Shaq says daughters can live with him after they’re 18 but sons get kicked out

Shaquille O’Neal was a guest on The Pivot Podcast, which is a popular sports podcast hosted by former NFL stars Channing Crowder, Fred Taylor & Ryan Clark. Outlets are running stories with the quote in the headline about how he lets his daughters live with him as long as they need while telling his sons they’re getting kicked out at 18. Shaq has six children, three daughters and three sons, ranging in age from 16 to 26. (One son was his wife, Shaunie’s from a previous relationship. He also has a daughter from a previous relationship.) He is definitely being unfair to his sons with this, but after listening to his interview I came away with more respect for him. He grew up with an abusive father who was a literal drill sergeant and would physically and emotionally abuse him. Despite this, Shaq credits his stepfather for the man he is today and for giving him him drive and a will to succeed. He was clear in his interview that he’s never physically abused his children. He also blamed himself for his divorce, admitting that he screwed up a good situation and was so lonely afterwards. Shaq and his his wife, Shaunie, divorced in 2011 after nine years of marriage. Here’s some of what he said on that show.

On his kids
I can spoil them but I can’t overspoil. I tell them I’m 50. When I’m 70 I’m going to hand it over to one of y’all. I have six fabulous kids I don’t have any complaints.

On if he has favorites
I like my girls a little bit better. As a man you have to protect, provide and love for your women. I trust them more because they’re more sensitive, they’re more caring. They’re thinkers. I tell my boys ‘when y’all get 18 y’all got to go. Girls can stay as long as they want. Take your time, go to college get your masters get your doctorate. I’ll pay for it. I’m trying to teach them about all the types of men. What to avoid. I tell them all the time, ‘don’t mess with somebody that everybody want. He got too many options. Get somebody that you like, that you respect, that you can control. Don’t mess with nobody like your daddy. Your daddy used to be an animal.’

On his divorce
I was bad. She was awesome. It was all me. We don’t need to talk about what I was doing but I wasn’t protecting her and protecting those vows. When you lead that double life and get caught up. She did exactly what she was supposed to do. She’s happy now, she’s about to marry a fine young gentleman, I’m happy for her and we have a great relationship. As I get older and dwell on the situation I can honestly say it was all me. I was just being greedy. I had the perfect situation. I may not be a husband, but I’ll always be a father. I have two – I don’t like to use the term baby mamas – I have two wonderful women that have given me beautiful gorgeous children. I have to protect and I have to provide and I have to love them forever. That’s why I work so hard. I’ve got to work for them. I’ve got to work for my six babies.

[From The Pivot Podcast]

I listened to Shaq for over a half an hour – he got candid fast. Plus he was getting choked up at some points. After that they started talking about sports-specific stuff and my eyes glossed over. He’s still not my favorite person, but my friend April loves him and that makes me see him differently. This stuff about his daughters getting all the support and love doesn’t sit with me right, particularly because he made it sound like his daughters have their sh-t together and his sons are not as motivated or reliable. He didn’t say that directly, but that’s the impression I got. If that’s the case, wouldn’t the boys need just as much if not more help?

I googled “what are Shaq’s children doing now” and it looks like they’re all doing well. Of his children with Shaunie, his son Myles, 24, is an actor and DJ. Shareef, 22, plays basketball for Shaq’s alma mater the LSU Tigers. (Look at him with his French bulldog!) Another son, Shaquir, 22, also plays basketball at Texas Southern University and so does Shaquir’s sister, Amirah, 20. Me’arah O’Neal turns 16 next month and she also loves playing basketball, she’s on her high school team. Shaq has said that he doesn’t want his kids to be spoiled and that he’s the rich one, not his kids. I hope he also tells his sons he’ll cover their education costs as long as they want to attend. Given how excellent his college-age kids are at basketball, I doubt any of them have tuition bills though!

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19 Responses to “Shaq says daughters can live with him after they’re 18 but sons get kicked out”

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  1. MMC says:

    I’m sure this is a different situation because of all the money involved, but just from a cultural stand point ( I’m from Southeastern Europe), the idea of making your kids move out at 18 when they’re still children is so weird to me ( I don’t consider going to university as kids officially moving out).

    • Trimdownmnrchyboring says:

      I also feel the same way. Culturally unable to kick out my children at any age. I’m not gonna make them stay with me, but I feel like they can crash here forever. But I can understand that there may be differences in the children and also all the money involved, I suppose that could make a difference. But from my standpoint, unless there is a problem with staying home, they can live with mama forever if that makes them happy

    • FHMom says:

      I know. My dad is Arabic. He told us we could live with him forever, and he meant it. Throwing your kid out at 18 always feels like an American thing to me. On the flip side, living at home past a certain age is not a good thing. Children need to establish independence because parents aren’t around foreve.

