Andre Agassi tells Letterman about the mullet wig he wore while playing

Andre Agassi was on The Late Show last night promoting his new autobiography, Open. We’ve already heard the major revelation of the book – that Agassi used crystal meth in 1997 and lied to tennis officials to get around a failed drug test. Agassi discussed another bombshell on Letterman and revealed that his famous long mullet locks were replaced by a wig or “weave system” once his hair started falling out in the late 80s, when he was just 19. In fact he said he used too much conditioner the night before the French Open in 1990, and said that it started falling apart. He had it secured with a bunch of bobby pins for the match and was terrified of losing it. He ultimately lost to Andres Gomez. Here’s a link to the video of that match. (This news came out a couple of weeks ago, but this is the first time I’ve heard it.)

Andre eventually shaved his head in 1995, but continued wearing a wig, often with a hat, up until that point. His comeback not-so-coincidentally seemed to coincide with his decision to get rid of his security blanket hair. He won the Canadian Open and US Open in 1994, and went on to win multiple tournaments in 1995, reaching number 1. Maybe he should have ditched his hair much sooner.

I also heard part of Agassi’s interview on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday. He told Terry Gross that tennis was often a punishment for him, and that as a teen he was shipped off to a tennis camp that he compared to prison. NPR has an excerpt from Open that reveals how much pain Agassi was in at the end of his career in 2006, at the age of 36. He was born with a condition called spondylolisthesis that can pinch the nerves in the spine and cause sharp pain. He had to rely on cortisone shots to cope. He has a love/hate relationship with tennis and writes “I play tennis for a living, even though I hate tennis, hate it with a dark and secret passion, and always have.” The book has a first person account of what Agassi went through and it’s written in the present tense. I kind of enjoyed the excerpts I’ve seen online, although I’m not sure I would take the time read it. Agassi has a lot of fans, though and it looks like his promotional efforts have been successful. The book is currently #3 on the Amazon sales charts. Sarah Palin’s book Going Rogue is first, followed by Stephen King’s Under The Dome.

The first photo below is from the 1989 Davis Cup, not the ’90 French Open, and Agassi admitted to Letterman that in this photo “that is not my hair, it’s a weave system.”
DEU: Davis Cup 1989

1991, with his then-girlfriend Wendi Stewart.
Tennis Player Andre Agassi Poses With His Girlfriend Wendi Stewart November 15 1991 In

Tennis Player Andre Agassi Poses With His Girlfriend Wendi Stewart November 15 1991 In

Tennis Player Andre Agassi Smiles Holding A Racket November 15 1991 In USA Agassi Made

1994, before shaving his head.

1995, after removing the wig

And here’s Agassi today. Photos below are from yesterday and credit: He is a good looking man, and some of us love the baldies.

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33 Responses to “Andre Agassi tells Letterman about the mullet wig he wore while playing”

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  1. Dolkite says:

    I dont blame him for the hairpiece…for a lot of men, losing your hair IS a big deal, regardless of whether shaved heads are trendy, and most people see a guy losing his hair as amusing and worthy of mention.

    I started losing my hair at age 17 and it was VERY traumatic for me. I never wanted to embrace baldness because the only people I saw who did that ended up taking on some ridiculous tough guy persona like clowns like Vin Diesel. I have mostly come to rips with it now (have no choice), but it still irks me when people with hair blow off baldness as no big deal just because there are a few bald celebrities (since if a celebrity does it, it makes it OK).

  2. Celebitchy says:

    @Dolkite – I have always been more attracted to bald men than men with hair. So there are a lot of people who don’t understand that it’s a big deal, and there are also women who don’t understand because we find it sexy. I’m sorry that you went through all that.

  3. 88Modesty88 says:

    But he played bad tennis with the wig… It seems his attention was never quite on the court, rather on his hairpiece!

  4. Firestarter says:

    It kind of disappoints me to hear how much he grew to hate the sport he was so gifted at.I would have given anything to have his type of talent and have been a pro player.

