PGA golfer Rory McIlroy said on Wednesday that he has broken off his engagement to tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, his longtime girlfriend.
McIlroy, 25, ended the relationship just days after the invitations for the couple’s November wedding went out in the mail over the weekend. The two-time major winner addressed the split in a statement released on Wednesday.
“The problem is mine,” McIlroy said, via the BBC. “The wedding invitations issued at the weekend made me realize that I wasn’t ready for all that marriage entails. … There is no right way to end a relationship that has been so important to two people. I wish Caroline all the happiness she deserves and thank her for the great times we have had.”
McIlroy stressed that the decision to break off the engagement was mutual and insisted that he and Wozniacki, who is 23, remain cordial.
The athletes were engaged on New Year’s Day after McIlroy proposed shortly after midnight in Australia, USA Today’s "For The Win" noted. In a recent interview with Global Golf Post, McIlroy said that his proposal was nearly ruined by a drunken bystander.
“We were on a boat on the harbor. It’s a funny story because I wanted to do it at the stroke of midnight but I couldn’t because a really drunk guy on the boat jumped in and caused a whole commotion. […] It was a bit of a nightmare,” he said.
McIlroy’s engagement to Wozniacki isn’t the first time that an athlete’s relationship came to an end in public fashion. Here’s a roundup of nine of the nastiest sports breakups of all time.
New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur's wife, Melanie, filed for divorce in 2003, citing the future NHL Hall of Famer's "numerous occasions" of adultery. As the divorce progressed, it was learned that Brodeur had carried on an affair with his sister-in-lew, Genevieve Nault, whom he eventually married. The couple reportedly has two children together.
In 2013, San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan struggled through an ugly split from Amy Duncan in the midst of his team’s run to the NBA Finals. The divorce proceedings got messy; viral rumors suggested that Amy Duncan may have been sleeping with her personal trainer or that she outed Tim as gay during a court hearing. The exact reason for their split remains unknown.
McIlroy isn’t the first well-known golfer to suffer through a public split. In 2009, Tiger Woods’ separation from Elin Nordegren dominated tabloid headlines for months. In the weeks after Nordegren allegedly struck Woods in the head with a golf club during a domestic dispute, various outlets reported that the golf legend had engaged in affairs with a slew of women, including several porn stars. Woods attempted to reconcile with Nordegren, but the marriage ended in divorce; sources told TMZ that she received nearly $100 million in the proceedings.
Thibault Hutin, the husband of 2013 Tennis Hall of Fame inductee, Martina Hingis, told a Swiss newspaper that his wife was a serial adulterer. Despite his attempts at reconciliation, Hutin claimed that Hingis, 33, repeatedly cheated on him during their marriage. They are now separated, but Hutin claimed that he wasn't even aware of that decision until he read Hingis' statement in a Swiss magazine.
Boston Celtics forward Kris Humphries dealt with a good deal of public ridicule over his short-lived marriage to reality-TV star Kim Kardashian in 2011. The socialite filed for divorce just 72 days after she and Humphries were married on an E! Network special entitled “Kim Kardashian’s Fairytale Wedding.”
Former Cincinatti Bengals star Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson’s marriage to reality-TV star Evelyn Lozada fell apart in 2012 after he reportedly headbutted her during a heated argument over his infidelity. Three days later, Lozada filed for divorce.
Longtime San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker separated from his wife, Eva Longoria, in 2010 amid allegations that he’d had an affair with the wife of his former teammate, Brent Barry. Extra reported that Parker and Erin Barry had engaged in a long-term dalliance and published thousands of text messages exchanged between them. Sources familiar with their relationship claim that it never became physical.
In 2010, former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber left his pregnant wife, Ginny Cha, to be with Traci Lynn Johnson, an intern at NBC, where Barber once worked as a broadcaster. Barber and Johnson were married in 2012, less than a year after his divorce from Cha was finalized.
NBA legend Michael Jordan’s 2006 split from Juanita Vanoy wasn’t particularly acrimonious, but it did make a sizable dunk on “His Airness” bank account. Vanoy received $168 million in the divorce, making it one of the most expensive in history.