Hero To Headlines: Sports Stars Whose Drama Engulfed Their Public Lives

Darren - July 6, 2023

Hero To Headlines: Sports Stars Whose Drama Engulfed Their Public Lives

Darren - July 6, 2023

If you’ve followed sports for any length of time, you probably know that many star athletes find themselves in tricky situations because they didn’t do the right thing. Young and wealthy athletes often can’t say no to attractive women and cheat on their partners. They know it’s the wrong choice but still allow the potential drama to spill into their public lives. When it’s said and done, it taints their public image.

So today, we’ll look at several elite sports stars who made mistakes in their private lives. The drama changed the public’s perception of them and they carry a stigma with them today. There’s everything from Zion Williamson frolicking with OnlyFans stars to Peyton Manning allegedly enjoying himself in a car park, so let’s get started now.

Daily Mail

Rob Gronkowski

In 2011, ‘Gronk’ rocked the NFL when the photo above emerged. It showed him shirtless while adult film star Bibi Jones wore his jersey. Instantly, the morality police blared their sirens and said that he disgraced the NFL. It didn’t matter that Jones denied that anything happened between her and the tight end.

Sky Sports

She admitted that she slept with other athletes but insisted that nothing happened between her and ‘Gronk.’ However, Jones said she wished that something did because she found him attractive. In the end, Gronkowski apologized even though he had no reason to. People are very judgemental about sports stars’ private and public lives, and perhaps it doesn’t need to be that way (via Outsports).

Us Weekly

Hank Baskett

Former NFL star Baskett has one of the most scandalous stories on this list. First, he made waves when he married Playboy Playmate Kendra Wilkinson. Everything seemed to be fine for the couple until he cheated on her with a transsexual model, Ava Sabrina London. The model filmed their encounter and tried to extort him.


This affected their public lives because everybody was talking about it. Somehow they turned it into a reality TV show but in the end, Baskett and Wilkinson divorced. Baskett denied being with London because he didn’t want people to question his sexuality. But the damage was already done (via NY Daily News).

Sky Sports

Kyle Walker

Some athletes have outstanding talent but invite chaos into their public lives. Walker is a perfect example because he’s a flawed genius. The Manchester City fullback broke lockdown rules in 2020 when he ignored social distancing regulations. He decided that this was the perfect time to invite two prostitutes into his home.

The Mirror

One of the hookers even publically criticized him after the incident. Louise McNamara said (via The Sun): “Kyle really should know better. First, he is inviting strangers to his house to have sex and the next day he gives a speech to everyone about the need to stay indoors. He is a hypocrite and puts people at risk.”

Ryan Hafey

Gervonta Davis

Davis is one of the most exciting boxing talents in the world but he’s a horrible human being. Some people say it’s because of his tough upbringing in Baltimore but that’s no excuse. He treats women horribly and infamously hit his girlfriend in public, leaving an abrasion on the side of her mouth.

Al Jazeera

Fans want to see their favorite athletes excelling in their sports. They don’t want to hear negative stories about their public lives but Davis didn’t learn this. He received 90 days of house arrest in 2023 after a hit-and-run incident. It’s unfortunate because he has a ton of skills but it’s difficult to support him (via TMZ).


Gerard Pique

Pique is one of the most successful soccer stars ever but he’s also a moronic cheat. Some people may think that this is overly harsh but the man used to live with Shakira. That’s right, we’re talking about the Colombian songstress who is also one of the world’s most beautiful women. The pair’s marriage lasted for 11 years and they had two sons together.

Life & Style

But then the Spanish defender cheated on her with Clara Chia Marti, a 23-year-old student (via Harper’s Bazaar). Shakira left her husband and swept their children away to Miami after they reached a custody settlement. Chia Marti also set her Instagram to private after Pique’s antics threatened to ruin their public lives.

New York Post

Conor McGregor

McGregor changed the face of the MMA landscape when he became the sport’s first superstar. He made waves in 2022 when he posed with Rita Ora at the British Fashion Awards. The pop star shared a photo on Instagram with the caption, “Date Night”. Instantly the Internet exploded because McGregor is in a long-term relationship with Dee Devlin.

