Shaquille O’Neal has a lot to be proud of – 15 NBA All-Star selections and 4 NBA Championships, to name a few. But on an April 19 episode of The Pivot Podcast, the former Laker expressed remorse for his behavior in his marriage to ex-wife Shaunie O’Neal. Shaq told hosts Channing Crowder, Ryan Clark and Fred Taylor that he takes the blame for the circumstances that led to their 2011 divorce. “I’ve never talked about this, and I’m glad you guys asked because I don’t mind talking about this, but I was bad,” Shaq said. “She was awesome. She really was. It was all me.”
In the nearly 90-minute episode, Shaq also reflects on his career and how his father’s discipline kept him out of trouble growing up. But it was his admittance of his treatment of the Basketball Wives Executive Producer that was the most shocking bit of info that came out of their chat. The couple got married in 2002 and have four children together, Shareef, 22, Amirah, 20, Shaqir, 19, and Me’arah, 15. Although he didn’t want to get into specifics, Shaq implied that he wasn’t the best husband. “I wasn’t protecting her and protecting those vows,” he said on the podcast.
Shaq went on to say that he had the “perfect situation” when his family was intact and gave Shaunie credit for her part in keeping their family and business running smoothly. And the 7-foot All-Star got emotional, saying he felt lost when it all went away. “She did exactly what she was supposed to do and gave me beautiful kids, take care of the house, take care of the corporate stuff. It was just all me. Sometimes, when you make a lot of mistakes like that, you can’t really come back from that,” he said.
For her part, Shaunie is preparing to give love another try. The reality star announced her engagement to pastor Keion Henderson in November 2021. “This was one of the most magical and special days of my life, being someone that had never officially been proposed to — like no down on one knee and asked ‘will you marry me’ moment,” Shaunie told PEOPLE. And Shaq says he wishes her the best. “She’s happy now,” he says. “She’s about to marry a fine, young gentleman, and I’m happy for her.”