Shaquille O’Neal Maintains a Good Relationship With His Two Ex-Wives and Continues to Help Raise All Six of His Children
Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal, commonly known as just Shaq, is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time. During his 19-year-long career in the National Basketball Association (NBA), he’s played for six teams. Shaq is a four-time NBA champion. He’s long been away from the court, working as a sportswriter, appearing in movies, and voicing cartoons, as well as devoting all his free time to his children.
Shaquille and Shaunie, 2006
Shaquille has five kids of his own, and one stepson. Four of them were born during his marriage to Shaunie Nelson. They got married in 2002 and divorced in 2011. Shaq blames himself, saying he made mistakes and was “greedy.” The sportsman says he had the perfect situation: a wife with a chiseled figure, having children and only becoming more beautiful.
After his now ex-wife and children moved out of their shared mansion in Orlando, he recalled, “Seventy-six thousand square foot house by yourself, lost. No kids, go to the gym, nobody’s playing in the gym. Go to their room, nobody’s there. You know when you get older, you try to think about the mistakes that you made that could have been avoided. Divorce is definitely one of them,” said Shaq.
Shaq and Shaunie have four kids together: Shareef, Amirah, Shaqir, and Me’arah. They also both have one child each from a previous relationship. Shaunie has a son, Myles, and O’Neal has a daughter, Taahirah. Despite breaking up with the mothers of his children, Shaquille is on good terms with them and continues to raise all the kids.
“I have two wonderful women that have given me beautiful, gorgeous children, I have to protect and I have to provide and I have to love for them forever,” said the athlete. He adds that this is why he works so much. And, as Shaquille says, he doesn’t do it for himself, since he has everything, but for the sake of his six children.
Shaunie and Shaquille O’Neal with the kids, 2019
The basketball player is known for his tough play in the court, but as a father, O’Neal has shown a different side of himself. “Being a dad helped me become more likable,” he said. “When I lose, I’m tearing my house up. I’m pissed, I’m breaking everything, but as soon as you have the kids, soon as you open that door, all that has to go away, [...] you have to be nice, especially with girls because the kids, they don’t care if you win or lose,” O’Neil explained. In general, Shaq is more protective of his daughters than his sons, as they’re more sensitive.
In one interview, the athlete was asked about his best and worst memories of his kids. “The best moment is just coming home every day and hearing five, six different voices. Worst moment is when the separation happened and they weren’t there every day. That was probably my worst moment.”
Shaquille O’Neal considers himself more of a friend than an enforcer of strict discipline, although at the same time, the sportsman does have rules for his daughters. The basketball player revealed this a few years ago. According to him, he’s against his girls dating until they’re 25 years old.
As for other parenting principles, Shaq puts full trust in his children’s mothers and isn’t shy about saying how wonderful his exes are: “They’re leaders, so I let them lead because you have to understand that women rule the world anyway. So you let them rule ... [and] just show them support. Moms and mothers, they have the real jobs. So you have to show them honor, you have to show them respect.”
In an interview, the NBA star complained that his daughters stopped thinking he was cool when they got a little older. Shaq says they don’t like it when he tries to give them a kiss goodbye, for example, when he drops them off somewhere. “My girls used to kiss me all the time. I thought they would at least kiss me on the cheek forever. My youngest is now 14, and it just stopped last year. ... The kisses are gone.”
Shaquille was once asked if he would want his daughters to date NBA players, to which he replied, “Probably not.” The athlete wants his girls to “own their own company” and to not “need anybody.”
What Shaquille’s kids are up to
- Taahirah O’Neal, 26, graduated with honors from Oglethorpe University in 2019. She is now a junior communications analyst at PepsiCo and also works as a social media assistant at her father’s entertainment company, Mine O Mine.
- Shaquille’s stepson, 25-year-old Myles O’Neal, started appearing on TV from a young age, and later took to the catwalk. At 21, Myles made his fashion show debut, taking part in the Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2018 show during Milan Fashion Week. He has also collaborated with brands such as Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, H&M, Fendi, and Chanel. Among other things, Myles is involved in music.
- 21-year-old Amirah O’Neil also plays basketball at Texas Southern University.
- Shaqir O’Neil, 19, is also a keen sportsman. He is a forward for the Texas Southern University team.
- 16-year-old Me’arah (pictured below with her mother Shaunie and sister Amirah) is still in school, but several universities are already hoping that she will enrol with them.
Interesting fact: Shaquille brings joy not only to his own kids, but also to other people’s children whom he happens to meet in shops. For example, if he sees some kid at Walmart looking intently at a product, the sportsman will certainly buy it for them. But he will only do this if he gets the parents’ permission, or else, according to O’Neal, the children might get used to some rich stranger buying things for them.