Shaq calls himself ‘d—head’, says ‘bad deeds’ led to split from ex-wife Shaunie Henderson

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Shaquille O’Neal will be honest. He was the reason he ended his marriage to his ex-wife Shaunie Henderson.

Speaking to People for a cover story, the basketball Hall of Famer called himself a “d—head” while married to Henderson, who was on the TV show “Basketball Wives.”

“I was a d—head,” O’Neal said. “You don’t know how good something is until you lose it.”

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Shaquille O'Neal and his wife Shaunie during the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards red carpet at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.

Shaquille O’Neal and his wife Shaunie during the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards red carpet at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.
(KMazur/Wire Image)

O’Neal has owned up to his mistakes in the past, telling “The Pivot Podcast” that “she was amazing. She really was. It was all me.”

O’Neal wouldn’t go into the details of why he ended his first marriage, but he did note that he wasn’t “protecting those vows.”

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“Sometimes when you’re living that double life, you get caught,” he added. “I’m not going to say it was her. It was all me.”

Shaunie O'Neal, left;  NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, right;  and his family attend the grand opening of Shaquille's at LA Live on March 9, 2019 in Los Angeles.

Shaunie O’Neal, left; NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, right; and his family attend the grand opening of Shaquille’s at LA Live on March 9, 2019 in Los Angeles.
(Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

O’Neal and Henderson officially broke up in 2011 after marrying in 2002. She married Pastor Keion Henderson in May. O’Neal has not remarried.

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The former couple had four children together. Shareef O’Neal, 22, is the oldest and plays with G League Ignite as a 6-foot-10 forward looking to fulfill an NBA dream as his father.

But he is not the only player in the family. Amirah O’Neal, 21, played for Texas Southern University during the 2021-22 season, while Shaqir O’Neal, 19, is in Texas Southern’s men’s program. Amirah also attended her father’s alma mater, LSU, as a basketball player during the 2020-21 season.

Shaunie O'Neal and Shaquille O'Neal during the 3rd Annual General Motors GM All-Car Showdown presented by Shaquille O'Neal at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California.

Shaunie O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal during the 3rd Annual General Motors GM All-Car Showdown presented by Shaquille O’Neal at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California.
(Jason Merritt/FilmMagic)

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The youngest of the four, Me’Arah O’Neal, is a promising 16-year-old basketball player from Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California.

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