Michael Jordan & Juanita Vanoy's Divorce Was Among the Most Expensive In History

Jordan and Vanoy had been married 17 years.

If you've finished ESPN's documentary series The Last Dance, which dropped on Netflix July 19, you'll know that certain stories seem to be missing. The 10-part series about Michael Jordan's last championship season with the Chicago Bulls is a joy to watch, and I'm usually more of a fashion documentary kind of girl. But, notably, it seems that one of the stories missing is that of Michael Jordan's wife of 17 years, Juanita Vanoy.

The pair initially met in 1985 at a Bennigans restaurant in Chicago after a Bulls game. They tied the knot in November of 1989 at the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas. At the time, the couple was already parents to son Jeffrey Jordan. Soon their family would grow by two: Son Marcus Jordan and daughter Jasmine Jordan.

Everything seemed great until Vanoy filed for divorce in 2002. The Chicago Tribune quoted private investigator Ernie Rizzo as saying that he observed Jordan in some compromising situations with half a dozen women over 1992-2002, although Vanoy never publicly commented on the claims. Rizzo did help Vanoy in 1988 with Jeffery's paternity case and had been hired by the wives of other Bulls players to keep an eye on their husbands, per the Tribune.

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Jordan's assets were estimated at $398 million at the time of the first divorce filing by Vanoy in 2002. The couple attempted to reconcile, and she withdrew her petition for a divorce a month later. Four years later, in December of 2006, Jordan and Vanoy announced their split in a joint statement.

"Michael and Juanita Jordan mutually and amicably decided to end their 17-year marriage," the couple's lawyers said in a statement, according to People. "A judgment for dissolution of their marriage was entered today. There will be no further statements."

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According to the Chicago Tribunethe couple had not lived together since February of 2005 and cited irreconcilable differences as the cause of the breakup. Because of their celeb status, the court waived the requirement of attending parenting education program classes and the statutory two-year separation required by the state.

Vanoy received $168 million in the divorce settlement, one of the largest in sports history, according to Chicago Business. He also reportedly paid $2.1 million in legal fees.

Today, the pair still communicate, and Jordan is happily married to Yvette Prieto. "Mostly, our conversations are about the children," she said to Chicago Business in 2013. "Divorce was certainly new to me. I had to learn that you have to communicate. That it's not about you or your ex-partner. It's about making sure the children are all right."


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Bianca Rodriguez is the Fashion & Luxury Commerce Manager at Hearst Magazines, covering fashion, beauty, and more for Cosmopolitan, Elle, Esquire, Harper’s BAZAAR, and Town & Country. In addition to spearheading commerce content across brands—from writing about wardrobe must-haves and sales at major retailers to strategizing—she is also an avid reader with a deep love and knowledge for books of all genres. More often than not, you can find her lounging with a good book on the weekend.