Whatever Happened To Michael Jordan's First Wife, Juanita Vanoy?

Michael Jordan was married to Juanita Vanoy for 17 years, and the couple made headlines in 2007 when their landmark divorce settlement was announced. Vanoy walked away with $168 million in one of the most costly celebrity divorces of all time. The NBA legend would later tie the knot for a second time to Yvette Pietro in 2013, but Vanoy remained out of the public spotlight.

Part of the divorce settlement included Vanoy receiving custody of their three kids: Jeffrey Jordan, Marcus Jordan, and Jasmine Jordan. Vanoy had always prioritized their children. She became pregnant with Jeffrey in 1989 while she and Michael were still only dating. When the Chicago Bulls All-Star did not give her assurances about the unborn child, Vanoy took matters into her own hands and sought legal counsel. Eventually, she and Michael worked out their differences and married in 1989. During a 1993 interview with Connie Chung, Michael spoke about his headstrong wife. "Very independent. Very demanding. Of course, you know very caring, good mother," he said.

Despite being a major part of Michael's life during his championship runs with the Chicago Bulls, Vanoy was noticeably absent from the popular docu-series "The Last Dance" that aired in 2020. "I don't think there was a need to really rehash and go through it all," Jasmine told Essence in 2020 while discussing Vanoy's exclusion from the series. Not much had been heard from Vanoy since her divorce. However, in July, she started posting on social media.

Juanita Vanoy created a clothing company

In June, Marcus Jordan shared a snap of his family on his Instagram Stories. The photo included his siblings, Jeffrey Jordan and Jasmine Jordan, and their mom, Juanita Vanoy. Marcus tagged his brother and sister and dubbed his mother "Mama Ja" in the photo because she did not have an Instagram account. The next month, Marcus's girlfriend, Larsa Pippen, posted to her Instagram Stories telling people to follow Vanoy's new account.

For her first few posts, Vanoy posted a few photos with friends. Plus, she added pictures and videos to her Story Highlights from a birthday trip to New York City. Besides those few personal posts, Vanoy mostly used the page to promote her business ventures. The ex-wife of Michael Jordan had started her own boutique business called Juanita World, which resells designer goods such as clothing, shoes, handbags, and accessories. According to the About section of the company's website, Vanoy "personally purchased" the goods for sale from Juanita World while also leveraging her relationships with "reliable wholesale partners." Vanoy included a description of herself on the website. "I'm also an enthusiastic world traveler, a passionate art collector, a champagne connoisseur and a self-proclaimed shopaholic," she wrote. "I'm blessed to have amassed the collection of my dreams ... but now it is time for some of these luscious luxuries to have a new home," Vanoy added.

Besides the Juanita World venture, Vanoy was also involved in a popular Broadway play.

Why Juanita Vanoy took so long to start her own business

Among Juanita Vanoy's Instagram posts highlighting her clothing resale business are also posts showcasing the Broadway production of "Some Like It Hot." Vanoy is one of the show's producers — based on the hit 1959 movie — which opened in December 2022, according to Playbill. The musical has been nominated for 13 Tony Awards, and although it was ending its initial Broadway run in December 2023, a national tour for "Some Like It Hot" was announced to start in September 2024.

Vanoy had long wanted to pursue her own ventures, such as Juanita World and acting as a producer on Broadway, but held off for the sake of her family. "I thought I'd open my own business. But it was important for me to remain in my kids' lives as much as possible, even through college," she told Crain's Chicago Business in 2013.

Throughout her marriage to Michael Jordan, it was important to Vanoy to remember her roots. She was raised on the South Side of Chicago and would often bring her children there to visit family. "They saw how they lived and what the real world was about," Vanoy told Crain's Chicago Business in 2013. To further instill values in her kids, Vanoy believed it was important that her sons differentiated themselves from their world-famous father. For instance, she would not allow them to wear a number "23" basketball jersey. "They needed to understand that they needed to develop their own skills," she said in 2013.