Digital Spy

The Irishman’s childhood sweetheart is also the mother of his four children. We don’t know what happens behind the scenes in private but they appear loyal in their public lives. McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov replied by asking why he would eat a burger when he can dine on steak every day (via Essentially Sports).

ABC News

Lamar Odom

Everybody knows about the Kardashians’ public lives because they flaunted it on their infamous reality TV show. Unfortunately, somebody should have told Odom that the world would see all of his flaws after he began dating Khloe. He cheated on her regularly while abusing drugs. Eventually, he overdosed in a Nevada brothel and fell into a coma.


Luckily, he made a full recovery but Khloe justifiably divorced him. However, Odom regrets the way he acted and knows that he was at fault. “I wish I could have been more of a man,” he said in 2019 (via People). “It still bothers me to this day. But regret is something we have to learn to live with.”

Bleacher Report

Tiki Barber

Cheating is bad but Barber brought it to another level when he betrayed his pregnant wife. She was about to have twins after they married for 11 years while he was out meeting other women. Barber’s mistress was a 23-year-old NBC intern who entertained him while his wife went through morning sickness.

People already disliked the former Giants star because of his attitude on the field. This gave them even more ammunition to use against him. Ironically, he wrote in his autobiography: “I want to be an honorable man because that’s what I want them both to be. My family is everything to me.” (via New York Post).

Sports Illustrated

Michael Jordan

Jordan is arguably the greatest NBA star in history but that’s not the only thing he’s famous for. The Bulls icon also contributed to some of the sport’s biggest traditions. He infamously had a significant gambling problem and also cheated on his ex-wife Juanita Vanoy multiple times. Finally, she filed for divorce and received a record $168 million.

Sports Illustrated

Several women also filed paternity lawsuits against the soon-to-be former Hornets’ owner. This didn’t help his public image because it wasn’t role-model behavior. However, the accusations kept coming because Jordan couldn’t resist the allure of a beautiful woman. It turns out that even the greatest athletes make mistakes (via FirstSportz).

Bleacher Report

DeMarco Murray

Fans think that the bond between teammates is sacred but the reality is that many of them don’t respect each other. Ask Brennan Clay because he discovered this the difficult way. Clay’s wife Gina D’Agostini had an affair with Murray while Clay was trying to find jobs around the nation (via Fox Sports).

CBS Sports

Meanwhile, Murray expressed a desire to sleep with her in Clay’s bed. That’s not weird at all but Clay didn’t appreciate this. Meanwhile, D’Agostini named Murray ‘Spray-Tan’ in her contacts list. In the end, Clay rumbled the truth and it damaged their public lives. It was a shocking scandal and embarrassed everyone involved.

Al Bello

Tyson Fury

Fury has had many controversies throughout his life. But one of the biggest in recent years saw him attract negative attention because of his friendship with Daniel Kinahan. Kinahan is one of the world’s most notorious crime lords and is currently hiding out in Dubai. Fury and his team received U.S. sanctions because of his links to MTK, Kinahan’s boxing promotion.


In a salty interview, Fury said it didn’t bother him what Kinahan did away from boxing. He said: “What a man does in his own business is none of my concern, I am a boxing man, I don’t get involved in anyone’s business at all. I don’t care what you’ve done, I’m only concerned in what I do, and I don’t do anything apart from box. End of story (via Sky Sports).”

Sky Sports

Karim Benzema

Benzema is one of the most successful French soccer players ever but that’s not why he’s on this list. He regularly creates unsavory controversies that affect his loved ones’ public lives. In 2014, he went on trial after he allegedly solicited underage prostitute Zahia Dehar. In the end, the judge acquitted him of knowingly sleeping with a 16-year-old.

Sky News

This ended his relationship with then-girlfriend Chloe de Launey who took their child away. He also blackmailed his fellow France international Mathieu Valbuena and faced a long exile from the national team. A judge hit him with a one-year suspended sentence and a massive fine after the incident (via Bleacher Report).


Dan Uggla

Bibi Jones made waves after the Gronk incident when she appeared on the Toucher and Richer Show. She gave some salacious details about her encounters with elite athletes. The adult film star admitted that she slept with many married stars. She refused to divulge names out of respect for their partners but did single out Uggla.

