Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t have a woman in his life, at least not yet. The retired basketballer made headlines earlier this week after being spotted on a date with a mystery woman.
However, the said woman is now setting the record straight on the extent of her relationship with the iconic athlete, saying there’s nothing more to it.
Shaquille O’Neal’s Date Evolved Into A Philanthropic Act
As The Blast previously reported, over the weekend, the former Bolton Celtics player was spotted with a mystery woman at a restaurant in Chelsea, New York, at 8:30 PM.
Per witnesses present at the ceremony, Shaq referred to the mystery woman as “my date” and she took charge of the evening by ordering an array of elaborate dishes, including Beijing chicken, shrimp tempura, and the restaurant’s signature chicken satay.
The date apparently went so well that the “Kazaam” actor bought dinner for the entire service staff and even went ahead to settle the bill for the entire restaurant. For the big night, Shaq spent a whopping $25,000 and asked the staff to keep his generous act on the low.
“He left them the biggest tip they’ve ever received,” a source said of the incident. Another insider said, “He was in a great mood and was taking pictures with everyone. She was more lowkey. She didn’t really want to be noticed.”
Given the huge impact of the dinner on Shaq’s pocket, fans were curious about the special woman that caused the basketballer to splurge that big.
It turns out the woman is Dr. Jaime Johnston, the CEO of Kin Essentials, a %100 organic, vegan haircare brand. In a statement to Page Six, Johnston denied all romance rumors, saying, “It was a business meeting, and lastly, I don’t engage in gossip stories.”
Dr. Johnston’s statement raises eyebrows as she posted a picture of herself at the restaurant with the caption, “his favorite view.” Of course, the CEO didn’t mention Shaq’s name or tag him in the post.
The ‘Uncle Drew’ Star’s Ex-Wife Remarried
Shaq’s “date” with Dr. Johnston comes a month after his ex-wife Shaunie O’Neal got remarried to Pastor Keion Henderson in grand style.
As The Blast reported, in late May, Shaunie walked down the aisle in an elaborate ceremony held at the Aurora Anguilla Resort and Golf Club. The location was particularly sentimental for the now-newlyweds as it was where they fell in love.
“I think after that first visit, we knew this was the place we wanted to get married,” said Shaunie.
The blushing bride looked gorgeous in a wedding gown made by Jean Louis Sabajai and styled by Eric Archibald.
She complimented the angelic dress with Jimmy Choo shoes and pieces from David Yurman jewelry. The groom, on the other hand, looked dapper in a Dolce & Gabbana tux.
It was a family affair for Shaunie as all the five children she welcomed with Shaq were present at the ceremony and played important roles. For example, her three sons – Myles, Shareef, and Shaqir – walked her down the aisle.
It was a star-studded ceremony consisting of almost 200 guests and officiated by Bishop T.D Jakes. Shaq didn’t attend the wedding, but the star athlete has had nothing but love for the mother of his kids since their divorce in 2011 after nine years of marriage.
Shaq Blames Himself For His Failed Marriage To Shaunie
Although both Shaq and Shaunie have moved on, the former professional basketball still has some regrets about their failed union.
During an appearance on “The Pivot Podcast” in April, the 50-year-old opened up about his first marriage and admitted that he was at fault for their controversial split.
While chatting with the host, Shaq implied that he wasn’t the best husband to Shaunie during their time together. “I was bad. She was awesome. She really was. It was all me,” he confessed.
The “Inside the NBA” sports analyst didn’t go into details about what when wrong, but affirmed that he wasn’t “protecting her and protecting those vows.”
“Sometimes when you live that double life, you get caught up. I’m not going to say it was her. It was all me,” he added.
The father-of-six noted that he felt “lost” following their separation in 2009 and owned up to his mistakes in the marriage.
In his words, “I was just being greedy. I had the perfect situation. Wife was finer than a mug, kept giving me babies, still finer than a mug.”
“I had it all, and I don’t make excuses — I know I messed up,” he concluded.