    If I am not mistaken, he was a product of the Nick Bolletieri (sp?) machine, and he was a tough old bird. I can see where Agassi felt like it was a prison, because that was one of the reasons I decided not to go, I heard about the rigorous regimen and dedication Bolletieri demanded,even from students npot looking to become pros.

    I had no idea he wore a wig,although I always thought he had hideous hair. It is ashame he felt so paranoid about his balding head, because it was a relief to me when the guy finally took the shears to it. He looked so much better.

  5. Dolkite says:

    Okay, but some guys are really into fat girls…but I will bet most those girls dont want someone appreciating their size at all because…well, they dont want to be seen as fat girls, attractive or not. And at least many fat girls have a choice to change their looks.

    Thats how I always felt. I never thought bald men were really attractive and most of them adopted this macho look and attitude that I find really ridiculous…I still refuse to shave my head clean (I use a pair of clippers every week or two). What is worse is that I have always been very sensitive about my size – six-foot-three, broad shouldered – and being bald just accentuated that big tough guy image I hate so much. Add to that the fact that men are not supposed to care about how they look, so people were usually pretty rude and insensitive about my problem.

  6. Leticia says:

    Dolkite, at least with your height, most of the world is physically looking up to you. it could have been worse, you could be a short man with hair problems and then the whole world can see it for themselves.

    My dad is taller than you and lost his hair at 19, but he is so tall, that it is not as noticeable that he is bald.

    Sorry for your pain.

  7. snowball says:

    A lot of the men I find attractive are quite tall and brawny with dark hair (Eric Bana, sigh). But I also can appreciate the beauty of a bald man, whether he’s macho or sensitive and quiet (my X-Files crush, Mitch Pileggi). I think the one factor in my appreciation of both “looks” is that the person in question has confidence in whom he is, not the stereotype you’d imagine.

    I liked Agassi with hair, but I appreciated it more when he just took the wig off and accepted that being bald/balding was not the sole indicator of who he was, but just the shallow surface of “what” he was.

  8. Icecat says:

    I love tall men. My boyfriend is 6’5″, and I love it. He has widow peaks and is totally self conscious about it. I always tell him not to worry. I don’t think I’ve ever met a man not worried about going bald…

    I was shocked to hear it was a wig…OMG!! I had no idea!!

  9. Just a Poster says:

    I always thought he was better looking without the “hair” IMO it made him look more real and not a character and really brought out how handsome he is.

    But what I find odd is how his drug use is now being swept under the rug. I think that should have been more focused on.

    Dolkite I agree. For a very long time people took on the Vin persona when they became bald. But IMO lots of men so handsome and sexy bald. You can really focus on the whole person and I find that increadibly sexy.

  10. gg says:

    I was always suspicious of the Kajagoogoo hair on Andre. My husband is 6’2″, his hairline receded years ago in a similar pattern to Andre’s, he couldn’t care less (I think he’s in the minority), and I find that sexy.

    Everybody has insecurities of one kind or another, and seeing that other people have the same physical characteristics as you do and how they’re dealing with it, well, people can definitely learn from each other. Being tall and sensitive is waaaay sexy!

  11. Just a Poster says:


    Well he was popular during the “Hair Band” days. And in a very weird way I am relieved that thing wasn’t his real hair. When he first got rid of it, I remember thinking “WOW he really is a very good looking guy”

    I guess what we are all trying to say is man is comfortable with himself, we find that very alluring.

    I am still stuck on the drug use and how easily he threw another person under the bus. Who knew bad hair trumps drug use?

  12. Iggles says:

    snowball – I agree that Eric Bana is hot! He looks good bald too! In the Star Trek he played a Romulan with a bald head and facial tattoos and he was still sizzling on screen.

    As for Agassi, I had no idea he wore a wig! Everyone had bad hair in the 80s..

  13. Nebraska says:

    Bald men are sexy and they apparently have more testosterone than men with a full head of hair ; it is the testosterone, which I believe gets converted to another form of testosterone, which makes the hair fall out. My husband is bald and very handsome.