Allegedly, Jones was the reason behind Uggla’s divorce from his wife. The former Braves star’s spouse discovered his encounters with the porn star. Jones also said that she was close friends with an agent in the city. She claimed that he used her to seduce potential clients in an immoral business move (via Deadspin).

Sporting News

Steve McNair

McNair’s story is one of the most tragic on this list and should serve as a warning to every young male athlete. The married quarterback had an affair with a young waitress. Sahel Kazemi believed that McNair was going to divorce his wife to be with her but the former Titans star had other ideas.

Tennessee Titans

Then she lured the QB to a rented condominium where she shot and killed him before turning the gun on herself. Allegedly, the pair didn’t hide their relationship when they were in public together. But McNair wasn’t willing to dedicate his life to her so she took it from him in a terrible way (via Tennessean).


Tristan Thompson

Most people would realize that dating NBA stars is a terrible idea but Khloe Kardashian loves to punish herself. After her failed marriage to Lamar Odom, she began dating Tristan Thompson. But the Bulls player treated her with contempt as paparazzi caught him cozying up to several women in different hotels.

Harper’s Bazaar

Finally, it became impossible for Kardashian to ignore his behavior. That’s because he cheated on her with Kylie Jenner’s best friend; Jordyn Woods. Meanwhile, Thompson also fathered a child with another woman as he revealed that he is a vile piece of work (via The Sun).


Jon Jones

Many people think that Jones is the greatest MMA fighter ever but he’s also a severely flawed human being. He has many problems outside of the cage and snorts coke like it’s going out of fashion. The UFC champion brought his private drama into his public life when police picked him up during the global health crisis.


Jones guzzled a bottle of mezcal and fired his handgun into the air near some homeless people. They unsurprisingly booked him for the offence but it wasn’t his first brush with the law. He infamously also had a hit-and-run incident when he crashed his vehicle into a pregnant woman’s car in 2015 (via The Sun).

NBC Sports

Tony Parker

Parker is another former NBA star who humiliated himself off the court. He married Eva Longoria in a gorgeous Parisian ceremony and it appeared they were ready to live the dream. But it turned into a nightmare for the actress because her husband was a cheater. First, a French model accused the four-time NBA champion of sleeping with her.


He denied this emphatically and his attorney said that Parker never met the woman. Longoria supported her husband through this turbulent time in their private and public lives. But then it emerged that Parker was texting one of his teammate’s girlfriends, Erin Barry. He broke Longoria’s heart and their relationship came to an end (via Hello!).

Sky Sports

Peyton Manning

Manning is one of the most beloved sports stars in the U.S. today. He carefully maintained a squeaky-clean image but sometimes his decisions affected the public lives of his loved ones. The former two-time Super Bowl winner allegedly delayed a team flight because he was receiving sexual favors from a young woman in his car.

New York Times

It’s worth noting that Manning was already married at this time. Meanwhile, he also allegedly had a longstanding relationship with Angela Buchman, a TV meteorologist. Nobody proved this but where there is smoke there is fire. We wonder how Manning’s wife feels about all of those rumors (via Sports Illustrated).

Vanity Fair

Shaquille O’Neal

O’Neal was a force of nature during his time in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, his private antics affected his loved ones’ public eyes. That’s because he cheated on his ex-wife Shaunie and betrayed her trust. Later he admitted that it was a mistake but he didn’t take full responsibility for his actions.

Ebony Magazine

At one time my ex-wife Shaunie and I were happy, but I admit it–I was a guy,” he wrote in his memoir (via Huff Post). “I was a guy with too many options. Choosing to be with some of those women, well, that’s on me. In my mind, I never did it disrespectfully, but obviously, I shouldn’t have done it all.”


Deshaun Watson

Watson is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL but he’s a vile person. This didn’t stop the Cleveland Browns from desperately throwing a record contract at him. Dozens of masseuses filed civil suits against the former Texans player after he allegedly sexually assaulted them (via New York Post).


Allegedly, he forced them to perform sex acts during the massages and warned them to stay silent. The NFL suspended him for most of the 2022/23 season because he breached their code of conduct. It’s one of the most shameful stories in recent years because they didn’t deserve to have him ruin their private and public lives.

