Athletes Who Treat Their Significant Others Like Trash

The following article includes mentions of domestic violence.

There are two sides to being the spouse or significant other of a top athlete. There is a glamorous side that consists of living a life of luxury, feeling financially secure, and never having to work again. Then there's the not-so-glamorous side. Unfortunately, the world of sports has seen its athletes caught in scandalous affairs, cheating rumors, and several disturbing allegations. Way too many wives or girlfriends of popular athletes have felt the sting of their partner's infidelities and wrongful actions and when it gets aired out, it's humiliating and deeply concerning. 

Michael Jordan's ex-wife Juanita Vanoy was not going to let the star-studded NBA player get away with his cheating ways. According to The Washington Post, a private investigator spotted Jordan with multiple women during their marriage, including a stripper. The couple was married for 17 years when their divorce was finalized in 2006 and Vanoy took home a whopping $168 million, making it one of the most expensive divorce settlements in history.

The athletes on this list treated their significant others like trash and some of it isn't pretty. From infamous extramarital affairs to abuse allegations, these sports stars became more known for their horrible actions toward their partner than for their celebrated career.

Stephon Marbury

Stephon Marbury's NBA career began in 1996 when he was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks. He would later play for the New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, and the Boston Celtics before ending up playing ball in China and later becoming the head coach of the Beijing Royal Fighters. Although he had a steady career, Marbury's personal life was becoming the talk of the town when he was exposed as having had an affair with his family's chef.

According to the New York Post, it was revealed that Marbury had an extramarital affair with personal chef Thurayyah Mitchell in 2006 when he was playing for the Knicks. When the athlete no longer needed her services he let her go and offered her nearly $1 million to keep their affair quiet. However, when Mitchell only received $600,000 she went to an arbitrator and was granted the rest of her payment with Marbury stating it was to "buy Ms. Mitchell's silence."

The affair was discussed in Season 5 of VH1's "Basketball Wives" when Marbury's wife Tasha Marbury was introduced to the group of women as a new cast member. After doing some research on Tasha and her marriage, cast member Suzie Ketcham brought up the affair at dinner and Tasha did not deny it. She shared (via Bossip), "It happened. It's over with. It's in the past," adding that she and her husband did indeed pay the chef off. Tasha and Stephon married in 2002 and are still together as of this writing.

Chien-Ming Wang

Chien-Ming Wang became a hero to the Taiwanese people when he made his first appearance as a New York Yankees starting pitcher in 2005. However, in 2009, Wang suffered a crushing shoulder injury that took him out of the rest of the season with the Yankees ultimately letting him go and making him a free agent. 

The same year that he had to rehabilitate his shoulder, he was having an extramarital affair. According to the Taipei Times, Wang held a press conference in 2012 where he confessed that he had an eight-month affair with a woman named Cyndi. He decided to come clean about his affair after Cyndi revealed that she would expose him if he ended things with her. Wang stated, "I really do not want to hurt this lady. But weighing on the situation, the people I should not hurt are my family." Wang married his wife Chia-Ling in 2003 and the couple welcomed a son in 2009

According to Goldsea, Cyndi admitted that she did not know Wang was a professional baseball player or that he was married when they met at a karaoke bar in Florida. She learned about his true identity when their relationship was becoming more serious. However, their relationship was over after Wang admitted to feeling a sense of guilt. As of this writing, Wang is the pitching coach with the CTBC Brothers, a team in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, and is still married to his wife.

Nick Young

Iggy Azalea and former Los Angeles Lakers player Nick Young made headlines when he popped the question with a massive yellow diamond ring on his 30th birthday in 2015. Not even a year into their engagement, a video emerged in March 2016 of Young admitting to his teammate D'Angelo Russell to cheating on Azalea with a 19-year-old. However, the "Fancy" rapper didn't seem bothered by the video confession at the time. 

Billboard asked Azalea about the incriminating video, and she shared, "When I saw [the video], I was like hmm, could be true, could be just you trying to look cool and trying to look like the man to a younger guy who thinks that's cool." However, that June, it was all over for the couple after Azalea told her Twitter followers that she saw Young bringing women over on their home security cameras. "This is just like the second shot to the chest. And I feel like I don't even know who the hell it is I've been loving all this time," she tweeted (via Yahoo!).

According to Us Weekly, it was rumored that Young got his ex-girlfriend Keonna Green pregnant while he was engaged to Azalea. They rekindled their relationship and welcomed their daughter Navi in 2016 (after their first son, Nick Jr.), and had a third child, Nyce in 2019. That same year, the athlete announced that they were engaged

Mike Caussin

Country singer Jana Kramer's six-year marriage to former NFL player Mike Caussin was not an easy one. A year after the two wed in 2015, Us Weekly reported that Caussin was unfaithful, having been with multiple women, and he sought help for sex addiction. Although he went to a rehabilitation in 2016, he admitted on their podcast "Whine Down with Jana Kramer" that he was only sober for a year, adding, "Yeah, we've been through some s***. So that's why even though I've been in the program coming on three years, I'm a year sober," with Kramer stating that her husband had "relapses" but did not engage in physical intimacy with anyone.

