What is marriage? Is it a conscious coupling of two souls? Is it the ultimate commitment? A way to have your union blessed by God? The overwhelming majority of marriages are entered into for the right reasons. You’re in love, you've had a great weekend in Cabo, so why should the party have to end on Monday?
Contrary to popular opinion, athletes are also people. People who make a lot more money then us, are more genetically blessed and fawned over way more then is appropriate to anyone who gives it any thought. Athletes also marry. What better way to combine brands and get a lot of press coverage then to enter into the holy bonds of matrimony with your beloved?
But sometimes the love turns to hate for any of the normal reasons, like when a male athlete married his wife right out of high school and realized he can now get someone way hotter. Or you find the women in major league cities much more to you liking then the one in minor league towns. Maybe the wife realizes that when her athlete husband is no longer good enough to play pro ball, that it was really all about the money. There is a thin line between love and hate and when two alphas in the public eye decide to call it quits, the only true victors are us, the public. Here are the eight craziest athlete divorces:
8 Kris and Anna Benson (2012)
Only in Major League baseball can a pitcher with a lifetime record of 70-75, whose most wins in a season was 12, walk away with over eighteen million dollars. That mediocrity was named Kris Benson and three different teams saw potential greatness in him. If there’s any justice, all three of those teams GM’s should be working as greeters in Wal-Mart with the worst shifts.
Kris Benson met his wife to be when she was dancing at an Atlanta strip club where all she had in the world, according to her, was, “two pairs of panties and one bra.” His first thought upon seeing her... okay, probably the second thought was that she was better then this. He was as wrong about her, as major league GM’s were about him.
They married shortly thereafter and Anna constantly upstaged him. Anna dressed provocatively as Mrs. Claus at the Mets Christmas party. Subsequently, she appeared on the “Howard Stern Show” where, among other things, Anna said that if Kris cheated on her, she would sleep with every member of the 2005 Mets, including Jose Offerman.
Two kids and a lot of empty J.D. bottles later, the magic was gone. Kris filed for divorce and got primary custody of the children. Anna decided the settlement wasn’t to her liking, so she broke into Kris’s home wearing a bullet proof vest, carrying a taser, hatchet, and handgun, demanding that he give her $30,000. Kris hid in the basement and called 911. Luckily, no one was hurt and Anna was sentenced to fifteen years probation and to complete an inpatient psychiatric treatment.
7 Steve and Cyndy Garvey (1983)
Steve Garvey was a ten time All-Star, a four time Gold Glove winner, two time All-Star MVP and was MVP in 1974 playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. He was squeaky clean, always polite to the fans and it would’ve surprised no one in the 1970’s if “The Garv” one day became president. There really is no good reason why he isn’t in the Hall of Fame. Steve was even married to the All American girl, Cyndy Truhan. They looked like they could be the couple on top of a wedding cake. Then, things got a little weird.
It’s bad enough to lose your wife, it’s even worse to lose her to Marvin Hamlisch. No offense to the late composer but he looked like the kind of guy in high school who the guys on the baseball team would shove into a locker. According to Cyndy, Garvey “gave her away.” By that he meant, Steve took Marvin into his study, shut the door and two hours later both men walked out and Cyndy left with Marv.
It sounds so civilized but it wasn’t. According to Cyndy, she had a hard time collecting child support for their two daughters. It got so bad Cyndy took to calling Steve’s manager of the San Diego Padres, Dick Williams, and cursed Steve to high heaven. While Williams got a kick out of a pretty lady cursing, he had no idea what Cyndy expected him to do about it. After all, Williams couldn’t even get Garvey to bunt, let alone pay child support.
From there, in 1989, Cyndy wrote a tell-all book called, “The Secret Life of Cyndy Garvey” where she accused Steve of being cold, unfeeling and aloof. Then things got worse. Steve had been having an affair with his secretary and Cyndy had succeeded in turning Steve’s daughters against him.
The fun continued with Steve being involved with multiple women simultaneously with two kids being born out of wedlock which was actually a big deal back then but that’s a story for a different list.
6 Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson and Evelyn Lozada (2012)
Love hurts. Especially when you have your soon to-be ex-wife’s face tattooed on your right calf. Six-time All Pro wide receiver Chad Johnson and reality TV. star, Evelyn Lozada, seemed like a match made in combining your brands heaven. They were even married on the 4th of July.
You know how when you’re describing people who don’t get along sometimes you say they butted heads? You don’t mean that literally, except this time they did. On August 11th, 2012, Chad Johnson headbutted Evelyn during an argument when the temporary Mrs. Johnson discovered condoms and said she was filing for divorce. Chad thought he was “Superfly Snuka” and propelled his cranium into hers. Police were summoned and Chad was cut from the Miami Dolphins. Perhaps, not shockingly, Evelyn decided to proceed with the divorce. They divorce didn't get finalized on December 7th because that would've been too perfect.
