Athlete Relationships That Went Down In Flames

Professional athletes are known for their achievements in sports, but being in the public eye can cast a spotlight on their personal and romantic lives. Similar to actors, musicians, and other figures in the spotlight, athletes can become vulnerable to the downsides of popularity. The fame, money, access to partying and drugs, and flings can all contribute to a reckless lifestyle, which more often than not, puts a strain on their personal lives – especially their marriages.

High profile athlete relationships, like that of Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian, Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, and Hulk and Linda Hogan, are just some of the relationships that were thrust into the public eye, which later unraveled for various reasons. There are plenty of scandalous divorces that surpass these few, however.

While some athlete relationships have stood the test of time, others have famously gone down in flames. Here's a roundup of the biggest (and messiest) athlete breakups.

Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian

Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian's whirlwind romance was arguably one of the most high profile relationships of the 2010s. Despite a seemingly perfect matchup and fairytale wedding, the couple famously ended their relationship after a mere 72 days.

Humphries and Kardashian were first spotted together in October 2010, and soon took their relationship public just a couple of months later in January 2011, as reported by MTV. Though the "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star initially denied reports that she was dating Humphries at the time, the two would eventually get engaged by May 2011, with Humphries proposing to Kardashian on the TV show.

Just three months after the two were engaged, Humphries and Kardashian tied the knot on August 25, 2011 in front of 450 guests and a E! camera crew, according to People. Kardashian gushed about being a newlywed to the outlet at the time, saying, "It was like we were in heaven." The pair's honeymoon period would not last long, however, and within a few short months, the marriage came to an end.

Per TMZ, Kardashian filed for divorce on October 31, 2011, with irreconcilable differences listed as the cause. An initially devastated Humphries attempted to mend the relationship, he later pushed for an annulment and claimed his soon-to-be ex was deceptive and fraudulent upon saying her vows, as reported by Us Weekly. Ultimately, the divorce was finalized in April 2013, and though Humphries initially requested $7 million in spousal support, he received none in the end.

Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra

Both Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra were famous in their own regard in the 1990s. Rodman dominated the NBA throughout the decade and played alongside basketball legends like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Electra rose to fame as a model after being featured in Playboy and later became known for her role as Lani McKenzie in "Baywatch." Though from vastly different worlds, the two found one another in 1998 and soon fell in love.

According to People, the two quickly wed in November 1998, though just nine days after tying the knot in Las Vegas, Rodman filed to get the marriage annulled. "Carmen and Dennis spoke several days ago and mutually agreed (to end the marriage)," a spokesperson told the outlet at the time. The two got back together and attempted to reconcile their relationship, but ultimately split for good and filed for divorce in April 1999.

Rodman and Electra's rollercoaster relationship was highlighted in ESPN's 2020 docuseries,"The Last Dance," and though it had been nearly two decades since their split, Electra spoke positively of her ex-husband. "Yes, we had a blast, and this wild love, but we had a lot of hard times, too. A lot of struggles ...No matter what, I'll always wish him the best," she said in the documentary (via Chicago Sun Times).

Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren

Outside of his incredible accomplishments in sports, Tiger Woods unfortunately became renowned for rocky periods of his private life, which included a bitter split from his wife, Elin Nordegren.

According to Fox Sports, Woods and Nordegren met through a mutual connection in 2001 and started dating shortly after. By 2003, Woods proposed, and just a year later, the two wed in a private ceremony in Barbados, with guests including Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, per CNN. The pair started a family and had two sons, Sam and Charlie, in 2007 and 2009, respectively. On the outside, Woods and Nordegren appeared to have the picture-perfect relationship and family, but a car crash involving the golfer ultimately changed their dynamic and his reputation for good.

On November 27, 2009, Woods crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and trees near his home after Nordegren allegedly found romantic and sexual text messages from other women on his phone, as reported by The New York Post. The crash would be the beginning of the couple's unraveling, and when the press caught wind of the story, herds of women came forward claiming Woods had affairs with them, and he ultimately confessed to having 120 affairs in total, per The New York Post.

