Athletes Who Lost A Fortune In Their Divorce

Becoming a professional athlete is a dream come true for many, and when one thinks about achieving that sports stardom, they often equate large dollar signs along with fame and athletic success. Many athletes who have the luck of joining one of the American professional sports leagues often find themselves the recipients of contracts with large signing bonuses and additional cash for winning championships or even getting to the playoffs. And those who become household names get the opportunity to score even more cash with endorsement deals or even the ability to pivot to a Hollywood career.

However, with fame also comes downfall, and not every sports celebrity who has gained financial success has been able to keep it. Often these athletes are married before they achieve their immense wealth, so there aren't prenuptial agreements to protect their assets. In most states, money gained while married is shared by both parties in the event of a divorce. Some athletes, like Shaquille O'Neil, found this out the hard way when they eventually split from their spouse. In fact, even though O'Neil had a prenup, he was still on the hook for paying his wife a good chunk of change in alimony. And how much Tom Brady will have to pay Giselle Bundchen has yet to be determined as of this writing, but it's sure to be significant. Here are 15 other athletes who've had to say goodbye to most of their fortune due to divorcing their ex-wives.

Tiger Woods' cheating scandal cost him a fortune

When talking about celebrity athlete divorces, the first one that comes to the minds of many is the one that took place between Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren. Those who followed any sort of pop culture news in 2009 and 2010 undoubtedly remember the saga. A story broke that Woods had been involved in a cheating scandal, and soon it came to light that he was involved in more than one extramarital affair. Then came the accident: Nordegren confronted Woods about his alleged affairs and didn't take too kindly to the news that the rumors were, according to Woods, true. Nordegren came after Woods with a golf club and attacked Woods' SUV, leading to him eventually crashing into a fire hydrant and tree and sustaining facial lacerations.

Needless to say, given Nordegren's reaction, the two were unable to reconcile, and thus divorced after six years of marriage. According to Sportskeeda, Woods and Nordegren's divorce was one of the most costly in history, and Nordegren received somewhere between $100 and $110 million from her ex. This chunk of change was in addition to monthly child support payments that cost the professional golfer around $20,000 per month. The Swedish beauty also got to keep a portion of their property, further reducing Woods' financial portfolio.

Michael Jordan never had a prenuptial agreement

While Tiger Woods' and Elin Nordegren's divorce was pretty expensive for the pro golfer, it was nothing compared to how much Michael Jordan had to pay his ex-wife upon their split. Jordan met Juanita Vanoy in 1984, the same year he was drafted to the Chicago Bulls. They dated for a few years, then got married on September 2, 1989. The couple had three children together, two boys and a girl, and seemed to enjoy a happy and successful life.

However, their happily ever after was cut short in the early 2000s, due to Jordan's alleged extramarital affairs that were a strain on their relationship, and the two ended up divorcing in 2006, after Vanoy applied for — then withdrew — a divorce filing in 2002. What followed became one of the most expensive celebrity divorces ever reported. Vanoy received a settlement of $168 million, per Crain's Chicago Business. Jordan also reportedly had to pay $2.1 million in legal fees. According to Clutchpoints, the cost was so high because the basketball great and Vanoy didn't have a prenuptial agreement, something which he made sure to have in place before his second marriage to Cuban-American model Yvette Prieto. As for Vanoy, she never remarried, instead using her settlement to start a variety of philanthropies and to focus on raising her children.

Greg Norman learned his lesson after his first divorce

Anybody familiar with the golf world will know the name Greg Norman. The Australian golf phenom first burst onto the Masters' scene in 1981 and was named as the number one golfer in the world for over 300 weeks total throughout his career. Those who aren't familiar with him for his sports acumen may recognize his name from the various entrepreneurial endeavors he's engaged in, including a clothing line, wineries, and restaurants, to name just a few. He's also made a name for himself by being involved in one of the most costly celebrity divorces, along with likes of Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan.

Although Norman's been married three times and divorced twice, it was his first marriage that cost his bank account the most. Norman's first wife, Laura Andrassy, was a flight attendant when they first got together, and the two eventually tied the knot in 1981. They enjoyed 25 years of apparently wedded bliss together, and had two children, a son and a daughter. However, Norman and Andrassy announced their divorce in 2006 to the surprise of many. What followed was an expensive divorce for Norman, who paid Andrassy $103 million, per ESPN. However, Norman learned his lesson, and asked for a prenuptial agreement for his second and third marriages, so he wouldn't be put in such a position again.