The couple renewed their vows in 2017, but in April 2021, Kramer shared on Instagram that they were done for good with Us Weekly revealing that he had cheated on her again. "I've given everything I have, and now I have nothing else to give ... I just can't fight any longer. It's time to heal," she wrote. In July, Kramer announced that the former couple were legally divorced and wrote, "Today has not been easy and I didn't know if I would even say anything. If I'm honest I had no idea how I would feel. Relieved? Sad? But I got the 'final' call that I'm officially divorced and the tears came."

Less than a year after their public split, Kramer introduced her Instagram fans to her new boyfriend Ian Schinelli in January 2022. She and Caussin also share two children.  

Hank Baskett

In 2014, former NFL player Hank Baskett found himself having to explain to his then-wife Kendra Wilkinson that he had an affair. The news was shocking as Wilkinson was pregnant with the couple's second child.

Baskett aired out his dirty laundry to People when he shared that he went to the home of a transgender model and had a brief encounter with her. "I didn't engage in anything. It was like a bank robbery. You never know when you'll freeze. I don't know if it was a couple of seconds or 15 seconds, because all I was saying was get out, get out, get out." The model, who was revealed to be Ava Sabrina London, detailed a different and more graphic affair with Baskett. Speaking to the National Enquirer, she stated, "Hank absolutely knew that I was transsexual and he told me I was the only transsexual he's ever been with. He thought I was beautiful."

Despite having cheated on his wife, the couple remained together. Wilkinson welcomed their daughter Alijah and they worked through their issues on WE tv's "Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars." However, it all came to an end in 2018 when the "Girls Next Door" star filed for divorce in April 2018. According to Us Weekly, the couple shares joint custody of their daughter and son, Hank IV.

Shaquille O'Neal

In 2012, NBA great Shaquille O'Neal published his memoir "Shaq Uncut: My Story" which not only talked about his rise to stardom and his many accomplishments in basketball, but also his infidelities towards his ex-wife Shaunie O'Neal. 

The former couple was married from 2002 to 2009 with TMZ reporting that Shaunie filed for divorce and had asked for child support for their four children as well as spousal support. What may have baffled fans reading Shaq's memoir is the NBA legend not only admitted to his wrongdoings towards his ex-wife but stated that he did not cheat on her "disrespectfully." His book states, "At one time my ex-wife Shaunie and I were happy, but I admit it — I was a guy. I was a guy with too many options. Choosing to be with some of those women, well, that's on me. In my mind, I never did it disrespectfully, but obviously, I should have never done it at all."

According to People, Shaq had initially filed for divorce in 2007 and claimed that his former spouse was hiding assets. The couple reconciled until Shaunie decided it was time to call it quits two years later. Although they are no longer together, they remain on good terms. Shaunie expressed to Page Six how she hoped her ex-husband finds a good woman, stating, "When I see Shaq with a new woman I'll be like, 'Oh, is this the one. Please let this be the one. Like, girl, stick in there — you got this.'"

Reggie Bush

Former NFL athlete Reggie Bush found love again after calling it quits with Kim Kardashian in 2010. In 2014, Bush married dance teacher Lilit Avagyan, who eerily resembles "The Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star and the couple welcomed two children together. However, Bush found himself in a messy situation when he had an extramarital affair with a woman named Monique Exposito and she learned she was pregnant. 

According to Bossip, Bush believed he could pay Exposito $3 million for her silence and abortion of their unborn child. When the news of his affair became public, he stopped paying Exposito and she welcomed their son Preston in February 2017. Avagyan stayed by her husband's side throughout his scandalous affair with TMZ reporting that she was also expecting their third child in 2017. According to Us Weekly, she gave birth to the couple's son in September.

According to Total Pro Sports, Exposito seemed to throw shade at Bush in 2019 when he wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post about being present in his children's lives after not having a father figure to look up to. He wrote, "All my kids will have a beautiful relationship with me and none of them will experience the same pain my dad had that was in turn passed down to me!" Exposito posted a photo of their son with the caption, "Your upbringing is all my bringing papi lindooooo all mommy !!!!"

Chipper Jones

Larry Wayne "Chipper" Jones Jr. was a celebrated MLB player after having played for the Atlanta Braves his entire career. His team won the 1995 World Series against the Cleveland Indians, and the next year, they headed to the World Series yet again but lost to the New York Yankees. While Jones was regarded as a hero to fans, off the field, he appeared to be a different man when he revealed that he had multiple affairs — and that one of his affairs resulted in the birth of his son, Matthew. 

