Shaquille O’Neal pays for meals of all diners in a restaurant after date, report says


Shaquille O’Neal has reportedly footed the bill for all customers in a New York City restaurant where he had been on a date.

The former Los Angeles Lakers star was on a date with an unidentified woman at the Jue Lan Club, a popular Chinese restaurant that seats up to 275 diners.

O’Neal, 50, reportedly shelled out more than US$25,000 (£20,686) to pay for the entire restaurant, in which there were 40 tables seated, and left an “extremely generous” tip for the staff.

Page Six quoted a source as saying that the woman O’Neal was dining with described the ex-basketballer as “my date” and “did all the ordering”.

The source added: “And to top that off, he paid for everyone’s check [who was] dining at the restaurant.

“He left [staff] the biggest tip they’ve ever received.”

O’Neal is said to have asked the restaurant to keep his gesture a secret from the other diners and not to mention that he had paid the bill until he left the restaurant.

The seven-foot-tall sports analyst was previously romantically linked to Empire actor Annie Ilonzeh.

From 2002 to 2011, he was married to television personality Shaunie O’Neal, who remarried earlier this year to a pastor. They share four children together.

In April, O’Neal said he was to blame for the divorce, adding that Shaunie had been “awesome” throughout their marriage.

“I was bad. She was awesome. She really was. It was all me,” he told The Pivot Podcast.

While he did not elaborate on what he did wrong, he admitted that he “wasn’t protecting her and protecting those vows”.

“Sometimes when you live that double life, you get caught up. I’m not going to say it was her. It was all me.”

O’Neal also opened up about feeling lonely and “lost” after the divorce and said: “76,000-square foot house by yourself, lost. No kids, go to the gym, nobody’s playing in the gym. You go to their room, nobody’s there. You start to feel it.”

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