Meet Michael Jordan's Beloved Woman and Three Grown-Up Children
His name is more than a household. He revolutionized basketball (and basketball shorts!) He has the respect of the past, present, and future. Some say he can fly. Jordan's career as an NBA player took him to great heights. His personal life is often a whirlwind. We're taking a look at the wives, rumored affairs, and children of the most famous basketball player of all time!
Successful as a businesswoman, news writer, and former model, Vanoy is a down-to-earth woman, who skyrocketed to fame after marrying Jordan. Vanoy began modeling as a teenager before joining the American Bar Association as an executive secretary. She also wrote copy for Copley News Service during the 90s.
After marrying one of the greatest basketball legends of all time, Vanoy and Jordan founded the Michael and Juanita Endowment Fund to support charity organizations. Vanoy also earned her real estate license. The couple divorced over a decade ago, and Vanoy pulled away from the limelight, choosing to live a quieter, simpler life.
“I wanted to simplify my life," She said. "I got off boards, I downsized the way I lived; I had to because I wasn’t going to be in a huge house. I really looked forward to the basic things: my children and my good friends.”
Now, Vanoy has time for Bikram yoga, collecting modern, African-American art, and travel. She listed France, Italy, and London as her favorite spots. Vanoy also sat on the board of Reel Beauty Inc., a Chicago-based nonprofit that mentors teen girls, and started a foundation to fund programs that benefit the arts and children.
Marrying and divorcing Michael Jordan
Vanoy and Jordan met through a mutual friend at a Chicago Bennigan's restaurant. They began dating after meeting again at a party. In 1987, Juanita became pregnant and Jordan was unwilling to accept that he was the father. Ultimately, he quelled his doubt and asked the businesswoman to marry him. Two years later, they tied the knot.
Their first child, Jeffrey Michael Jordan, was among the guests of their wedding. Jeffrey was born in 1988, followed by his brother Marcus in 1990 and their youngest child, and only daughter, Jasmine Jordan in 1992. The Jordan parents were very protective of their children’s exposure to press and fame.
After a decade together, Vanoy filed for divorce, stating irreconcilable differences. The couple reconciled, though, and remained married for four more years. There was speculation that their marriage didn't work out because of Jordan's infidelity. Allegedly, he had an affair with Karla Knafel. A legendary rumor has it that the NBA icon swore Knafel to secrecy for $250,000.
Reportedly, Knafel became pregnant and Jordan urged her to accept $5 million in return for her silence. Knafel claimed he failed to pay her, while Jordan denied he had promised Knafel any amount of money. A DNA test later exonerated him.
Vanoy's life after the divorce
Jordan and Vanoy's divorce was mutual, and the former couple was granted the dissolution of marriage in 2006. Vanoy got custody of her children along with a $168 million settlement, the highest amount at the time. Vanoy has been rumored to be romantically involved with Ken Reynolds but remains out of the limelight, whereas her ex-husband married Yvette Prieto, a Cuban-American model.
Some expected Vanoy to start her own business post-divorce, but she prioritized her children's well-being and worked to guide her children through life until adulthood. "I thought I'd open my own business," she said. "But it was important for me to remain in my kids' lives as much as possible, even through college. And that required a lot of time."
Their oldest son, Jeffrey, lives in Portland, Oregon, and their younger son, Marcus, is in Florida. Jeffrey and Marcus played basketball in college and had dreams of going pro. "They wanted to be like their dad. What boy doesn't? But they both got to a point where they said, 'We're not going to the NBA.'"
Jordan's children were able to live outside their father's shadow, thanks to their mother: "When they were growing up, most coaches wanted them to wear No. 23. I insisted that they do not do that. I wanted to make sure that their skills were going to be what they made them and that it was based on how hard they worked."
Although separated, Vanoy and Jordan remained in contact and on good terms for their children's sake:
"Mostly, our conversations are about the children. I don't remember him saying, 'By the way, I'm getting married,'" she says, chuckling at the thought. "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."
Jeffery is the eldest son of Jordan and Vanoy, who chose a different sport from his father - Ultimate Fighting! He built a career as a UFC Knight in Illinois while attending university. He left the sport after his first and, ultimately, final season. Jeffrey got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Radina Aneva, in January.
Marcus Jordan may not have followed his legendary basketball player father's career, but he has made a name for himself as a young entrepreneur. He does play basketball too, but he chose to open a shoe store called "Trophy Room" instead. The date paid homage to his father's jersey number by opening on the same date at Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Jasmine Mickael Jordan
Like her father and brother, she is a sneaker addict with shoes in both her mother and father's home. "I have shoes everywhere," she said, "which makes it easy to travel. I never have to pack shoes." The 26-year-old graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in sports management and now works for the Nike Jordan Brand as a field representative.
Jasmine prefers to live a private and low profile life, which she said came from her public high school in Chicago. Jasmine is engaged to Rakeem Christmas. She uploaded pictures of her engagement on June 10, 2018, with the caption, "Happily Engaged." The couple also recently had a son.
Yvette Prieto is a Cuban-American model, born in Cuba in 1978. She spent time growing up in Miami and chose to model after disliking working for her father's company. Prieto and Jordan met at a club in Miami in 2007.
And Jordan wasn't the first famous man Prieto dated - she was previously involved with Julie Iglesia Jr! In 2003, Iglesias spoke to Hola! magazine about his then-girlfriend: "She's a fantastic girl, and I like her," Iglesias said. "Aside from her beauty, which is obvious, she is [a] loving, simple, and very good person."
By 2009 Jordan and Prieto were living together. They were engaged by 2011 and married on April 27, 2013, at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. The church is famous in its own right. Donald Trump and Melania Knauss married there in 2005.
According to US Weekly, the wedding cost approximately $10 million and included guests Tiger Woods, Patrick Ewing, Spike Lee, and Robin Thicke. Usher and Robin Thicke both sang at the reception. Less than a year later, the couple became parents of twin girls, Victoria and Ysabel, on February 9, 2014.
On being the greatest
"So it was unbelievable to be on his team, to be his teammate," former teammate Steve Kerr said. "And you had to accept that responsibility. You knew he was going to be harsh on you. You knew he was going to be tough on you, was going to talk trash to everybody in practice, test you.
His reasoning was: If you couldn't handle the trash talk in practice, there's no way you could handle the pressure of the NBA playoffs. It made perfect sense. He was right!"
As one of the most recognizable people in the world, Michael Jordan has transcended sports and pop culture and continues to inspire new generations of basketball players and fans - even though he hasn't played basketball professionally since 2003.
His one of a kind talent, marketability, and sometimes polarizing nature, all contributed to his becoming a worldwide household name. One that has continued to be relevant for almost four decades.
"I never played against Wilt Chamberlain," Jordan said, per the Chicago Tribune. "I never played against Jerry West. To now say that one's greater than the other is being a little bit unfair. I won six championships. Bill Russell won 11. Does that make Russell better than me or make me better than him? No, because we played in different eras."
We can't wait to see what he does next! What's your favorite Jordan moment? More importantly, what's your favorite Air Jordan? Tell us in the comments below!