Jones' marriage to his wife Karin of six years appeared to be over when he shared that he slept with women after the 1996 World Series and got a waitress in Florida pregnant. He even detailed the time he had to tell his wife about his wrongdoings in his book "Ballplayer," stating (via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), "I would get it all out, and whatever happened after that, happened. It would probably get violent, and she'd probably never want to see my face again." The couple stayed together and went to therapy to resolve their issues with Karin sharing that it all came crashing down when she learned that he was unfaithful again. "I finally had to wake up and face reality," she said. The couple divorced in 2000. 

The same year he divorced his first wife, Jones married Sharon Logonov and the couple has three children. They divorced in 2012 and he married his third wife, Playboy model Taylor Higgins in 2015.

Al Unser Jr.

American race car driver Al Unser Jr. was celebrated for winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1992 and 1994, but life took a turn for the worse when in 2002 he was arrested for striking his girlfriend. According to ESPN, Jena Soto told police that she was driving a drunk Unser home when he struck her in the face. After she pulled over on the side of the highway, Unser got in the driver's seat and left her stranded on the highway. Unser was arrested for domestic violence and posted $30,000 bail.

Unser has had trouble with alcohol for most of his life. According to TMZ, he has been arrested for driving under the influence three times with his most recent arrest in 2019. Talking to Racer about his struggles, he shared, "No matter how long I'm sober or how great things are going, I have the disease of alcoholism. I'm an alcoholic. A lot of little things added up and got me. Now today the whole thought process is not that I'm not an alkie, because I am," adding, "I don't wish this disease on anyone. It screwed up my life." FOX 59 reported that Unser celebrated one year of sobriety in 2020.

Before he dated Soto, Unser was married to Shelley Unser for 17 years and the former couple have four kids. They divorced in 1999 and she died from lung disease in 2018, per IndyStar.

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).

Tristan Thompson

NBA star Tristan Thompson and Khloe Kardashian's relationship has made constant headlines because of the athletes' numerous infidelities. The pair began dating in 2016, and a year later, the reality star announced on Instagram that she was pregnant. Not everything was smooth sailing, as TMZ reported that Thompson had cheated on Kardashian with multiple women throughout her pregnancy, and just days after she was to give birth to their daughter, True, he was seen with another woman.

According to Us Weekly, in February 2019, Kardashian faced another heartbreak when Thompson cheated on her again with Jordyn Woods, half-sister Kylie Jenner's best friend. It came as a shock to the Kardashian family, but during their 2021 "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" reunion, Khloe admitted (via People), "I forgive Jordyn, or else I would be a prisoner in my life." She also appeared to make amends with Thompson.

Thompson's relationship with Khloe Kardashian came to a standstill when it was discovered in December 2021 that he had yet another affair with a woman named Maralee Nichols and that she was pregnant with his child. When a paternity test proved that Thompson was the dad, he publicly apologized to Kardashian on Instagram, stating (via Daily Mail), "You don't deserve the heartache and humiliation I have caused you ... Again, I am so incredibly sorry." Nichols' son was born in December of that year.

Paul George

In February 2014, sports news site Jocks & Stiletto Jill broke the news that then Indiana Pacer star Paul George was going to be a father after he was involved with a stripper in Miami named Daniela. The only problem was that George was in a relationship with Callie Rivers, the daughter of then-head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers Doc Rivers. 

George did not deny the rumors and told TMZ Sports, "If and when there is legal confirmation that I am the father, I will fully embrace my responsibilities." His relationship with Callie was over with reports that George even offered Daniela $1 million to abort the baby. According to the New York Post, a paternity test proved that he was the father and Daniela took the athlete to court after he refused to take part in their daughter's life. However, the two put their differences aside, and are together as of this writing. In 2018, Daniela welcomed another daughter named Natasha, and in 2021, the couple welcomed a son named Paul Vuk George.

Interestingly, George was traded to the Clippers in 2019 where Rivers was still head coach, but in 2021, Rivers became head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. As for Callie, she married NBA player Seth Curry, the brother of Stephen Curry in September 2019. 

Ashley Cole

English soccer star Ashley Cole's marriage to songstress Cheryl Cole was forever broken when five women came forward to reveal that they had slept with the athlete. The couple wed in July 2006 but just two years later, a hairdresser named Amiee Watson told the Daily Star that he had cheated on his pop star wife with her. Unfortunately, this wouldn't be the last allegation of Cole being unfaithful. 

