In the end, Kobe Bryant couldn't find a diamond big enough even at Tiffany's to distract his wife from his weakness for other women. After ten years of marriage, the former Vanessa Laine has thrown in the towel and asked her Los Angeles Lakers star husband to live elsewhere, according to TMZ.
Whether they chase a little white ball into a hole like Tiger Woods or shoot a big orange one into a net like Bryant, many A-list athletes behave as if cheating on their wives were part of their job. Sociology professor Steven Ortiz even called pro sports "a culture of adultery" -- a world in which cheating is the norm, not the exception. His findings are backed up by frequent headlines of high profile cheating athletes called out by their referee wives:
Alex Rodriguez fought a bitter divorce battle with his wife Cynthia after years of serial cheating, including an alleged affair with much-older pop icon Madonna.
Tony Parker must have thought wife Eva Longoria was as desperate as the housewife she plays on TV. The San Antonio Spurs star carelessly left his computer logged on containing secret files about his illicit relationship with one of his team member's wives.
Vanessa Bryant stuck it out for years with a husband whose frequent affair rumors included an alleged sexual assault in a Colorado hotel. The charges were eventually dropped, though the deer-caught-in-headlights Kobe did admit to having consensual sex. That might have gotten him off the hook with the law (his sex partner changed her mind about testifying), but it took a $4 million eight-carat purple diamond ring to appease his angry wife.
In contrast, actress Longoria, who is now dating musician Eduardo Cruz, didn't blink an eye when she said adios to Parker.
The stark difference between Eva and Vanessa could be explained by sociology professor Ortiz. He studied athlete's adulterous behavior as a young doctoral student in the early 90s by spending four years interviewing their wives.
In a talk to his professional peers in 2001, Ortiz called the athlete's mindset on hooking up a "fast-food sex mentality." The professor learned that road trips are like Vegas -- bad boy behaviors stay a secret to whoever witnesses them, even other teammates' wives. (Interestingly, in the Bryant case, it could have been other basketball wives who finally clued Vanessa in on her husbands' hound dog behavior.)
Ortiz's most interesting finding, however, was that a wife's motivations for being married were a big predictor of whether she would stay with or leave her straying man. "It may be that women who marry the 'athlete' more than the 'man' tend may be more accepting of their husbands' affairs," he said. "Not only do they fear losing financial security and the affluent lifestyle, they often possess low self-esteem."
Tellingly, the mother of Bryant's two daughters stayed with her husband for ten years, a legal milestone in California for getting more alimony. She was only 17 when she met her superstar husband and her self-image largely hinged on his fame.
Longoria, in contrast, has her own career -- complete with a hit ABC prime time TV show. She did not need her husband's money, fame or celebrity connections to boost her self-esteem or make her lifestyle more luxurious.
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- Arts & Entertainment/People/Celebrity
- Family & Relationships
- Kobe Bryant
- Tiger Woods
- Los Angeles Lakers