    • anna says:

      when your kid isn’t ready to live on their own or with friends at 18, you haven’t done your job as a parent. or maybe it’s you who cannot let go. in my orbit (northern europe) it’s an absolute exception and frankly a red flag when an 18-year-old prefers to keep living with their parents.

      • Coco says:

        No your way of thinking is a complete red flag. That fact that you think all 18 year old is the same both mentally and emotionally not to mention financially and if they are not it’s the parent’s fault? You seem to be the type that would rather your kids struggle mentally, emotionally, and financially than help them and give them that time they need.

        My younger sister didn’t move out at 18. She finished college, worked, and saved up money so she was able to buy herself a brand new car. Save up more than enough money to completely furnish and decorate her first apartment. She was in a financially good place where she could pay all her bills, college loans, travel, and live on her own without roommates.

      • Tourmaline says:

        In your Northern Europe orbit is there by any chance free or highly subsidized higher education, health care, and a social safety net? If so you are in a totally different orbit than the US.

      • zinjazin says:

        Stockholm speaking, I disagree with Anna, I mean sure some people do move out early, but the housing crisis in Stockholm/Sweden overall, with extremely high prices an 20 years waiting list( longest in the world actually)for rent control buildings, a lot of people live at home until their 30ies.
        But sure for example in Finland, there you can get an apartment in a small town quite easily.

      • JesMa says:

        At 18 their brains aren’t even fully matured. Most haven’t even finished high school. If you are going to throw your kids out at 18 don’t even bother having any. Hopefully they toss you in a nursing home and forget about you the second you become an inconvenience.

    • Mommy 2b says:

      Yes I agree. When my oldest went off to college, she wanted to get the full experience so she stayed in the dorms. She loved living on her own so much she never moved back home when she graduated. I was so heart broken. But I understand, some kids just mature faster. My son still lives at home two years after high-school graduation.

  2. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    As a mother of three boys, I can promise you they’re sensitive and caring. And as the only female and mom, I’ve had to make sure they didn’t grow into douchebags. It’s a lot of work, molding humans into generous, empathetic, humble, loving and tolerant beings. I get what he’s saying and how he came to rest at that place, but I think our young boys need every bit as much love and protection as our daughters, and each needs to see that love every day.

    • FHMom says:

      I agree with all of this. I feel like I’m doing a better job raising my son than I am with my daughters. Maybe because he welcomes the guidance more than my girls do. I would t admit this in person, but I feel closest to my son.

    • Debbie says:

      Absolutely right, M’AM. I would also add that at 18 very few of us (male or female) are equipped to take charge of our lives, continue with school, and care for ourselves by getting a high enough paying job. That would cause such anxiety in a 16- or 17-year-old to know that they were getting kicked out soon.

  3. reef says:

    he absolutely has a favorite and it’s his 1st child. lol. She’s going to take over his businesses if she’s not running them already.

  4. Michael says:

    I like to think he does not just cut off his sons at 18. Maybe he makes them live on their own but helps them somewhat so they are not living in the street. I remember reading about Dr. Dre’s homeless child living in her car and I assume Shaq would not allow that to happen. It is hard to imagine anybody who could bully Shaq but his step father was 6.8 and an Army Drill Sargeant too so I guess it is possible.

    All of his kids seem to be thriving in their own ways so at least they had some support. They also presumably could live with their mothers who probably were set up well financially

    • molly says:

      I’ve watched/read him speak about his sons, and while he talks a big game about no handouts, you can tell he cares deeply for all his children. His also stepfather sounds like a great man who helped Shaq be the father he is today.

      Shaq’s talked about supporting/funding whatever business his kids want to start… so long as they bring him a solid business plan. They have to have done the research and put in the work. It’s more Shark Talk and less Brooklyn Beckham.

  5. Marietta2381 says:

    I’ve always loved Shaq. When I was 10, he signed an autograph for me. Back when he was with the Orlando Magic. My bio dad lived in Orlando and Shaq came in every morning for breakfast at the diner he worked at. He always talked to him. My bio dad always said he was a stand up guy.

  6. SpankyB says:

    I always hear of people kicking their kids out at 18 but I don’t know of anyone who actually has. Kids go to college, come back in the summer and holidays for the first couple of years, then once they get the hang of living on their own they don’t come back in the summer and that’s that.

    I did have to kick my kid out though. He was 21. His girlfriend’s roommate was moving and he thought it would be a great idea for the GF to move in with us. I let them know it was an even better idea for them to get their own place. I had his room stripped and re-decorated within a week.

  7. Murphy says:

    I heard and appreciated what he said about his divorce but I also need him to explain how he got to this place-did he go to therapy? How do we get others to see the light like this?

  8. NotSoSocialB says:

    That headline just made me sad.