Rapper, movie star and basketball star Shaquille O'Neal is set for a new legal battle after he was accused of harassment by a woman who alleges she is his former lover. Vanessa Lopez claims she had an "intimate" five-year affair with the Cleveland Cavaliers player, while he was married to his now-estranged wife Shaunie Nelson.
Lopez has hired top celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred and the pair held a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 12, revealing a lawsuit is being filed against O'Neal in Florida. O'Neal's alleged mistress accuses the sportsman of hounding her after she attempted to break up with him and now fears for her safety.
In a brief statement, Lopez said, "I was never afraid of Shaquille O'Neal until September 29, 2009. My life has changed so much because of what I have had to endure. I now fear someone is after me. I just want this to be over. I want to feel safe again."
O'Neal filed for divorce from Nelson in September 2007 before reuniting and withdrawing his petition soon afterwards. However, the couple, who wed in 2002, split again in 2009, prompting Nelson to file new papers to legally end their marriage.
The basketball star isn't the only sporting icon legal eagle Allred is waging war against - she was also hired to represent one of Tiger Woods' rumored mistresses, Rachel Uchitel.