Mike Tyson had multiple expensive divorces

Mike Tyson has had his ups and downs in life. A incredibly successful heavyweight boxing career was interrupted by a stint in prison for sexual assault, though he was able to come back after he was released and return to his previous glory days. Tyson's personal life was intertwined with his boxing successes, and thus, he's been no stranger to a variety of controversies affecting his overall net worth. In general, Tyson mismanaged his money, according to Bleacher Report, and he eventually had to declare bankruptcy. One key component to his debt accrual — aside from legal fees and exotic luxuries like pet tigers — was his marriages and divorces. Tyson's been married three times and gotten divorced twice, and each separation has cost him a pretty penny.

Tyson first married actor Robin Givens in 1988, walking down the aisle with her only 11 months after they met. The two tied the knot so quickly because Givens reportedly told Tyson she was pregnant. However, they just as quickly divorced, splitting after only eight months. As part of the divorce settlement, Tyson reportedly paid Givens $10 million. He later married pediatrician Monica Turner in 1997, seven years after meeting her at a party thrown by Eddie Murphy. They stayed together for four years — including the time Tyson was behind bars — but eventually divorced. The heavyweight champion paid Turner $6.5 million, as detailed by The Washington Post.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Jeff Gordon coughed up an undisclosed sum

It seems like professional athletes in any sport aren't protected from losing their fortunes to their ex-wives. Just take Jeff Gordon, the Nascar great who lost a significant amount of money when he split from his wife of eight years, Brooke Sealey. The two first met in 1993 at the Daytona International Speedway, and tied the knot in 1994. However, their happiness wouldn't last, and the two divorced in 2002. Although the couple's marriage seemed to be quite strong, Sealey would be the one to file for the split and put the blame squarely on her then-husband's shoulders. She claimed their marriage was "irretrievably broken as a result of the husband's marital misconduct," per The Orlando Sentinel. Clearly, driving around the Nascar tracks weren't the only things revving Gordon's engine.

The two eventually settled their divorce arrangements, and the details of how much money Gordon gave Sealey haven't ever been released. While most media outlets claimed Sealey received $15 million from the Nascar great, he set the record somewhat straight in a book about him, "Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive & Destiny," written by Joe Garner. In the biography, Gordon was quoted as saying that what he ended up paying Sealey "was actually way more than double that," referring to the $15 million number.

Michael Strahan's net worth took a huge hit

Well before Michael Strahan was a morning news staple on "Good Morning America," he was entering people's homes as a member of the New York Giants, playing in the NFL for 15 years as a defensive end. During this time, he also married and split with his second wife, Jean Muggli, in what could only be described as a contentious divorce. Muggli and Strahan married in 1999 and, in 2006, filed for divorce. The split came after Strahan suspected Muggli of engaging in emotional and physical abuse with their twin daughters, which caused him to file for the dissolution of their marriage.

And although the two had a prenuptial agreement in place, it was written in such a way that Strahan owed Muggli a significant chunk of change. According to the New York Post, the prenup guaranteed Muggli 20% of Strahan's total income for each year they were married, as well as half of his total assets. This meant that the judge awarded her $1.25 million more than what she initially asked for, costing Strahan $15.3 million. He also had to pay $311,150 in back pay for the 20% annuity payment, per the judgment, and had to pay $18,000 a month in child support. Overall, Strahan's divorce from Muggli was a large hit on his overall net worth.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Lance Armstrong's ex-wife felt 'smothered' in their marriage

Lance Armstrong is one of those controversial names in professional sports. The professional cyclist was one of the feel-good stories of the turn of the millennium, having beat metastasized testicular cancer in the mid-1990s to win the Tour de France — the most prestigious race in professional cycling — not once, but seven times in a row. However, Armstrong's rise to the top and appearance as a hero for even those outside of the cycling world would soon come crumbling down. Armstrong was accused of doping, and he was eventually discovered and stripped of all of his accomplishments post-1998 (including all of his Tour de France wins). Throughout his time of doping, Armstrong also faced personal struggles, and divorced his wife, Kristin Richard, in 2003.

Armstrong and Richard met in 1997 — right after he finished his chemotherapy — and got married in 1999. The two had three children together and she was around for the beginning of Armstrong's numerous Tour de France victories. However, Richard soon filed for divorce, telling Oprah Winfrey on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (via People) that she felt "smothered" in the marriage. She explained she wasn't prepared for what a marriage to a professional athlete like Armstrong would entail and felt her own identity slipping. The two dissolved their union and Armstrong gave Richard $14 million of his fortune, according to Fox Business.

