Shaquille O'Neal opens up about 3 major regrets, divorce from Shaunie: 'It was all me'

·4 min read

Shaquille O'Neal, NBA Hall of Famer and "Inside the NBA" host, opened up about some painful details from his private life recently, discussing his three major regrets on an episode of "The Pivot Podcast" that was released on Tuesday.

"Just because things you do make you seem like you're perfect, you're not perfect," Shaq said. "Big mistake in the Penny [Hardaway] relationship. Big mistake in the Kobe [Bryant] relationship. Horrible mistake in both marriages. Other than that I don't really dwell on a lot, but those things I really dwell on. Because one, I know better ... I don't like to make excuses, but I had a lot going on. I was arrogant, I was dumb, and sometimes when you do a lot of stuff you don't want to work at stuff.

"Those are the only three major regrets that I have. Everything else, I try not to dwell on. I'm glad that I've lived my life and I did it my way."

O'Neal has major regrets about his marriage to Shaunie

Shaq mentioned that he made "horrible" mistakes in his marriages, and he opened up for the very first time about what went wrong during his marriage to Shaunie O'Neal. Shaq and Shaunie married in 2002 and have kids together. They initially separated in 2007, and while they reconciled briefly, Shaunie filed for divorce in 2009 and it was finalized in 2011.

Shaq told hosts Channing Crowder, Fred Taylor and Ryan Clark that he blames himself for the marriage ending.

“I was bad. She was awesome,” O'Neal said. “It was all me. We don’t need to talk about what I was doing, but I wasn’t protecting her and protecting those vows. Sometimes you live that double life and get caught up. I’m not going to say it was her. It was all me.

“She did exactly what she was supposed to do. Take care of the kids. Take care of the house. Take care of 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. But as I get older and you dwell on situations, it was all me.”

He also talked about how much he loved coming home to a house full of kids who were always excited to see him regardless of what happened on the court.

“The best feeling for me was coming home and hearing 5-6 different voices,” he said. “Don’t matter if I miss 15 free throws and we lost. They don’t care about that.”

After explaining an adorable game he played with his kids called "Dog Man," he reflected on what he had with his wife and kids back then, and what he lost by being "greedy" and living what he described as a "double life."

“I had the perfect situation,” O'Neal said. “Wife was finer than a mug. Kept giving me babies. Still finer than a mug. I had it all. I don’t make excuses. I know I messed up. When that d-word happened — I don’t like to use that word — I was lost. Seventy-six-thousand square foot house by yourself. Lost. No kids. Go to the gym. Nobody’s playing. You go to their room, nobody’s there.”

While O'Neal didn't use the word "depression" to describe his feelings at that time, he recounted the pep talk he had to give himself in order to get up and get on with his life after the divorce.

"I said to myself, 'OK, you're not married, but you still have to protect and provide for this family. Get your ass up, man up, let's go. What are you going to do next? Because I may not be a husband, but I'll always be a father, and a father's job is to protect, provide and love.'"

BURBANK, CA - JANUARY 13:  Shaunie O'Neal and Shaquille O'Neal celebrate Shareef O'Neal's 18th birthday party at West Coast Customs on January 13, 2018 in Burbank, California.  (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images)
Shaquille O'Neal blames himself for the end of his marriage to Shaunie O'Neal. (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images)
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