Despite attempts by Woods to reconcile his marriage, Nordegren filed for divorce in 2010, which was finalized in August of that year (via TMZ). The divorce settlement granted Nordegren $100 million, and the pair went on to date new people after their split.

Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian

Kim Kardashian was not the only person in her family to marry a famous NBA player. Lamar Odom, former basketball star for the Miami Heat and LA Lakers, and Khloe Kardashian married within one month of meeting each other, as reported by The Sun. The couple's whirlwind marriage was filled with ups and downs, and came to an end after Kardashian learned of Odom's extramarital affairs and misuse of drugs.

After meeting at a party, the two dated, got engaged, and married in September 2009, with a E! camera crew there to capture the entire event, per People. On the outside, Odom and Kardashian appeared to have a fairytale romance, but a few years into the marriage, problems started to arise. In August 2013, the NBA player was arrested for driving under the influence, which led Kardashian to find out about his infidelity. The "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star filed for divorce just months later in December 2013, but the proceedings would drag out for two more years, according to Life & Style.

On October 13, 2015, Odom was found unconscious from a drug overdose at a brothel in Nevada, per TMZ. Upon arriving at the hospital, Odom was in critical condition and experienced 12 strokes, six heart attacks, and kidney failure while he was in a coma. Kardashian remained with her soon-to-be ex-husband during this time and helped aid him in his recovery, but their divorce was ultimately finalized in December 2016 (via AP News).

Tony Parker and Eva Longoria

NBA point guard Tony Parker and "Desperate Housewives" actor Eva Longoria's relationship had a tumultuous end after Longoria discovered Parker had cheated on her with none other than the wife of his San Antonio Spurs teammate Brent Barry.

According to People, Parker and Longoria met in November 2004 and went public with their relationship months later in August 2005. Nearly two years after they met, the two got engaged, and tied the knot in a lavish ceremony in July 2007 with over 200 guests present, including Ryan Seacrest and Jessica Alba, per InStyle. Months into their marriage, however, rumors of infidelity started to gain traction in the media when model Alexandra Paressant claimed she and Parker started an affair shortly after his wedding, as reported by The New York Post.

Parker initially denied the accusations, but the marriage eventually crumbled when Longoria found hundreds of texts between him and another woman, allegedly Erin Barry, the wife of Brent Barry, per Page Six. While a source claimed that Parker and Barry did not have a physical relationship, a devastated Longoria filed for divorce in November 2010, which was then finalized in January 2011, as reported by People.

"It is with great sadness that after 7 years together, Tony and I have decided to divorce," Longoria announced on Facebook at the time. "We love each other deeply and pray for each other's happiness."

Shaquille O'Neal and Shaunie Henderson

Shaquille O'Neal and ex-wife Shaunie Henderson attempted to divorce once before following through with separating a second time around. Throughout their marriage, the NBA legend and Henderson dealt with their fair share of troubles, and despite their relationship lasting nearly 10 years, O'Neal's infidelity and differences in handling finances led to its demise.

O'Neal met Henderson (née Nelson) in the late 1990s after he moved from Orlando, FL to Los Angeles to start with the LA Lakers, per People. According to ESPN, the two married in a private ceremony on December 26, 2002 in the company of a select number of family and friends. Five years into the marriage, however, O'Neal would be the one to initiate the divorce in September 2007 on grounds that Henderson was mishandling their money and hiding certain assets, as reported by TMZ. Henderson fought against the filing and in August 2008, the divorce was called off.

A little over a year later, however, the couple's relationship was once again rocky, and this time around, Henderson filed for a legal separation in November 2009, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason, per The LA Times. The divorce was ultimately settled in March 2010, and O'Neal later revealed in his autobiography, "Shaq Uncut: My Story," that the settlement included $10,000 in alimony and $10,000 in child support for each of their four children (via Sportscasting).

Mike Tyson and Robin Givens

Throughout his prolific career, boxing legend Mike Tyson developed a bad boy reputation that involved misusing drugs and alcohol, being a womanizer, and having a violent temper. Tyson's first wife, actor Robin Givens, known for her role in the ABC sitcom "Head of the Class," unfortunately was swept into the boxer's tumultuous lifestyle when the two met in 1987, as reported by Bustle.