Golf Channel

Tiger Woods

There was a time when Woods was one of the most marketable athletes on the planet. The amazingly-talented superstar became the face of golf because of his brilliant successes. It seemed like he was living the dream with many Major wins and a Swedish supermodel wife. But disgrace hit him in the face like a car smashing into a brick wall (via Reuters).

Golf Digest

In 2009, Woods drunkenly crashed his car outside of his house and then his world turned upside down. Dozens of women, including strippers and porn stars, came out of the woodwork and revealed that they had affairs with the icon. His wife filed for divorce and custody of their children. Woods went to rehab as he looked to come to terms with his sex addiction.

L.A. Times

Nick Young

Iggy Azalea dated Lakers star Young and quickly fell in love with him. Young proposed to the rapper and she said yes. But this couple didn’t live happily ever after because he cheated on her. Their private affairs affected their public lives because he failed her. In the end, he broke Azalea’s heart with his irresponsible behavior.


Azealea wrote the following message on Instagram (via Billboard). She said: “Unfortunately although I love Nick and have tried and tried to rebuild my trust in him. It’s never easy to part ways with the person you planned your entire future with, but futures can be rewritten and as of today mine is a blank page.”


Zach Wilson

The Jets thought that they finally had their franchise quarterback when they drafted Wilson out of Brigham Young in 2021. They made him the second-overall pick ahead of Justin Fields and Mac Jones. But the QB never lived up to expectations because he made horrible decisions on the field. He threw too many interceptions and acted immaturely (via New York Post).

The Sports Rush

Meanwhile, he affected his and his ex-girlfriend’s public lives after he allegedly cheated on her. Abbey Gile accused Wilson of sleeping with his mother’s best friend in a scandalous statement. Later, she deleted her social media because she received a torrent of online abuse. Wilson went quiet for a while and eventually lost his place as Gang Green’s starter.


Tom Brady

Brady is the most successful quarterback in NFL history. Most people know about his divorce from Gisele Bundchen in 2022 but that’s not why he’s on this list. No, we’re more interested in his previous relationship with Bridget Moynihan. He married her and she became pregnant with their first child.

Entertainment Tonight

But then he met a certain Brazilian supermodel and changed their public lives forever. Brady left Moynihan for Bundchen as he coldly divorced his pregnant wife. The former Patriots star made some questionable decisions in his life but he threw himself into them. Nobody can say he doesn’t know what he wants (via Us Magazine).

Bleacher Report

Floyd Mayweather

Mayweather was the richest athlete on the planet before he retired from competitive boxing. But money doesn’t mean that somebody has class. He treats women horribly and believes that they’re objects for him to exploit. Mayweather went to jail after he punched Melissa Brim, his ex-girlfriend in a mall.

Sky Sports

Later, he opened a strip club in Las Vegas called Girl Collection. Mayweather never expressed genuine remorse for his actions and allegedly committed battery against another girlfriend. The aggressive boxer went to counseling after a judge ordered him to deal with his demons (via The Sun).

The Guardian

Franck Ribery

We already mentioned how Karim Benzema solicited a 16-year-old prostitute. But he wasn’t the only one involved in this encounter. Former Bayern Munich star Ribery also went on trial during this sordid affair. The scar-faced winger denied knowing that the girl was underage at the time of the incident (via France 24).


Prostitution is legal in France but escorts must be over the age of 18. Dehar became a celebrity in France after the incident but her Algerian father refuses to connect with her. It was a humiliating case for Ribery and the other players because it tarnished their public lives. But they brought it on themselves because they didn’t have to approach a sex worker.

British G.Q.

Wayne Rooney

Rooney rose to superstardom at an early age after breaking into the Premier League at the age of 16. But this may have gone to his head because he had many scandals involving prostitutes. The worst part of this was that he was in a relationship with his childhood sweetheart, Coleen. Remarkably, she continues to live with him today.

Caught Offside

The former Manchester United star visited a Liverpool brothel at least 10 times. He had an encounter with a rubber-suited 47-year-old granny amongst other women. 10 years later he had another threesome with some hookers and betrayed Coleen again. The Scouser allegedly has a big problem and needs to face it (via The Mirror).

