Full Court Press

Vanessa Files for Divorce From Kobe, and Other Scandals of NBA WAGs (Photos)

From Eva Longoria to Jennifer Williams, see NBA wives and girlfriends who have had drama with their star husbands.

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When Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant’s wife of 10 years filed for divorce this month, the big question on everyone’s mind wasn’t “why?” but “why now?” The L.A. Laker was accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid in 2003 and, though he admitted to infidelity (while denying the assault), Vanessa stuck by him. Rumors of other affairs swirled around the MVP, but the couple remained tight, until now. Vanessa has cited “irreconcilable differences” as her motivation for divorce, amid much speculation that Kobe’s having an affair with Kim Kardashian’s friend, Carla DiBello, Playboy model Jessica Burciaga or someone else. Vanessa isn’t the only NBA WAG (wife and girlfriend) to get caught up in scandal. From Eva Longoria to Jennifer Williams, see other WAGs who have made headlines for nasty breakups, lawsuits, and other drama with their basketball-star husbands.

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Joumana Kidd

The outcome of Jason Kidd’s domestic abuse case was somewhat unexpected. In 2001, the New Jersey Nets player pled guilty to assaulting his wife, Joumana. He was fined $200 and ordered to anger management classes. Six years later, the roles were reversed when Kidd filed for a restraining order against his wife. Joumana said she was kicked out of her home based on a police “misunderstanding.”

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Shannon Patterson

In May of 2001, Shannon Patterson sat in court as her husband, Ruben Patterson, a Seattle SuperSonics forward, was sentenced to 15 years in jail on charges of rape and ordered to register as a sex offender—the first NBA player to do so. In 2002, Patterson was arrested for felony domestic abuse. Shannon dropped the charges, but the two divorced anyway.

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Eva Longoria

San Antonio Spurs player Tony Parker and actress Eva Longoria seemed like the perfect couple, until Longoria discovered hundreds of text messages on her husband’s phone to teammate Brent Barry’s wife, Erin. Embarrassed amid rumors of infidelity, Longoria filed for divorce.

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Masha Lopatova

Perhaps Masha Lopatova is the wisest basketball wife of all. In 2006, she revealed that she allows her husband, Russian-American Andrei Kirilenko, who plays for CSKA Moscow, to sleep with another woman once a year. It’s unclear whether this “allowance” is responsible for their successful marriage, but the two have avoided disaster.

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Shaquille O'Neal

In 2009, retired basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal’s seven-year marriage to Shaunie Nelson ended amid very public allegations of infidelity. Shaunie even hired a private investigator to shadow her husband, and eventually caught him sexting with his then-mistress, model Vanessa Lopez, who then oddly charged O’Neal with assault. Shaunie ended up with custody of their children, along with a hefty amount of spousal and child support from the NBA star. She also was picked to star on a VH1 reality TV show, Basketball Wives, though Shaq’s attorney forbade VH1 from airing any footage of Shaunie discussing their marriage. Shaq, however, more or less broke his own rule when he released a memoir this fall, Shaq Uncut: My Story, detailing their failed relationship. Perhaps the Shaq Attack realized that having three women in his life wasn’t as easy as scoring a three-pointer.

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Yvette Deleone

Famed former Chicago Bulls player Scottie Pippen earned 10 NBA All-Defensive Team nods throughout his career. But off the court, Pippen had a reputation of being aggressively on the offensive, accused of domestic abuse on several occasions. In 1997, Pippen’s fiance, Yvette Deleone, pressed domestic battery charges, telling police he grabbed her arm and pushed her. Two years earlier, another police report alleged Pippen had physically thrown Deleone out of the house, tossing her 10 feet in the air and fracturing her wrist and hand. Pippen told a different story, claiming Deleone injured herself slipping and falling on ice as she left the house. According to the police report, Deleone refused to file a legal complaint.

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Siohvaughn Wade

Last year, the Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade found himself on the receiving end of foul play by his estranged wife, who sued the point guard’s girlfriend, actress Gabrielle Union, for causing their two sons “emotional distress”. Siohvaughn Wade alleged that Union “engaged in sexual foreplay” in front of the boys, and thus “severely inflicted the Plaintiffs emotionally and mentally.” The suit also claimed that Union had “played sexually explicit roles, including roles as a seductress.” Siohvaughn threw in a non sequitur “allegation” that the Wades’ two sons received “medium size gifts” from their father for Christmas, while Union received “the biggest gift of all.” The NBA star called the allegations “baseless and meritless,” while the court declared them “frivolous”—and dismissed the case.

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Kesha Ni’Cole Nichols

This one had to hurt. Former New Jersey Net Richard Jefferson broke off his engagement to Kesha Ni’Cole Nichols in an email just days before their planned $500,000 wedding ceremony in New York City. "Sometimes you might write an e-mail to get your thoughts down right," Jefferson explained to the New York Post. He added that Nichols would be receiving a “six-figure” settlement so she could “start a new life.” Either that or pay off the wedding bill.

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Evelyn Lozada

Evelyn Lozada landed a spot on VH1’s Basketball Wives as the former fiancé of basketball player Antoine Walker. Whether Walker was unfaithful is unclear —some sites accuse him of being a “home wrecker”— he ultimately emerged as the loser. Walker ended up broke, and  sentenced to five years’ probation and restitution for failing to pay gambling debts at three Las Vegas casinos, while Lozada ended up engaged to football player Chad Ochocinco.

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Jennifer Williams

Things got heated in the fourth and final quarter of Eric and Jennifer Williams’ marriage, when they threw water in each other’s faces during an episode of Basketball Wives. A former member of the Celtics, Williams never was a big name in the NBA, but he garnered fame as a hot-tempered hubby on VH1’s reality show. Though the pair’s marriage had been on the rocks for a while, the spat that aired on TV was sparked when Jennifer accused Eric of having an affair. He tweeted his rationale for the now-infamous water-throwing incident: “Jesus had 2 cast out 7 Demons from that One Hoe Mary!!!”