According to The Guardian, Cole had sent model Sonia Wild inappropriate photos of himself in 2010, with a third woman, a secretary at Premier League club, Liverpool, coming forward to state that she too had an affair with the soccer star. A fourth woman had also slept with Ashley, as did a fifth woman named Alexandra Taylor. Taylor went into detail about her night out with Cole back in 2004, when he and Cheryl had made their relationship public. She told the Mirror, "But I didn't know anything about him and Cheryl – he certainly never mentioned her while we were talking. And later that night we went back to his place for sex."

Cheryl filed for divorce from the professional athlete in 2010 and cited "unreasonable behavior," per Reuters. In 2019, Cole told The Telegraph that he was a changed man after having two children with model Sharon Canu, who he began dating in 2014. "It's a different me, I'm more of a family man now. You won't see me in nightclubs anymore, you'll see me at a park pushing my kids," he shared.

Steve Austin

From the late '90s to the early 2000s, Steve Austin, aka "Stone Cold" Steve Austin took the professional wrestling world by storm. However, his personal life did not mirror his successful career when he was arrested in 2002 for assaulting his third wife, Debra Marshall. 

The couple tied the knot in 2000, but MTV reported that their marital bliss ended in June 2002 when San Antonio, Texas police found Marshall with a swollen eye and cheek, and bruises on her body after Austin allegedly assaulted her. Austin was not at the scene, with the Associated Press (via Entertainment Weekly) reporting that he turned himself into police in August, where he was arrested and posted his $5,000 bond. At his hearing, Austin was put on probation, had to pay a fine and had to do 80 hours of community service, per Entertainment Weekly. The wrestler filed for divorce in July 2002. Speaking to Fox News, Marshall shared that the WWE tried to hide the alleged abuse to not tarnish Austin's reputation. "They put a gag on me for a year that I couldn't talk about this, because they knew that I could totally bring down their top star."

Austin married his fourth wife Kristin Feres in 2009 with Power Sportz stating in 2020 that Feres helped him in getting his life back on track.

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. 

Tiki Barber

Former New York Giants star Tiki Barber and his wife Traci Lynn Johnson have been together since 2012, but their relationship has come with some scrutiny. In 2010, it was revealed by the New York Post that Barber had left his first wife of 11 years Ginny Cha while she was 8 months pregnant with their twins for Johnson.

According to Us Weekly, Barber and his first wife tied the knot in 1999 and welcomed two sons in 2002 and 2004. However, in April of 2010, news broke that he had an affair with the much younger Johnson who was working as an NBC intern. Cha gave birth to twin daughters that May with the New York Post revealing that Barber was not allowed in the delivery room. Days after his divorce from Cha was finalized, Barber married Johnson in New York City, per the Daily Mail. Since tying the knot, the couple has welcomed two daughters named Brooklyn and Teagan.  

Fans might recognize Johnson after joining the cast of women of Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" for the reality show's 12th season where she has discussed her marriage with Barber.

Zac Stacy

Running back Zac Stacy had a short-lived career in the NFL after he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2013 and announced his retirement while he was a part of the New York Jets in 2017. Stacy made headlines in November of 2021 when TMZ released a disturbing video of Stacy harming the mother of his son at her home in Florida. The video showed Stacy hitting the woman and throwing her into her television as it fell on top of her while their young son was in the room.

According to the New York Post, the woman was identified as Kristin Evans and Stacy was arrested and charged with aggravated battery. The Orlando Sentinel later reported that the former NFL player paid a $10,150 bond and was set free despite Evans' plea that she was afraid for her life. "This is not the first time he's been violent with me. I am afraid for my safety and my children's safety," she said. In February 2022, Stacy faced five more charges including three misdemeanor violence battery charges and two misdemeanor criminal mischief charges after he demanded money from Evans and allegedly assaulted her during an incident in August 2021. He is set to have a hearing in May 2022, as of this writing, per TMZ.

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.

Chad Wheeler

NFL offensive lineman Chad Wheeler was released from the Seattle Seahawks after he faced three charges including first-degree domestic violence assault for an incident involving his girlfriend Alleah Taylor in January 2021, per SI. Taylor detailed the horrific account on "CBS This Morning," where she shared that Wheeler had texted a photo of himself earlier that day with a shaved head which was odd since he "loved his long hair." She stated that when she arrived home Wheeler went "downhill emotionally" and "snapped into a dark place." He asked her to "bow down" to him and when she refused, he choked Taylor twice into unconsciousness, and when she woke, she heard him state, "Wow, you're still alive." 

According to ESPN, Wheeler pleaded not guilty to the charges and had a scheduled court date of April 6th, 2022. As of this writing, if he is found guilty, the ex-NFL player could face eight to 12 years behind bars. Wheeler tweeted an apology and called the incident a "manic episode" with Taylor stating that he has bipolar disorder. He added, "It is time for me to walk away from football and get the help I need to never again pose a threat to another. I cannot express my sorrow or remorse enough. I am truly ashamed."

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.