Football players are big celebrities; when you consider the scheme of things beyond what they do on the pitch of play, many want to know who they are with and who they are married to.
Wives and girlfriends (WAGs) of footballers are one of the hottest topics in soccer discussions.
While some are lucky to have met the love of their life even before they became football idols like Messi, who eventually married Antonella Roccuzzo, others prefer to stay with their woman as boyfriends and girlfriends like Cristiano Ronaldo and Georgina Rodriguez.
Then there are some who got married during the course of their career and lived happily ever after, while many others got married but never remained together for long.
Football players are known for their agility, strength, and impressive moves on the field. But what happens when the game is over and they go home? Sometimes, even the most famous football players can’t keep their marriages from falling apart.
Divorce is a big topic when it comes to marriage involving athletes and footballers. Let’s take a look at 10 popular football players who divorced and how it ended.
1. Emmanuel Eboué
Before joining Arsenal, Emmanuel Eboué tied the knot with his Belgian wife, Aurélie, with whom he had three children.
Former Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboué in 2017 divorced his Belgian wife Aurelie and revealed in the aftermath that he was bankrupt after a bad investment he left in the care of his ex-wife.
With Eboué already retired from professional, he struggled to get an apartment and slept in pubs. However, former teammates and friends came to his aid, and he fully got back to his feet.
The Ivorian also stated that he has properties in West Africa, Ivory Coast, and Ghana, precisely claiming he wasn’t poor.
Emmanuel Eboué later got married to his long-term girlfriend, Stephanie Boedé, in 2019. Stephanie is a French publicist, and the couple had been dating for many years before finally tying the knot.
2. Gerard Piqué
Spanish legend Gerard Piqué dated famous singer Shakira after meeting at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The story looked like it would be a fairytale union until it wasn’t.
In 2022, Shakira divorced the defender in one of the pettiest celebrity couple separations ever seen.
The couple initially released a joint statement that they were separating.
Shakira is ten years older than Pique, while the former Barcelona defender cheated with a 23-year-old.
The singer recorded diss tracks, and the defender did the same in interviews; the two had two kids together and have since moved apart.
3. Achraf Hakimi
Hiba Akoub has been married to Achraf Hakimi since 2020 despite being 12 years older than the PSG player, who earns around €1M monthly.
The marriage was out of the media’s sight until Hakimi was embroiled in a rape case which led Hiba Akoub to initiate a divorce case that would have seen her take home 50% of the Moroccan’s assets.
In an interesting twist that will make this one of the most talked about sports divorces of all time, the 24-year-old had nothing in his name but under his mother’s name instead.
This meant that the actress was likely to share her assets 50/50 with the player unless there was another development contrasting to current realities.
4. Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole is regarded as one of the best left-backs in football history, but he is also one of the footballers who got divorced.
This divorce story is perhaps one that ironically shows love even in separation; Cole and Cheryl Tweedy started dating in 2004 before getting married two years later.
Allegations of Ashley Cole’s infidelity with three other women almost caused the couple to separate in January 2008. Despite the accusations, Cole denied the claims and managed to reconcile with his partner.
However, the duo separated in 2010, four years after their wedding, due to several cheating allegations against the former Arsenal and Chelsea player.
Cheryl didn’t take any financial compensation from Ashley Cole, and she never wanted to divorce, but the inevitable happened.
While there were rumors of a comeback between the two, it was not meant to be.
5. Odartey Lamptey
Probably one of the most popular divorce cases in world football, especially for Africans who know the story, and for those who don’t, let’s summarize it in a few paragraphs.
The Ghanaian star married Gloria Appiah in 1993 and had five kids, with two dying of lung diseases.
DNA tests revealed that the remaining three were not his, with the marriage hitting the rocks in 2013.
Gloria Appiah, the former wife of Nii Odartey Lamptey, demanded financial compensation and asked the Ghanaian court to order Lamptey to leave their home. However, her request was denied by the court.
Appiah then filed an appeal requesting 50% of Lamptey’s assets, which included the couple’s East Legon apartment, but the judge rejected her appeal.
The court awarded Gloria Lampety ¢200,000 as financial settlement, a house at Dome, and two vehicles.
6. Djibril Cissé
On 18 June 2005, Cissé married former Welsh hairdresser Jude Littler; the marriage produced three children, Cassius, Prince Kobe, and Marley Jackson.
However, what led to their divorce isn’t exactly public as Jude Littler is known to keep a private life, as signified by her rumored marriage with Chelsea star N’golo Kanté.
Before then, she lived her fair share of the glam, and when she divorced Cissé, she marked her divorce with a party and a three-tiered cake, complete with an icing depiction of a traditional bride with a decapitated groom.
7. Paul Merson
Paul Merson definitely made enough playing for Arsenal during his days and also later becoming a manager.
However, a bad divorce left the 55-year-old English former professional footballer broke and homeless.
Merson was married three different times and faced substance and alcohol abuse as well as gambling addiction which was the basis for his first divorce in 2001.
He sold his house in West Midlands at the height of it but is currently back on his feet as a TV pundit
8. David James
Unlike Paul Merson, David James lost his wealth to an unhealthy divorce and not a combination of problems.
He was married to Tanya, but in 2005 the marriage hit the rocks, and the former goalkeeper had to pay £ 3 million in the divorce.
In 2014 he declared bankrupt, no thanks to the divorce, as he continued to pay debts.
James is known to also be a model and has gone into managerial roles and punditry.
9. Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry is one of the greatest footballers to have graced the pitch, but he didn’t have the best of marriage.
The Frenchman married Nicole Merry in 2003 and were together till 2007.
Nicole initiated a divorce when she discovered that Henry was sharing text messages with make-up artist Sadie Hewlett.
The former Barcelona star paid £8M in compensation to his ex-wife.
However, in a 2008 interview with the Daily Mail, Henry spoke about the pain of his divorce and how it was not an easy experience for him
10. Ryan Giggs
Ryan Giggs had a private wedding with Stacey Cooke, whom they have been dating for a long time, on 7 September 2007.
Giggs had two kids from that union, and despite being extremely loyal to Manchester United, he exactly wasn’t and had an affair with his brother’s wife.
His wife, Stacey, stuck with him even with the adultery, she eventually initiated a divorce in 2016, and in 2017, she earned £40M in divorce settlements after Giggs flirted with a waitress at his restaurant.