Bay Area News

Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy G. is one of the most handsome NFL quarterbacks ever. The former Niners starter joined the Raiders in 2023 and has enjoyed a successful career. He also attracts some of the most beautiful women in the world. However, he raised eyebrows when he went on a public date with adult film actress Kiara Mia (via Daily Beast).

Some analysts said that he should show more class and better values as an NFL quarterback. They disparaged Mia and sneered at Garoppolo as they shamed the porn industry. Later, Mia claimed that Garoppolo was a gentleman and treated her very well. That’s better than many NFL stars who cheat on their partners or even physically abuse them.


Brett Favre

There was a time when Favre was one of the most respected athletes in the U.S. But that’s no longer the case after multiple high-profile scandals that tarnished his reputation. The former Packers quarterback lost credibility after he allegedly sent unsolicited nudes to former Jets hostess Jenn Sterger. In the end, the NFL fined him because he didn’t cooperate with their investigation.


But an even bigger scandal emerged in 2023 after he allegedly ripped off the state of Mississippi. He allegedly received welfare money for multiple projects in one of the worst corruption cases in modern U.S. history. We expect athletes to live clean-cut public lives but that’s simply not Favre’s existence (via CBS Sports).

Essentially Sports

Conor McGregor – Part II

Superstars face an uncomfortable reality because everything they do can leak into their public lives. One issue is that everybody has a camera phone and records all of the drama they see. McGregor experienced this when he punched an older man in a Dublin pub. The reason was that the man rejected a shot of the UFC fighter’s whiskey.


McGregor reacted badly to this in a moment of lunacy. Later he apologized but he didn’t care that much because he bought the pub and banned his victim from entering. This is one of the most petty revenges in the history of the world. In the end, McGregor moved on and it became a part of his notorious legend (via Sportskeeda).


Deebo Samuel

Samuel was one of the best players in the NFL in 2021. However, the Pro Bowler joined the ranks of cheating athletes when a young woman shared a photo of him in her Instagram Close Friends story. One of the connections screen-shot the intimate image and shared it online (via Side Action).

NBC Sports

The young woman said: “I was told he was single. I’m not a home wrecker and I was not aware, I would never post a taken man when I got cheated on for 4 years.  I wasn’t even the one that recorded the video, I thought it was cute, I didn’t know half of what I found out today. It is what it is.”

Sky Sports

Ryan Giggs

Giggs is one of the most immoral soccer players in history because he betrayed two of the closest people in his life. That’s right, he betrayed his wife and his brother as he stooped to a new low. The Manchester United star had a long-running affair with his brother Rhodri’s wife, Natasha (via National World).

Sky Sports

They secretly met regularly for eight years as they humiliated their partners. Unsurprisingly, Rhodri and Ryan became estranged after the latter ruined their public lives. But Giggs’ wife, Natasha, stayed with him until 2017 after he cheated on her again with multiple partners. Later, the Wales national team fired him after he allegedly committed domestic violence.


Ja Morant

It’s unfortunate when athletes’ private antics affect their public lives. That became Morant’s reality in 2023 as he showed a penchant for waving firearms around. The NBA doesn’t like it when its stars flaunt guns because it puts its advertisers on edge. The Memphis star had multiple firearm-related incidents as he brandished his weapons online.

New York Times

We should note that technically Morant didn’t break any laws in Tennessee where he filmed the videos. But he went against the NBA’s code of conduct and they don’t take kindly to this. Furthermore, many people became concerned about Morant’s mental health. It was a distressing state of affairs because he went through a difficult time (via TMZ).

Fox News

Zion Williamson

Everything looked rosy for Williamson and his pregnant girlfriend Ahkeema when they shared their baby’s gender reveal on Instagram. But then OnlyFans model Moriah Mills unleashed a napalm-like wave of sensational news. She alleged that she had an affair with the Pelicans’ star and said that her period was also late.

Sports Illustrated

Mills wrote: “Zion Williamson looks like you been had a girlfriend and sleeping with other women behind my back. Better pray I’m not pregnant too because I’m definitely late.” It’s important to note that Williamson denied the allegations but this drama threatens to ruin his family’s public lives (via The Sports Rush).