Shaquille O'Neal's Ex-Wife Shaunie Says She's Not Sure She Ever Loved Him — and He Says 'I Understand'

The basketball legend seemingly responded to ex-wife Shaunie Henderson one day after her memoir was released

  • Shaquille O'Neal posted a cryptic message on social media one day after his ex-wife, Shaunie Henderson, questioned her love for him in her memoir

  • O'Neal wrote, "I understand," and said he "wouldn't have been in love with me either" after the confession from his ex

  • Their son, Shareef O'Neal, supported his dad and called him the "most lovable" person "on the planet" in the post's comments

Shaquille O'Neal shared a somber message on Instagram after the release of his ex-wife Shaunie Henderson's memoir, in which the Basketball Wives star questioned if she was ever really in love with the former NBA player.

Cassy Athena/Getty
Cassy Athena/Getty

In her memoir, UNDEFEATED: Changing the Rules and Winning on My Own Terms, released on May 7, Henderson, 49, writes, "Looking back, I don't know that I was ever really in love with the man," of O'Neal, whom she married in 2002.

Over the course of their relationship, which began in the late 90s and ultimately ended in 2009 when Henderson filed for separation, the couple struggled with infidelity, which O'Neal admitted to in his 2011 memoir, Shaq Uncut: My Story.

Cassy Athena/Getty Shareef O'Neal (L) poses with Shaquille O'Neal (C) and Shaunie O'Neal (R) on January 13, 2018 in Burbank, California.
Cassy Athena/Getty Shareef O'Neal (L) poses with Shaquille O'Neal (C) and Shaunie O'Neal (R) on January 13, 2018 in Burbank, California.

Henderson explained in her memoir that she "was in love with the idea of being married to the man I had a family with," and "was in love with the idea of building a life together," during their marriage.

O'Neal and Henderson share four children: sons Shareef and Shaqir and daughters Amirah and Me'arah. They also both parent son Myles, from Henderson's previous relationship, and O'Neal has a daughter, Taahirah, with his former girlfriend Arnetta Yardbourgh.

The reality star shared that she "truly did enjoy spending time with" O'Neal, but because he was "trying to be a world-famous, thirty-something multimillionaire with thousands of women throwing themselves at him," at the same time he was "being a husband and a father," their relationship ultimately dissolved.

Related: Everything to Know About Shaquille O'Neal's Family (He's a Dad of 6)

On May 8, O'Neal took to Instagram to share a seemingly pointed message in response to Henderson. "I understand...I wouldn’t have been in love with me either. Wishing you all the best. All love, Shaq," he wrote in white text over a black screen.

O'Neal captioned the post, "Trust me I get it."

The post received an outpour of support for O'Neal in the comments, including thoughtful messages from his and Henderson's son Shareef.

Shareef, 24, wrote, "Love you man! You saved my life," in one comment. In another, Shareef said, "Literally the most lovable and likable person on the planet!"

Black-ish creator Kenya Barris wrote, "Class Act," in the comments, while television host Tamron Hall left a red heart emoji on the post and rapper Rick Ross commented a "100" emoji.

Related: Shaunie Henderson Was ‘Nervous’ to Write About Ex Shaquille O'Neal in Upcoming Memoir (Exclusive)

When Henderson announced her memoir in January, she told PEOPLE she was "nervous" to divulge details of her relationship with the NBA legend, but felt like she needed to clarify the public's "misconception" of her.

"I always had a fear of sharing too much and of telling my story that involved anybody else," Henderson shared. "I didn't want to disrespect someone else's story, even if it was a part of mine, but as I get older and do more things in the entertainment industry, I found that people have a misconception of who I am."

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Now married to Pastor Keion Henderson, the mother-of-five explained, "Anything involving Shaquille is always a sketchy thing because he is who he is, and despite what our story is, no one ever wants to hear what could come across as not the greatest reputation.

Henderson told PEOPLE that her ex-husband having publicly admitted to his infidelity during their marriage "made it easier" for her to open up in Undefeated. "I was like, oh, okay, he told on himself," she said.

"I'm literally telling my story and my journey, which he was a part of," she continued. "So I've always been a little nervous about that, but I think I did a good job at sharing my story without destroying him because that's not my intent at all, ever."

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