‘Shaunie Know, Shaquille Know and I Know’: Shaquille O’Neal’s Mom Hits Back at Critics for Claiming She Thought His Ex-wife Shaunie Wasn’t the ‘Right’ One for Her Son

Lucille O’Neal, mother of four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal, has recently garnered attention for her remarks about her son’s marriage to Shaunie Henderson.

While promoting the new show “Raising Fame,” a TV One podcast co-hosted by herself and Sonya Curry, mother of Stephen and Seth Curry, she made notable comments during an appearance on the “Sway in the Morning” show with hosts Sway Calloway and Heather B.

A month after Shaunie made the bombshell revelation that she didn’t know if she “was ever really in love” with the New Jersey native in her new memoir “Undefeated: Changing the Rules and Winning On My Own Terms,” Sway asked O’Neal’s mother to share her thoughts about meeting her son’s ex-wife for the first time.

shaq's mom on his marriage to shaunie
Shaq’s mom, Lucille O’Neal says it was never her place to decide if his ex-wife Shaunie was right for him. (Photos: @sacurry22/Instagram; Malcolm Ali/WireImage)

Lucille chose her words carefully but said she was firm about letting the two figure out their way despite having some reservations.

“It’s hard to see them go into a relationship and somehow you may feel maybe that might not be the right relationship,” Lucille stated. “But, you have to step back, and we have to let it happen. And I tell a lot of the mothers that we are going to remain their mothers as long as they live. … We are not their girlfriends. So, I’m safe in my place.”

These comments sparked a media frenzy, with many outlets suggesting that she had always thought Shaq and Shaunie wouldn’t make it as husband and wife or that Shaunie wasn’t a good fit.

In an exclusive interview with Atlanta Black Star, Shaq’s mom clarified her statements and addressed the bubbling controversy.

“People are gonna interpret what you say the way they want to receive it,” she explained. “We have no control over that. I would never imply that she wasn’t the right one for him because I have no knowledge of that. What I tried to explain (and answer the question) was that I knew how to get out of the way and let it work itself out.”

Lucille further added, “And … it came to the point where they weren’t good for each other. So, they parted, and that happens in relationships. That happened in mine, but what I want to say to that is however you choose to receive it this is up to you. I meant nothing negative and I said, out of that relationship, I have beautiful grandchildren. They forgot to mention that part.”

Shaq and Shaunie met in 1996 and wed in 2002. They had four children within their union, along with one child each from previous relationships. The former couple first considered divorce in 2007 but reconciled shortly after. Ultimately, troubles arose again and the pair filed for divorce again in 2009, citing “irreconcilable differences.” The divorce was finalized in 2011.

In her book, Shaunie said that although she loved Shaq for being an excellent provider and father to their children, she’s not sure that she was in love with him.

“Looking back, 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,” she wrote.

After years of admitting his faults and repeated acts of infidelity that led to the demise of their marriage, Shaq took to social media to share that he understood why she might have felt that way. Now, the two seem to co-parent well, even making room for Shaunie’s current husband, Keion Henderson to play bonus dad to the kids.

Reflecting on the media’s portrayal of her comments, Mama Lucille weighed in on her opinion of the modern media landscape.

“You know, people, they’re going to reach out for the negative. That’s just common and normal for them to do that. So, Shaunie knows, Shaquille know, and I know. And that’s all that matters,” she stated.

She emphasized the purpose of her new show, “Raising Fame,” saying, “People will pick up the negative and make a story. This is the experience we’ve been having with media … and ‘Raising Fame,’ you get the opportunity to dispel all that negative. We’re going to hit the truth from the people that we have interviewed.”

“Raising Fame” premiered this Sunday, July 7 on TV One.

Back to top