  14. Praise St. Angie! says:

    I, too, am LAUGHING at the Kajagoogoo reference.

    nice one, gg.

    though Agassi was NEVER Too Shy…he used to hang around one of my college’s “local” bars, and went home with a few young ladies from my school. (individually, not all at once, in case you were wondering.)

    Never had the pleasure, but I did see him once at said bar, and OMG he is even hotter in person.

  15. wow says:

    Forget Andre’s mullet, that picture of Wendy is taking me back in time. And Andre is just telling everything, huh?

    Yeah, it was Bolleteri’s, Fire. Have any of you read the book Nick wrote years ago? It’s a decent read and he did admit that he let Andre get away with a lot of stuff because he was the star pupil.

    Some men can not rock the bald look, but it still looks much better than them doing the sweep over. Andre rocks it nicely, and James Blake has grown into it (although I still think he looked better with dreds). But with both men, their personalities outshines their lack of hair.

  16. Lem says:

    @firestarter. I think his dad is the reason he hates tennis.

    @ gg LOve it!

    I so agree he looks totally munchable bald!

    @st. Ang I’m so jealous.

    I’m all about tall guys, broad shoulders, manly or sensitive, hair or not. It’s about confidence. I love me some Jason Statham and I crush hard on Rachel Zoe’s husband hair.

    With Agassi, it’s all about his eyes. So sad and mournful, almost always, makes you just want to hold him and shelter him and lick him…. but alas his body is too hairy to be lickin

    @dol: it’s all in how you perceive it, when you are o.k. with it, we will love it! if you are self conscious of it, it will show. I don’t know how to help, but you’ve just had quite a few women say bald can be sexy. Believe us. Bald can be quite hot!

  17. Lantana says:

    I seriously have never given consideration to bald or not. 80′s kind of air-hair is ick, but just normal hair, I dunno. I guess if you’re name isn’t Samson, it’s not an issue.

  18. Dolkite says:

    My problem is that bald is only seen as hot in a very hypermasculine, throw-me-down-and-make-love-to-me sort of way, and I dont want to be seen that way. I resent the fact that i have only ever attracted women who want some big man to protect her, that type.

  19. Tess says:

    Dolkite: Be yourself. Don’t worry so much about how others see you. Just be yourself, and then try to grow as an individual. That’s a life project for all of us. But it’s useless to fret about how to be hot, not to mention exceedingly counter-productive.

    Regarding Bolleterri…I think Jim Courtier, another Agassi-era tennis pro was another tortured product of Bolleteri’s tennis academy .

  20. Codzilla says:

    Sorry, I just can’t get past the fact that he named his book “Open.” Ugh.

  21. Celebitchy says:

    @Dolkite, I had a bald boyfriend who was a total metrosexual. He wasn’t manly in the Bruce Willis or Jason Statham (swoon for that man) way you’re talking about it. Lem and Tess said it best. Some of us find bald sexy and it doesn’t have to be a stereotype. It’s all how you perceive it and work it. You are super tall and bald and sound kind of sensitive. Sounds like a great combination to me.

  22. teehee says:

    Dolkite: you are whatever you present yourself to be– thats what people believe no matter what the stereotypes. If you defy them instead of feel trapped by them, who can argue with that? If you believe in what you are uniquely, ad love what you present, then they will to- eactly as you deliver it.
    I leared this from my last BF, who preseted himself with so much self-love and confidence and friendliness I absolutely drooled over him physically- although he never would have been my ‘type’ were you to have asked me beofer I met him.
    He was actually losing his hair, and overweight (moobs and all
    But he was just so INTERNALLY beautiful, that his outside was the most beauiful and delicious thig I had ever seen.
    And matter of fact one of the things I loved to do most, was pet his hair (what there was of it LOL) and run my hands through it as well as play with his scruffy beard.
    Thats the key: love yourself, and others will love you too.

