Shaquille O'Neal and Arnetta Yardbourgh | Source: Getty Images
Shaquille O'Neal and Arnetta Yardbourgh | Source: Getty Images

Arnetta Yardbourgh is a Professional Coach - Facts about Shaquille O'Neal's Ex-girlfriend

Christell Fatima M. Tudtud
Mar 29, 2023
08:02 A.M.

Despite not marrying NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, Arnetta Yardbourgh has a warm relationship with him, which has piqued many people's interest. Arnetta has also proved her ability to achieve success on her terms.


Renowned NBA player Shaquille O'Neal and his ex-girlfriend Arnetta Yardbourgh were a highly recognized couple in the 1990s. Their relationship history dates back to their teenage years.

Although the beginning of their relationship remains unclear, some reports suggest that they were already dating when Shaquille was drafted into the NBA in 1992. It is worth noting that the two attended the same high school in Texas.

Shaquille O'Neal attends the 2019 NBA Awards at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019, in Santa Monica, California. | Source: Getty Images

Shaquille O'Neal attends the 2019 NBA Awards at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019, in Santa Monica, California. | Source: Getty Images

In 1996, the couple, who had never been married, welcomed their first child. After Shaquille joined the Los Angeles Lakers while they continued raising their child, he made a deal with Arnetta to help improve their future lives.

Shaquille and Arnetta appeared to have a positive relationship. After their daughter was born, Arnetta returned to school and earned several degrees. Eventually, she started her own business.


Arnetta Yardbourgh Was an Athlete at Schreiner University

Born on December 11, 1971, Arnetta has a sister named Kinika Richardson. Cheryl Richardson is their mother. Arnetta's mom and sister are also professionals.

Kinika dedicated herself to the aviation industry for two decades and worked as a supervisor for two airlines. However, she has since transitioned into the world of entrepreneurship.

On the other hand, Cheryl is a health educator who owns a website dedicated to her interests. Besides that, the Charles of Stephans Beauty College alum is also a master stylist.


Like her sister and mother, Arnetta has her own share of successes in life. Arnetta's academic journey began at Judson High School, which she attended from 1987 to 1990.

Later, she went to Schreiner University from 1990 to 1992 to get a master's degree in liberal arts and general studies. She did well in school and showed off her athletic skills as a volleyball player.

Just because she specialized as a middle-blocker in volleyball doesn't mean her love for sports is one-dimensional. Apart from her expertise in volleyball, she is also a football fan and often frequents various football events as a fan.


Arnetta Founded Her Own Business

From 1992 to 1995, she studied Speech Communications at the University of Houston. After that, from 1997 to 1999, she took graduate studies in humanities at Houston Christian University.

She completed a co-active coaching course at the Coaches Training Institute from 2000 to 2005, where she earned a special certificate for coaching. She finally earned a doctorate in psychology in 2014.


Arnetta is now a professional coach and wellness consultant who has turned her job into a business. She founded AY & Associates, LLC, a small business that helps people make positive changes in their lives with the help of a coach. Her LinkedIn profile read:

"I essentially become their advocate, which I am known for."

Arnetta's coaching business goes beyond mentorship by offering various wellness products to help fight obesity. They also provide customized wellness programs for small businesses, which include mindfulness initiatives.


Instead of understanding his ex-girlfriend's pregnancy, Shaquille said the critics assumed that Arnetta only cared about his wealth.

All We Know About Arnetta and Shaquille's Relationship

Arnetta and Shaquille O'Neal's relationship was shrouded in mystery. However, it was known that they were romantically involved in the '90s and welcomed their first daughter Taahirah O'Neal in 1996.

Arnetta became Shaquille's girlfriend officially after Taahirah's birth. Shaquille was said to be very thrilled to have his first child in the 1997 Sports Illustrated interview. The mother-daughter duo relocated to Houston, Texas, from Orlando.


Shaquille has lived in Los Angeles, but he was the one who suggested to Arnetta to move to Houston. He explained that most people in Orlando reacted differently to Arnetta's pregnancy.

Shaquille O'Neal and his daughter Taahirah O'Neal eat pizza courtside at the LA Sparks WNBA game on June 20, 2000. | Source: Getty Images

Shaquille O'Neal and his daughter Taahirah O'Neal eat pizza courtside at the LA Sparks WNBA game on June 20, 2000. | Source: Getty Images

Instead of understanding his ex-girlfriend's pregnancy, Shaquille said the critics assumed that Arnetta only cared about his wealth. Other naysayers also claimed the NBA icon and Arnetta met in a hotel, which they believe is inappropriate. Shaquille said:

"They just assumed it was some dirty thing."


On why he and Arnetta never lived together, he said she wanted to continue her education. While Arnetta and Taahirah continue to live in Houston, Shaquille often wants to see them, so they often travel to be with him.

Arnetta's successful career mirrored Taahirah's success. Their daughter graduated with a sociology degree from Oglethorpe University in 2019 and is now the brand communications and community engagement analyst at PepsiCo Multicultural.

Taahirah's job at the soft drink company includes developing a marketing and public relations plan and a strategy for engaging with the multicultural community.


Arnetta Yardbourgh Received Custody of Her Daughter

It is unknown when Shaquille and Arnette broke up, but the former NBA star met his then-wife, Shaunie O'Neal, in 1996. According to Shaunie, Shaquille was the first athlete she dated.

Shaquille always kept in touch with Arnetta and Taahirah. The mom-daughter duo continued living in the basketball star's house in Houston, despite facing a challenging situation involving her housekeeper's tragic death in 2004.

Arnetta appeared to have moved on from the tragic event, focusing on the happy memories she and her daughter shared. She and her daughter attended Shaquille's All-Star Comedy Jam in 2014.


Arnetta stated that it was their first time attending Shaquille's event. She added that it was also a special occasion because they could reconnect with family and friends as well as meet new people.

Meanwhile, Shaquille showed an amazing act of generosity to Arnetta. In 2022, Arnetta would reportedly receive custody of her Taahirah, and Shaquille would continue supporting their daughter financially.

Arnetta Yardbourgh Chose Private Life

Arnetta last updated her Facebook page in 2021, and she's been doing so for the past few years. Her most recent post was in July of that year, donating to an online fundraising event for a friend.


Meanwhile, the status of Arnetta's business remains unclear. Her company's social media page, AY & Associates, LLC, has not been updated with new content since the mentioned year.

Arnetta's choice to leave her personal and professional social media accounts inactive has suggested that she prefers to stay out of the spotlight and live a quiet life.

She and Shaquille remain on good terms despite not getting married. While she hasn't resumed her business, she hasn't lost hope. Her varied education makes her a successful woman committed to further learning.

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