Chris Evert has been incredibly unlucky with love

Tennis great Chris Evert hasn't been as lucky in love as she's been on the tennis court. The 18-time Grand Slam winner has walked down the aisle three times, first to fellow tennis pro John Lloyd, then to skiing champ Andy Mill, and finally to pro golfer Greg Norman. Although her marriage to Lloyd lasted eight years, they split in 1987 quite amicably, the two blaming their youth and the fact that they were both at their peak in their respective tennis circuits as cause for their split. However, Evert's divorce from her second husband wasn't nearly as easy.

Evert and Mill met in 1986 and married in 1988 soon after he divorced and only a year after Evert split from Lloyd. Although their relationship was a quick one, their marriage lasted for 18 years, with the two finally calling it quits in 2006. According to People, Evert was required to pay her ex $7 million. The tennis star was the one who filed for the dissolution, stating that "the marriage between the parties is irretrievably broken." Evert also had to give Mill their property in Aspen and some of their luxury sports cars, adding a few more million to the settlement.

Jose Canseco had two expensive divorces

Once a member of Major League Baseball's "bash brothers," players who hit as many as 40 home runs in a year, Jose Canseco had it all, and the bank account to go along with it. His success didn't last, however, as Canseco's achievements were stripped of him when he came clean with using steroids during his time in the league (he wrote a tell-all book, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big" that led to the downfall of many turn-of-the-millennium players who owed their success to steroids) and he no longer had the millions he was used to. Although if you ask him, he doesn't attribute his downfall in baseball to leading to his bankruptcy. Rather, he says he paid too much to taxes and to his two ex-wives.

Canseco was first married to Esther Haddad, a former Miss Miami, and the two were together for just two years before Canseco filed for divorce. According to the slugger, that divorce cost him "$6 million and two six-figure sports cars" (via SN). He then married Jessica Sekley in 1996, before divorcing her in 1999. Canseco has claimed that his second dissolution of marriage also cost him between $7 million and $8 million, though he has since sidestepped the question to VladTV when asked if both of his divorces cost him that amount of money. He also has an undisclosed amount of child support payments for his daughter, who he shares with Sekley.

Allen Iverson claims he went broke

Allen Iverson seemed to have everything he could ever ask for in the mid-1990s and early 2000s. The troubled teen escaped a prison sentence when a judge allowed him to be recruited to play basketball for Georgetown University instead. And the effort seemed to pay off when he was recruited to the NBA — the Philadelphia 76ers to be exact — at the number one spot in 1996. The man was living large, and by his side throughout it all was his high school sweetheart, Tawanna Iverson, according to the Daily Mail. The two met at rival high schools in Virginia and eventually tied the knot in 2001, after two children and many years together.

The fairy tale didn't last, though, and Tawanna eventually filed for divorce. Once in 2009, which she withdrew, and then again just a few months later, the Daily Mail reported. Allen was reportedly broke and had also allegedly engaged in numerous extramarital affairs. The divorce proceedings weren't peaceful, and the two didn't settle their split until 2013. When all was said and done, Allen, although claiming he had no money, owed Tawanna $3 million as well as a portion of his various assets, per Sportscasting. Additionally, once he turns 55, Allen will owe Tawanna 50% of his Reebok endorsement payments. As of this writing, that contract is currently worth $50 million, which means Tawanna will be taking a large portion of his bank account, even years later.

Alex Rodriguez's divorce resulted in a heated battle

It's safe to say that Alex Rodriguez's luck on the baseball field did not extend to his love life. Long before he was on the wrong side of the Jennifer Lopez/Ben Affleck love story, Rodriguez was married to Cynthia Scurtis. The two met in Miami in the 1990s and tied the knot in 2002. She supported him throughout the early stages of his career, including his start with the New York Yankees, and they welcomed two daughters together. Unfortunately, as these things sometimes go, the two filed for divorce in 2008, with Scurtis claiming "marital misconduct" and "emotional abandonment" from the baseball great (via Us Weekly). What followed was a messy divorce, with allegations of affairs on both sides, but the two were eventually able to put their differences aside and settle their divorce privately.

However, that wasn't the last time Rodriguez and Scurtis' dissolution of marriage would be in the news. In 2018, the two were locked in a heated battle over the amount of spousal and child support Rodriguez was paying Scurtis and their two children. Per TMZ, Rodriguez was paying $115,000 a month to Scurtis and their daughters, but he claimed hardship after he retired from baseball and had his income significantly reduced (from $30 million a year to just $3 million, according to TMZ). Rodriguez also claimed, since Scurtis had remarried, she no longer needed his financial support. The two eventually settled their differences and have been seen co-parenting successfully.

