The NBA Hall of Famer talked about living a “double life” during his marriage to Shaunie O’Neal, admitting on a recent podcast, “I was bad”
On the Tuesday episode of The Pivot Podcast, the NBA legend discussed his career, relationships and regrets. The former Los Angeles Lakers player, 50, also explained why he blames himself for the end of his marriage to Shaunie, who split from Shaq in 2009 after getting married in 2002.
“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.”
Though the basketball pro said they didn’t need to further discuss “what I was doing,” he explained, “I wasn’t protecting her and protecting those vows.”
The Hall of Famer added, “Sometimes when you live that double life, you get caught up. I’m not going to say it was her; it was all me.”
Shaq recounted the effort his ex-wife put into their relationship before the couple split. “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.”
The former couple has since restored their friendship, and O’Neal had nothing but compliments when talking about his ex-wife. “She was awesome, she really was. It was all me,” he explained.
Shaunie, 47, announced her engagement to pastor Keion Henderson late last year after the two began dating in February 2020. “This love is FOREVER and I’m honored and overjoyed to do forever with him,” the Basketball Wives star told PEOPLE in November.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE‘s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
“She’s happy now,” O’Neal said on the podcast. “She’s about to marry a fine, young gentleman and I’m happy for her.”
The exes share four children: Shareef, 22, Amirah, 20, Shaqir, 19, and Me’arah, 15. Shaunie is also mom to another son, Myles, 24, from a previous relationship.