Tyson and Givens dated for nearly a year before getting married in February 1988, but their relationship was already headed for disaster before they said "I do." According to a 2004 interview on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Givens revealed that Tyson was abusive the day before their wedding day, but she tried to forgive him and move on nonetheless. Throughout 1988, the abuse continued to get worse, and by September 1988, she told Barbara Walters in a joint "20/20" interview with Tyson that their marriage was, "torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could possibly imagine," (via Newsweek). 

Tyson at the time claimed that Givens was deceptive and after his large fortune, and told The New York Post that his wife was "slime," and "stole money from me when we were together ... she stole from me and said I beat her up," (via The Washington Post). After eight months of marriage, Givens filed for divorce in October 1988, and the separation was ultimately finalized in February 1989.

Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy

Michael Jordan's legacy is often weighed by his stats in the NBA and the number of championship rings in his possession, but behind his widespread success was his wife of 17 years, Juanita Vanoy. The two met at a restaurant in Chicago in 1985 and started dating shortly after, according to The Washington Post. Three years into their relationship, Vanoy was pregnant, but had trouble getting some kind of commitment from Jordan, who at the time was continuing to rise as one of the NBA's biggest stars.

The two were able to settle together and married on September 2, 1989, as reported by People. Along with their son Jeffrey (born 1988), Jordan and Vanoy had two other children, Marcus (born 1990) and Jasmine (born 1992). The couple's marriage withstood Jordan's universal fame throughout the 1990s, but by the early 2000s, the relationship was starting to crack. Per The Washington Post, Vanoy filed for divorce in January 2002 after months of living apart from her husband and learning from a private investigator that Jordan was "in compromising situations in the company of a half-dozen women" throughout their marriage.

A month after initially filing, Vanoy withdrew her request and the two attempted to work on their marriage. Four years later, however, Jordan and Vanoy jointly filed for divorce in December 2006, with their lawyer's saying at the time (via ESPN), "Michael and Juanita Jordan mutually and amicably decided to end their 17-year marriage."

Lance Amstrong and Kristen Richard

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong appeared to have it all. The cyclist recovered from testicular cancer, married a beautiful young woman named Kristen Richard, and had three beautiful children. By 2003, however, his world partially crumbled when he and Richard divorced.

Armstrong and Richard met in 1997, when she was working at a public relations firm and he was finishing his chemotherapy treatments. "He was bald and cute, and it was a business relationship at first that evolved into a friendship," Richard explained to Oprah in 2006. After a few short months of dating, Armstrong proposed, and approximately one year after the two met, they got married in 1999, as reported by People.

Following their wedding, Richard packed up her life in Texas, relocated to France, and had three children with Armstrong. Despite appearing picture perfect, Armstrong and Richard's relationship was suffering. Just four years after saying "I do," the two announced that they were divorcing in 2003. Richard later revealed to Glamour in 2006 that she felt she lost her independence and identity in the marriage, saying, "If I were to do things over again, I wouldn't have thrown myself so irrevocably into my new life. I would have guarded the things that made me feel like me —the places, the friends —and above all I would have spoken up about my needs."

Hulk and Linda Hogan

Terry Bollea, better known as pro-wrestler Hulk Hogan, rose to fame as one of the biggest names in professional wrestling in the early days of the WWE in the 1980s. Following his career in the ring, Hogan went on to star in his own reality TV show, "Hogan Knows Best," in the 2000s with his longtime wife, Linda Hogan, and two children, Brooke and Nick Hogan. Along with having a larger-than-life persona that made him a popular figure around the world, Hogan was a dedicated father and husband, at least, that's what he appeared to be.

Hogan met Linda Claridge through a mutual friend in the early 1980s, and according to HITC, the two became instantly infatuated with one another. By 1983, the pair took their relationship to the next level by getting married and later starting a family. Throughout Hogan's fame, the couple's bond remained strong, but by 2007, their two-decade union was failing. According to TMZ, Linda filed for divorce in November 2007, and a year later, she revealed the reason for their split.