Sugar Ray Leonard's messy and costly divorce

Sugar Ray Leonard is an iconic name in boxing, but — just like his career — he's had his ups and downs with his finances, some of which were affected by his love life. Leonard was first married to Juanita Wilkinson after the two met in Prince George's County, Maryland as teenagers. The couple had two sons prior to getting married, but eventually tied the knot in 1980, not long after Leonard had embarked on his professional boxing career. However, alongside his success was also injuries, and Leonard admitted to using drugs and alcohol to cope, which led to difficulties in his marriage, The Associated Press reported. This admission came after Wilkinson accused Leonard of physical abuse and adultery.

The couple filed for divorce in 1990, and embarked on a contentious process. After three years, they eventually settled, and, although the exact numbers of the settlement were never revealed, according to Sportscasting, Wilkinson received a pretty penny from the pro boxer. While she admitted that she did not receive half of her ex's assets, she did state she received more than what was originally laid out in their prenuptial agreement, and said she was receiving enough money that she and her two children could continue to live the type of life they were used to with full access to Leonard's money, so the number was most likely significant.

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).

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.

Kenny Anderson declared bankruptcy

Kenny Anderson is another example of a successful professional athlete who eventually had to declare bankruptcy, per The New York Times, losing his reported $63 million career earnings. Although a series of bad investments contributed to his lost assets, Anderson's personal life also added to his financial downfall. Anderson has been married three times and also shares seven children with five separate women, meaning his child support bills are incredibly high. In fact, Anderson's first wife, Tamisha Akbar (aka Tami Roman of "Basketball Wives" fame) had to sue him for $800,000 in missed child support payments, according to TMZ, a suit that she eventually won.

That wasn't the only financial success Akbar was able to win from Anderson. The basketballer's first wife, the couple nevertheless had a prenuptial agreement in place before they tied the knot in 1994, per CNBC. But when the two decided to call it quits in 2001, Akbar decided to fight against their prenup in court, an effort that paid off, as she eventually won her case. The new settlement is what required Anderson to pay her $8,500 a month in child support payments (the payments that went unpaid for years and racked up that $800,000 debt) as well as half of his assets at the time of their divorce, which allowed Akbar to continue living the lifestyle she was accustomed to.

Evander Holyfield lost a large chunk of his wealth

To say Evander Holyfield's personal life is messy would be an understatement. The former heavyweight boxing champion has 11 children by six different women, and he has been married four times and divorced three times, all which cost him a significant chunk of change. These divorces and child support payments, along with some poor personal financial decisions, led a man who once had over $200 million in the bank to now have a net worth of only $1 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. So how much did his ex-wives take from him?

Holyfield first married Paulette Brown in 1985, but by 1991, the couple was calling it quits. Brown received $4 million when they split. Holyfield next married Dr. Janice Itson, and the two were husband and wife from 1996 to 2000. Although the details of their settlement weren't disclosed, Itson sued Holyfield in 2010 for $280,000 in past due child support payments, per BoxingScene. The boxer also wanted to renegotiate his spousal support to Itson. In 2003, he tied the knot once again, this time with Candi Calvana Smith, who he officially divorced in 2012, although the two filed for foreclosure of their $14 million home in 2010, per TheSportster. While the division of their assets wasn't made public either, it was clear, due to the large amount of child support he has to pay, that she took him for almost all of the remainder of his personal net worth.

Hulk Hogan isn't broke, but his personal wealth took a dive

It's no secret that Hulk Hogan hasn't had the easiest of times when it comes to his personal life. Hogan married his first wife, Linda Marie Claridge, in 1983, and the couple had two children together. Alas, their wedded bliss wouldn't last, and they ended up divorcing in 2009 after splitting in 2008 due to the famous wrestler's alleged infidelity. While Hogan has had his fair share of financial successes, his high value wouldn't last, due in part to the dissolution of his marriage to Claridge.

According to the Daily Mail, the divorce settlement heavily favored Hogan's ex-wife, who took the wrestling superstar to the cleaners. Not only was she given 70% of their total liquid assets, she also got a portion of his properties, which totaled $3 million. Court papers indicated that Claridge would receive a 40% stake in all of Hogan's earnings, which, at the time of the settlement, would amount to about $68,000 per month. Factor into that child support payments, and Hogan's net worth would never recover from his first marriage. Hogan's second marriage to Jennifer McDaniel also ended in divorce, although the terms seemed to be a bit more favorable to the wrestler. As revealed by TMZ, Hogan had to buy McDaniel's car and paid her a one-time lump sum, although the full amount was never disclosed. The star has a respectable current net worth of $25 million, but that's a far cry from his previous assets.