son died. As part of a statement shared on Instagram, he wrote, "It is with our deepest sadness we have to announce that our baby boy has passed away. It is the greatest pain that any parents can feel."

Sheldon Souray and Tess Annique met at a dark time in their lives

Sheldon Souray and Tess Annique's love story begins in an unlikely place. As the model and wellness influencer told Brides, both she and the NHL All-Star were battling demons when they first crossed paths in 2017. "Our love story is unique because we met in treatment," she shared. "We were both in a very low place when we met." They eventually left treatment and lost touch but reconnected six months later. The Montreal Canadiens alum invited Annique to visit him in Idaho that Labor Day, and she accepted. "Fast forward four years, and we got married the exact weekend we reconnected," she told the mag, gushing, "We've been able to inspire each other to become the best versions of ourselves, support one another's sobriety, and live full, authentic lives."

Indeed, having that shared experience has created an unbreakable bond. "He was my ride or die best friend just because we had both gone through such intense stuff," she told the "Neon Confidential" podcast. And despite Souray being 17 years older, they continue to inspire one another. Celebrating three years of sobriety in 2020, Annique praised her partner on Instagram, writing, "Thank you for being my human: my greatest teacher, my greatest friend, my greatest blessing." Meanwhile, in 2022, he celebrated her birthday by gushing, "You've picked me up and dusted me off and let me share in the strength and courage of your journey." 

Jump to July 2023, and the couple announced they were expecting their first child.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Ana Montana had to defend her relationship with LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball broke hearts when he went Instagram official with Ana Montana in June 2023. "1 of 1's" the Charlotte Hornets player wrote in his post, while Montana enthusiastically dubbed him "The ONE." TMZ Sports even caught the influencer professing her passion for Ball in the comments section, writing, "I love you baby."

Ball first posted his partner to his Instagram feed back in January 2022 in a snap that showed her wearing a sweatshirt from his LaFrance clothing brand. Before that, the pair was happy exchanging flirty messages on social media and keeping people guessing. The only time Montana did previously address their union was when she threw shade at haters criticizing their 13-year age gap. In November 2021, the then-33-year-old took to Twitter to make it clear she didn't appreciate being called out for dating Ball, who was just 20 at the time. "So Kim is 14 years older than Pete?" she wrote, referencing Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson's romance. "Y'all don't care huh? Lol."

Montana also faced accusations that she once participated in sex work. In December 2022, she addressed the rumors in her Instagram comments. "I never in my life went to Dubai or Nigeria for prostitution, that's a lie, there's legit no proof," she wrote. "... People always tried to make me look like the bad guy."

Jaromir Jagr made Dominika Branisova CEO of his company

Age is just a number for NHL great Jaromir Jagr. At 51, the two-time Stanley Cup champ was still playing professional hockey, albeit in his native Czech Republic. The Pittsburgh Penguins alum decided to not only buy a team — the Rytiri Kladno — but be a part of it, and in 2023, he was embarking on his 35th consecutive season on the ice. What's more, he told The New York Times he had zero plans to retire. "If you stop, you are going to get fat and unhealthy and get surgeries on back, knees and hips," he mused, noting he still finds the sport fun. "I want to have a happy life, so I'm going to work hard until I die, because it's the only way."

Similarly, he's not about to throw in the towel on the personal front. Applying that same youthful approach to his love life, Jagr began dating Czech model Dominika Branisova, who's 23 years his junior. They first moved in together during the pandemic, but their relationship has grown quickly. So much so that she's even given up modeling to help launch Jagr's business, which he founded in 2022. On Instagram, she calls herself the CEO of JJ68 By Jaromir Jagr, and she told local outlet, "Of course I have a salary and I'm certainly not complaining — Jarda is generous." Speaking with in 2023, she added, "It deals with food supplements and the entire management fell on me, so it keeps me busy."

Jade Slusarczyk had no idea Jimmy White was rich

Jimmy White may not be as well-known on this side of the pond as he is in his native UK, but he's a snooker all-star and a bit of a rock star. Case in point: He's one of the richest snooker players ever, and one of his BFFs is the Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood (White is even godfather to Wood's twins). However, he's adamant that his fame played no part in attracting his girlfriend, Jade Slusarczyk, who's 22 years younger. Slusarczyk, a sports walk-on girl and former Miss Blackpool, told the Mirror their relationship started with a small lie. "He told me he was 35 when I met him," she recalled. "I didn't even know who he was or that he was famous." That was 2012, and while White instantly felt a connection, he admitted, "I never thought anything would happen." 

They built a friendship instead, but in 2017, they started dating. "We have so much fun together, Jimmy's really young at heart," Slusarczyk told the outlet. "... My age is just a number. It's how you get on with people." They also noted that both their families approve, and White slammed, "We don't care — we know we're all right."