Per E! News, the "Hogan Knows Best" star wanted to divorce her husband after finding out that he was unfaithful and had an affair with their daughter's best friend. "When Linda discovered Hulk had [an affair] with Brooke's best friend, Christiane Plante, she made the decision to call it quits on the marriage," Linda's publicist said in a statement in 2008. Hogan denied ever cheating on Linda, and went on to marry again in 2010.

Alex Rodriguez and Cynthia Scurtis

In recent years, Alex Rodriguez, aka "A-Rod," has been linked with Jennifer Lopez, but before his romance with the singer and actor, the former Yankees player was married to Cynthia Scurtis. According to Us Weekly, Rodriguez and Scrutis met in the late 1990s at a Miami gym, and became friends right away. At some point during their friendship, the two started dating and married in 2002.

Six years into their marriage and two kids later, rumors began circulating that Rodriguez was unfaithful with none other than pop icon Madonna. In July 2008, just three months after Scurits gave birth to their second child, Ella, she filed for divorce (via The New York Post). At the time, Scurtis claimed that Rodriguez emotionally neglected both her and their children, and in court documents, she argued that their marriage was "irretrievably broken because of the husband's extra marital affairs and other marital misconduct." The divorce was finalized later that year, and despite a very public, messy divorce, the two have since reconciled and co-parent their children amicably.

In December 2021, A-Rod praised Scurtis on Instagram on her birthday, and called his ex-wife a wonderful mother role model to their two daughters, writing that she is "someone very special in my life."

Andre Agassi and Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields is arguably most recognized for her modeling and acting career rather than her romances, but the actor has been married twice, with her first marriage to tennis star Andre Agassi unfolding in the public eye. Agassi and Shields met in 1993 through jazz saxophonist Kenny G, who allegedly encouraged her to be a flirt by sending him a fax (via People).

Over the years, their relationship grew stronger, and the pair eventually married in 1997. On paper, the two couldn't look better: they each had their own successful careers, came from similar backgrounds, and appeared to be head over heels for one another. But their busy careers combined with Agassi's secret drug addiction and marital differences ultimately split them apart just shy of their two-year wedding anniversary.

In 1999, Agassi filed for divorce, though the decision to formally separate was mutual. Shields later revealed in her 2014 memoir, "There Was a Little Girl," that their differences is what ultimately caused them to split. "I always thought love was enough. But the truth was we were growing past one another. And I'm not sure if we individually enjoyed how the other liked to live," she wrote (via Showbiz CheatSheet).

Greg Norman and Laura Andrassy

Professional golfer Greg Norman is recognized for his accomplishments in the sport, but the messy end to his marriage with Laura Andrassy and a handful of questionable decisions tainted his reputation. According to Sportscasting, Norman and Andrassy married in 1981 and had two children together throughout their marriage. The couple remained together for nearly 25 years, which is why their 2007 divorce came as a shock to many. 

Per Radar, the pair's separation came after Andrassy learned of Norman's affair with tennis pro Chris Evert, the wife of his best friend, Andy Mill. After the news of the affair made headlines, a disgraced Norman was forced to pay Andrassy $103 million as a part of their divorce settlement, which included earnings from selling a home in Florida, a house in Palm Beach, and half a million dollars worth of jewelry, as reported by ESPN. Norman went on to marry Evert less than a year after his divorce from Andrassy, which ultimately ended up lasting 15 months, per The Daily Mail.

Nick Faldo and Valerie Bercher

Outside of his successful golfing career, Nick Faldo has also been known for his many relationships and marriages, with his marriage to Valerie Bercher garnering the most attention. The golf champion met Bercher at the 1997 Swiss Masters, and the two hit it off right away, according to The Independent. Four years later, the lovebirds tied the knot and would have one child together. Despite telling reporters at the time (via The Daily Mail), "This one is going to last," their marriage would come to an end after just five years in 2006.

Shortly after news of their divorce broke, Bercher took to the press to criticize her soon-to-be ex and give reason to why their marriage was ending. Per The Independent, Bercher claimed that not only did Faldo have a large ego, but he also had commitment issues, "a voracious sexual appetite and womanizing instincts." Faldo is currently married to his fourth wife, Lindsay De Marco, who is 25 years his junior, per HELLO!