  23. Feebee says:

    I was/am a big fan of Agassi. The hair was part of his image which was very lucrative for him. I had no idea he hated the game but he was accused on many occasion of “tanking” matches in the early 90s. I put it down to a young man’s bad or unprofessional attitude but it could be part of what he was struggling with – the will to actually play.

    He realised his father’s dream for him but at what cost? Yes he’s a famous, wealthy man who is using both for stellar causes but he lost a lot in the process.

    The whole drug thing is weird. Not condoning it but how stupid are the ATP?

  24. Eileen Yover says:

    I thought he was just as hot bald as he was with the hair, but its shocking to know that he wore a wig! I had the HUGEST crush on him!! Yum.

  25. minx says:

    He is a beautiful man hair or no hair. Most soulful eyes. I always loved watching him play tennis. Amazing he hated it so much.

  26. Tia C says:

    It’s funny how the hair thing is more shocking to me than the meth! Something twisted about that, lol… Anyway, bald is far superior to a mullet any day and he did look so much better once he went with the honest hair – very hot!

    I can understand hating something you are pushed to do. I was pushed to play the violin and I was good at it, but I absolutely HATED it… you have to want to do something. Not quite the same thing, but along the same lines.

    @ Dolkite – looks like you got some good advice from other posters here. All I can add is – relax. I bet you are not projecting that “tough guy” image that you despise. Maybe pick up a “sensitive” hobby like painting or yoga or something (I don’t know!) and maybe you will attract a different kind of woman, not the helpless, “rescue me” type. Bald is very sexy. Work it in your own way. :)

  27. The Old KC says:

    My husband has been losing his hair from the front since his mid-twenties and now wears it shaved, and he is so super hot, I totally gave up Gerard Butler for him. : ) My husband is so insecure about it and constant reassurance from me has done nothing to allay his fears – he is pretty down on his looks because of being bald. At least he has confidence in his athletic ability so that gives him something to hang his hat on…I think he’s smoking hot and I’m the luckiest girl in the world, but try to tell him that…

  28. Essie says:

    I haven’t been able to get to the store to buy Andre’s book but I will this weekend. I can’t wait to read it since I’ve been a big fan of his for years!!

    Over the years, I’ve always had a feeling that Andre wasn’t really happy, even though he has always been THE most popular tennis player. I mean, when I would go to a tournament where he was playing, the stadium would be only 1/3 full for one match but when Andre came on court the place would be overflowing. People loved him back then and still love him. However, Andre had the saddest eyes of anybody I’ve ever seen. He looked like a puppy who wanted to be loved. Only after he married Steffi Graf did he look like a happy man.

    Also, Andre won Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and Australia and made the French finals twice while still sporting the long mullet, so it’s not true that he only started playing well after the hair came off.

  29. NFLer says:

    I think I would have been better off not knowing about the wig or the meth.
    I thought he was a little classier than that.

  30. Stephie says:

    I think he looks best au natural. Had me fooled back then but I wasn’t really paying attention anyway.

    Didn’t anyone notice how red his eyes were in the most recent photos? Wonder why.

  31. Codzilla says:

    The photo where he and his lady friend are dressed in denim with the sun glinting off their locks is classic. I bet all you photographers out there are just aching to claim that shot as your own.

  32. ibivi says:

    Isn’t loosing your hair at 19 a stress reaction? He was a great player. Who knew he hated the game??? It is rather sad to learn that he was forced to play by his father. He always seemed so in control and always said just the right thing. How long can you pretend to be something you are not and not be damaged? Well Andre, you got it out and hope you are better (not richer) for it.

  33. Kios says:

    Andre Agassi has a weird head shape. He doesn’t look great bald IMO, but he looks decent front on. His profile is bad though.

    As for Dolkite, at least you aren’t short man. I’m short and balding, and my dating life is practically non-existent because of it, but what do i do? I live life. Who cares what others think? You can’t be down because of others.

    Also, not all women refuse to date bald or balding men, just most. My last girlfriend was way above my league, but that didn’t stop me from dating her. chin up! It’s not ALL bad :-)