White again addressed their union in a 2021 interview with The Sun, which noted the couple is actually 23 years apart. "I didn't think for a minute she'd go out with me," he mused. "... It's a miracle she fancies me, but she doesn't care about the age difference, so why should I?"

Ian Rush and Carol Anthony shut down the haters

Pro soccer star Ian Rush may have retired from playing in 2000, but the Welshman (who spent much of his career with Liverpool F.C.) has continued making headlines. Except now, it's his love life that has people talking. In 2019, The Sun confirmed that Rush was engaged to Irish singer and model Carol Anthony, and their supposed 22-year age gap was soon being criticized. Even so, Anthony was adamant their connection was the real deal. "We always knew we would be together for the long haul," she told "... We enjoy our own company so much and that is 100% necessary for a perfect companion." Adding that Rush has a strong relationship with her family, she praised, "He is an incredible man, such integrity, so grounded."

That didn't stop the critics, though, and a then-40-year-old Anthony blasted her haters, clarifying to in 2019, "They took another six years out of my life — there's 16 years between us, not 22." What's more, she explained that Rush being older doesn't faze her because her parents happen to share a 13-year age gap. Anthony also made it clear that she's had her own career since she was 19 and said she's helping Rush with his. "I've been so supportive of Ian over the last years and help[ing] him work on getting contracts, so it feels a bit like a slap in the face when you read these articles," she said, underscoring she's not in it for the money.

Ilie Nastase and Ioana Simion are three decades apart

Tennis great Ilie Nastase has always been a controversial figure. After all, he was once temporarily banned from the sport for making a racist comment about Serena Williams. Jump to 2020, and the Wimbledon champ was back in the news after saying "I do" for the fifth time. A then-73-year-old Nastase tied the knot with then-43-year-old Ioana Simion (whom he started dating in 2018) in a civil ceremony in their native Romania that April. A low-key church ceremony followed in June, with Nastase telling The Sun, "It was simple and beautiful. That's what we wanted to do, few people, without advertising."

Well, they've since received plenty of advertising in Romanian media as they've broken up and made up numerous times, and Simion filed for divorce twice. At one point, she even called the cops on her husband. However, she's also said she wants a child with Nastase and told local outlet in April 2023 that she was not using her man. "I never asked him for anything," Simion assured. "... I have my money, my businesses." She also explained that she rarely posts photos of them together because she doesn't want people to assume she's seeking fame. 

That being said, Simion's not opposed to being spoiled. Around this time, while the couple was waiting for a flight at the Jerusalem airport, Nastase dropped €20,000 (about $22,400) on a jewelry set for his wife. "He gave me a nice gift and I didn't expect it," she demurred.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Did Maeva Denat break David Ginola's marriage?

Soccer star David Ginola (best known for playing with Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United) had a tumultuous 25-year marriage with model Coraline Delphin, which ended in a contentious divorce in 2016. Ginola was repeatedly accused of cheating throughout the union, and when it was over, he didn't waste time moving on. Just three months after the split, Ginola confirmed he was dating another model, Maeva Denat, who was 22 years his junior. Speaking with The Sun in February 2023, he revealed that he first met Denat just nine weeks earlier on the day he suffered a heart attack during a charity match, which stopped his heart for about nine minutes. "When I introduce Maeva to people, I say, 'This is my girlfriend and we met the day I died,'" he mused. "You could make a movie script out of our relationship because it's hard to believe but this could happen to anyone."

The pair were actually introduced at a restaurant by mutual friends earlier that day, then Ginola was rushed to hospital, where he had no access to his phone for two weeks. "One minute I met an amazing woman, and then my life changed," he told The Telegraph (via the Daily Mail). "... She didn't see me for ages after we first met, maybe she thought I wasn't interested, but actually I had been recovering in hospital." Once he was on the mend, they reconnected and started dating — and in 2018, they welcomed a daughter named Ever.

Gerard Piqué and Clara Chia Marti are standing firm against Shakira

Gerard Piqué and Shakira's 2022 split after 11 years together quickly turned into tabloid gold as the singer accused him of betrayal and put all of the blame on him. Indeed, since 2012, reports had been circulating that Piqué was cheating with high-profile names like model Bar Refaeli, per Hola!. Shakira added fuel to the fire with the release of two songs in which she appeared to shade her ex after he went public with his new flame, Clara Chia Marti. 

The pair was first linked in August 2022 when the Daily Mail spotted the then-35-year-old soccer pro kissing the then-23-year-old PR student at a music festival. They went Instagram official in January 2023, and Shakira dropped "#53" and "TQG" soon after. In the first, she slammed, "I was out of your league / That's why you're with someone just like you." On the second track, she sang, "Seeing you with the new girl hurt me, but I'm now set on me."

Piqué hasn't let the hate drive him and Marti apart. In March 2023, he told Spanish newspaper El País he wasn't about to apologize. "The day I die, I will look back and hope I have always done what I wanted," he said, as translated by People. However, it hasn't been easy. He and Shakira share two sons, Milan and Sasha, who are reportedly not allowed to spend time with Marti. In June 2023, Telemundo reported he had to choose between bringing his girlfriend or his kids to his brother's wedding, and he chose his GF.

