Shannon Sharpe Sets Aside Beef with Shaquille O'Neal to Slam His Ex-Wife for Exploiting His Fame

Shannon Sharpe wants Shaunie Henderson to remember that her rise to fame wasn’t by happenstance, but because she stood on the shoulders of her ex-husband, Shaquille O’Neal.

The first-time author, who recently released her memoir “Undefeated: Changing the Rules and Winning on My Own Terms,” sent fans and critics into debate-mode with her unfiltered thoughts about her marriage to O’Neal.

During her appearance on the “Tamron Hall” show, a revealing excerpt made it known that she doubted she ever really experienced being in love with the sports icon.

Shannon Sharpe (left) reminds Shaquille O’Neal’s ex-wife Shaunie Henderson (center) that she became a household name because of the NBA star (right). (Photos: @shannonsharpe84/Instagram, @iamshaunie/Instagram, @shaq/Instagram)

“I don’t know that I was ever really in love with the man, but I was in love with the idea of being married to the man I had a family with. I was in love with the idea of building a life together,” she wrote. Shanunie would further elaborate, telling Hall that she was in love with the partnership and later in a separate interview, she clarified that her words were taken “out of context.”

Sharpe was unable to wrap his head around the television producer’s motivation for the reflection. “I just don’t get … so here’s the thing, let’s just say for the, the only reason … I know she’s remarried and she’s happy. I think she’s married to a pastor now,” he said on a recent “Nightcap” episode.

Shaunie and the former Los Angeles Lakers center were married for seven years when they divorced in 2011. The union yielded four biological children, Shareef, 23, Amirah, 21, Shaqir, 20, and Me’arah, 17. He is also a father to his daughter, Taahirah, 27, from a prior relationship and Shaunie’s son from another relationship, Myles, 26.

The 49-year-old took a second trip down the aisle when she said “I do” to The Lighthouse Church lead Pastor Keion Henderson. The blissful love also motivated her to ditch O’Neal as her surname.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee quickly pivoted to point out that Shaunie is among a short list of first ladies who have penned a memoir that people would have interest in reading that’s thanks to the star power she curated by proxy.

After their split, Shaunie created the lucrative “Basketball Wives” series and starred in her own reality show with their children, “Shaunie’s Full Court.”

Sharpe said, “They’re gonna read this book because she was married to Shaq. She became a household name because she was married to Shaq. For the longest time she kept that O’Neal name, and I ain’t got no problem with it. Like I said, I don’t know Shaunie. I’m not here to bash Shaunie, but my thing is, I don’t get why you needed to say that, why you felt you needed to say that.”

And he wasn’t alone in sharing her take on the matter. “She didn’t have problem getting benefits of the marriage but wasn’t benefitting to her marriage,” read a remark about hindsight being 20/20 for the businesswoman.

“She digs for gold!!! Final point,” wrote another person. A third said, “Real talk bro 100 this is a red flag for the new husband.”

O’Neal wrote in an Instagram post that he “understood” why his ex would feel that way. And Shaunie hit back at critics who harshly reacted to her words.

“My book is my truth,” she told People amid the online discourse. “There was no context to just that one quote that I said, and I think that sadly, people are taking my words out of context,” she added.

But just as some railed against the new author, there were others who came to her defense. “Because it’s a memoir and he was a big part of her life. I don’t believe what she said was negative a lot of women fall in love with the promise of a man and not where he’s at,” wrote one supporter.

However, the attention shown to the former O’Neal’s shifted when commenters suggested that Sharpe talk about his own relationships. “We need to know yo story Shannon!!! That’s it,” and “Why is Shannon Sharpe talking about their relationship fella share about you affair(s)” read two comments.

Another individual mentioned that Shaq recently “went off on this man,” in reference to the Diesel’s diss track that took aim at Sharpe’s professional accomplishments during his 14 years on gridiron in comparison to his 19-year basketball career.

The three-time Super Bowl winner has never been married and often gloats about his sexual conquests with mystery women who meet his very particular list of must-haves. Despite never saying “I do,” he is a father to three children, daughters Kayla and Kaley, and his son, Kiara, all of whom are 32.

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