On the first episode of Monica‘s new Apple Music podcast MoTalk, Shaquille O’Neal talked about the ways in which he still protects and sees the women he’s been in love with in his life, including ex-wife Shaunie Henderson. She remarried in 2022 and just celebrated her one-year anniversary with Houston-based pastor Keion Henderson. But the way the NBA Hall-of-Famer sees it, you should still be there in any way you can for a former flame, no matter what their relationship status is in the present.
“I tell my sons all the time, a man has three jobs when it comes to a woman: protect, provide and love. Some men can only offer two for whatever reason, but I’m going to teach you how to offer all three,” he told ESSENCE’s July digital cover star. “Even though I don’t have a relationship with the women I let get away, I will always PPL: protect, provide. Whatever they need, they can get it from me. Shaunie’s married. I’m happy for her. I hope this gentleman treats her the way she’s supposed to be treated. I’m a still love her. She’s still my wife. I’ll always protect, provide and love for her married or not.”
He also shares this same thought process in regard to his Arnetta Yardbourgh, with whom he shares his first child, daughter Taahira. He said it’s just about offering that support, no matter where life takes them all.
“It’s just how I was raised. You protect, you provide and you love your woman. We have five children together. She’s getting married to another man. I’m not going to just be like, ‘uh, uh nope.’ I’m still there,” he said. “People need to know, you protect, you provide and you love for your woman, whether you’re together or you’re not. I think that’s the problem with a lot of men. You broke up: ‘uh.’ Nope, whatever she needs, whatever the babies need, I’m a be there forever. The same goes for my first love Arnetta. I’m going to always be there for them. They want to get married and find people better than me, I understand that. I accept that. Because it’s what we call in my sport a turnover. If you’re going to turn the ball over you can score. But if you turn the ball up and give another person the opportunity to score, maybe they can score better.”
“I wish her nothing but the best. I want her to be happy. And I want her to just live a happy life,” he added of Shaunie, noting that he has told her that, which Monica, who has been married and divorced and shared children with a former flame as well, could appreciate.
Shaq and Shaunie were married for nine years before divorcing officially in 2011. They share four children together: Shareef, Amirah, Shaqir and Me’arah. They also have Shaunie’s first child, son Myles, from a previous relationship.