Stephanie Washington supported Bret Hart when he needed it most

Bret "Hitman" Hart made his WWE debut in 1984 and built an incredible career as the top technical wrestler in the franchise's history. Unfortunately, that all came to a grinding halt in 2000 due to a major injury, but Hart was able to return to the ring in 2010 and finish his pro career in style. That same year, he also found success in the love department when he met Stephanie Washington. At 53, he said "I do" for the third time to the then-27-year-old in July 2010 after dating for just a few months. According to Wrestling Inc, Washington was a student from San Francisco, California studying in Hart's native Calgary, Canada. Ahead of the nuptials, the wrestler shared his joy on Facebook, writing, "I don't say much about us but I can honestly say that God has looked out for me and, this time around, I know I'll be forever happy and content."

He was right. When Hart encountered his toughest opponent — a diagnosis of prostate cancer — in 2016, his wife never left his side. A year later, he was cancer-free, and in 2019, Washington told PROSTAID Calgary what a pivotal role she played in his recovery. "I had to be strong for him," she shared. "If he saw that I was strong, then he could be strong too." Wiping away tears, she added, "We were helping each other, and we were strong for each other."

Michelle McCool chose The Undertaker over her career

The Undertaker (real name Mark Calaway) may not come off as the lovable type and his now-wife, two-time WWE Divas champion Michelle McCool, didn't initially think he was dateable. McCool joined the WWE in 2004, and as she told Digital Spy in 2020, "I did not want to meet him." She wasn't attracted to his beard, tattoos, nor his on-air persona, and it took time to change her mind. "I knew his personality a little bit before we actually started dating but it still took time for me to warm up to the idea," she recalled. "But finally I was like, 'Sure, we'll go on a date.'" Despite there being 15 years between them, they tied the knot in 2010, had daughter Kaia in 2012, adopted son Kolt in 2021, and over a decade later, they're as happy as ever.

Unfortunately, it cost McCool her career. As she told the "Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia" podcast, "He kind of courted me for a while ... and people started noticing." Joking that Calaway fell in love when he saw her throwing a football backstage, she recalled how they tried to hide their union for months, but soon, everyone was acting differently around her. "I can count on one, maybe one-and-a-half hands how many people treated me the same from WWE pre-Mark and post-Mark," she shared. Tensions grew as folks believed she was getting ahead because of her personal relationship, and she left the WWE in 2011.

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Lauren Hashian prove age is just a number

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Lauren Hashian have often been praised for giving off "couple goals" with their sweet romance. The pair first met in 2006 and began dating the following year. The former pro wrestler, who was previously married to producer Dany Garcia (with whom he shares daughter Simone), told People in 2012 he couldn't believe how lucky he was. "To fall in love again? That's a hard thing to do twice in the position I'm in," he gushed. "I'm one lucky son of a b***h."

Despite being 13 years apart, Johnson and Hashian, a singer-songwriter, have proven that age is just a number, and their union continues to be as successful as ever. The couple grew their family in 2015 with the arrival of daughter Jasmine, and daughter Tiana followed in 2018. Jump to 2019, and they tied the knot in a top-secret ceremony in Hawaii. Hashian even wrote a song for the occasion, titled "Step Into a Love Like This." "Having been together for more than a decade, I wanted him to feel how much that day and our entire life together has meant to me," she later told People.

In 2022, the then-37-year-old celebrated her hubby's 50th birthday with a sweet Instagram tribute, saying he's "the one who lights our faces up when he walks in the door. The one who gives the BEST hugs and makes us feel safest in his arms."

Jerry Lawler and Lauryn McBride have a 39-year age gap

WWE Hall of Famer Jerry "The King" Lawler has long struggled with his health. Back in 2012, he actually suffered a heart attack live on the air during WWE's "Monday Night Raw." Then, in February 2023, the wrestler-turned-commentator's Twitter account confirmed he had a major stroke, but luckily, a full recovery was expected. However, another serious, if somewhat amusing, health scare involved Lawler's much younger partner. Speaking on his "Dinner with the King" podcast, Lawler revealed he had a stroke in 2018 while in the bedroom with his fiancée, Lauryn McBride. The wrestling legend laughed his way through the story but seemed unsure how best to explain what happened. When co-host Glenn Moore suggested, "You were expressing love for each other in a certain way," he conceded that was correct.

Lawler and McBride began dating in 2011 and got plenty of folks talking with their 39-year age gap. While they're still together to this day, their engagement did hit a major bump in 2016 when they accused each other of domestic assault. The pair had been living together for five years when a then-27-year-old McBride alleged her then-66-year-old fiancé hit her, while he claimed she physically assaulted him. Action News 5 learned both were arrested but quickly reconciled and all charges were dropped.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.