5 Hulk and Linda Hogan (2009)
Married in 1983, Hulk and Linda seemingly had an strong, healthy marriage with two kids and a reality show called “Hogan Knows Best.” Turns out things weren’t so great behind the scenes. Hulk called the final four years of his marriage, “four years of insanity” and Linda accused Hulk of being gay and having an affair with Brutus Beefcake. Relatively speaking, this was the high road.
From there, Linda dated a former classmate of Brooke. A sex tape came out of Hulk in flagrante delicto with his best friend, Bubba “The Love Sponge”’s wife, Heather. She later apologized to Hulk for leaking the tape. Linda Hogan wrote a book, “Wrestling the Hulk: My Life Against the Ropes,” where she accused the Hulk of financial deception. He wrote a book, “My Life Outside The Ring,” where he accused her of being manipulative and cold, making them one of the great literary couples of our age. Today, Hulk is happily remarried and Linda seems to be content as well. Too bad for us and for any future books these two may write.
4 Deion Sanders and Pilar Sanders (2011)
Deion Sanders was a multi-sport professional athlete, a charismatic sports announcer, a Hip Hop artist and he feuded with Boomer Esiason. However, he was not the best husband. Not all of it was his fault. The blended family never quite took hold as evidenced by the twitter war between Deiondra “I’m Never Calling You Mom” Sanders and step mom, Pilar. “War” might be a tad strong because Pilar barely responded. It was more like a twitter rampage but still, darn entertaining.
In the end, Pilar walked away with at least ten million and for that kind of money, say whatever you want about me on Twitter.
3 Tiki Barber and Ginny Cha (2010)
When Tiki Barber retired from the Giants, the year before they won a Super Bowl, he was well on his way to becoming the next Frank Gifford in more ways then one. Specially, he wanted to be a network broadcaster and not just a sportscaster. Tiki landed his dream job on “The Today Show” and things were looking pretty darn good and that was just on the professional front. On the personal front, his wife, Ginny, was pregnant with twins.
Then Tiki met Tracy Lynn Johnson, a twenty-three-year-old NBC intern. Interns, traditionally don’t get paid. In her case, she got experience, a college credit and to sleep with Tiki Barber. When this went public, Tiki’s rating plummeted. Woman, “The Today Show”’s main audience, were particularly horrified. Tiki’s option wasn’t picked up, he lost some endorsements and he even attempted an ill-fated NFL comeback that went nowhere. Maybe that’s why he charges $500 to have lunch with him.
Tiki is a romantic, though, marrying the intern days after his divorce was finalized. What a guy.
2 Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren (2010)
If Tiger Woods looked like this and wasn't a multi-millionaire pro athlete, no way he gets someone this hot, but he was and he did. Some people make allowances for athletes cheating, some of these people are even married to athletes. Pete Rose’s first wife famously gave him a dime before every road trip so if he met someone he liked better then her, he was to call her so she didn't have to pick him up at the airport. So, there’s cheating and there’s what Tiger did.
At the height of his cheating, Tiger was involved with no less then seven women. It all came to a head on November 27th, 2009 when Tiger backed into a fire hydrant. From there it got a little murky because Elin was out there with a golf club. Perhaps she used it to break a window and free him or perhaps she attempted to treat him like a golf ball.
After the requisite PR firm apology, where you say it’s all your fault but then hint that it really isn't, the divorce was finalized. Don’t feel too bad for Elin. Estimates of what she walked away with are at least a hundred million. The rest of us walked away with some primo entertainment.
1 Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe (1954)
Yup, for number one we’re going old school. When Joe D married Marilyn Monroe it was the first big time marriage between athlete and show business where both partners had, roughly, equal popularity. It was also the first big time show business/sports divorce, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves but only by 274 days.
The marriage was doomed from the start. Joe DiMaggio wanted a traditional stay at home wife. Marilyn said that’s what she wanted too but there was no way 20th Century Fox was going to let it’s biggest female star stay home and do the laundry. Supposedly, it was the famous hot air billowing under her skirt from “The Seven Year Itch” that drove the Yankee Clipper conniptions saying, “what the hell is this?”
According to sportswriter, Stacy Edwards, Joe smacked Marilyn around some and for her, that was the last straw. Still, she did love him and he her. In fact, they were talking about remarrying when Marilyn tragically died August 5th, 1962. For many years afterwards, Joe had red roses delivered to her grave site several times a year.
To all the pro athletes who are reading this, who have been divorced, but didn’t make the list, please don’t give up on love or marriage. Because you can’t have a great, entertaining divorce without being married first. Salud!