Michael Jordan’s 2 Wives: First — Loan Officer & Mom of His 3 Kids, Second — Model He Met in Nightclub

Michael Jordan, a basketball icon whose influence extends beyond the court, was born on February 17, 1963, in Brooklyn, New York. He rose to fame as a college basketball sensation and a six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls.

Michael Jordan announces his retirement during a press conference on January 13, 1999 in Chicago | Source: Getty Images

His life outside the court, particularly his relationships, has captivated public interest. Jordan has been married twice: his first wife, a loan officer and mother to his three children, and his second wife, a model he met at a nightclub.

Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy after Chicago Bulls won against Los Angeles Lakers on June 12, 1991 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Both women have influenced Jordan’s life, shaping the story of a man who excelled in basketball and experienced the highs and lows of family life. His first wife, Juanita Vanoy, was working as a loan officer when she crossed paths with Jordan at a Chicago Bennigan’s after a Bulls game.

She had spent most of her adult life working for organizations like Heitman Financial Services and the American Bar Association and had aspirations of completing an associate’s degree at a local junior college.

Their romance sparked in mid-1985, and by the end of 1987, Jordan had proposed at a high-end downtown restaurant. By July 11, 1988, five months post-proposal, she was five months pregnant and seeking legal counsel.

Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy at a press conference on January 13, 1999 in Chicago | Source: Getty Images

She wanted Jordan to take responsibility for his child. Despite her state of panic, her lawyer, Michael Minton found her to be resolute, without any trace of anger or bitterness. He described her as disciplined and realistic, knowing exactly what she needed to do.

He didn’t perceive her as an opportunist but as a future mother trying to secure her child’s future. That summer day in the Midwest, she hired Minton and instructed him to file a paternity suit against the most famous athlete in Chicago at the time, and soon to become the world’s most famous athlete.

Minton reached out to the basketball champion and presented Vanoy’s position. He explained to Jordan that the only alternative to him voluntarily admitting paternity was to initiate a paternity action, which would become a public record.

Michael Jordan before a basketball game at the Capital Centre on December 23, 1992 in Landover, Maryland | Source: Getty Images

Jordan promptly referred Minton to his legal team, marking the beginning of a lengthy negotiation that would go on for over two years. The lawyer shared that even as the negotiations were going on, the couple continued dating, insisting that they were “emotionally committed to each other.”

Minton recalled that Jordan admitted paternity within a few months, but financial discussions continued. Vanoy gave birth to their son, Jeffrey, in November 1988, with Jordan’s name on the birth certificate, but she managed to stay hidden from the media radar.

In July of the following year, Vanoy informed Minton of her impending marriage to the basketball star and instructed him to negotiate a prenuptial agreement. Two months later, she and Jordan wed at the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas at 3:30 a.m.

Michael Jordan before a game at Capital Centre on December 23, 1992 in Landover, Maryland | Source: Getty Images

The negotiations for the postnuptial agreement continued for another 18 months, concluding in February 1991, right after a Bulls game. Those who knew Vanoy would attest that she was never overawed by Jordan and was indifferent to his wealth and fame.

She was a diligent and driven woman before their paths crossed, having been brought up as the fifth of six girls on the South Side. Her friends vouched for her never losing touch with her roots. Following their wedding, Jordan openly shared his sentiments about Vanoy and their 10-month-old son.

He expressed his joy about having a new family and recognized that it contributed to his personal growth, saying, “It helped me mature.” Besides their firstborn Jeffrey, the couple welcomed two more children, Marcus, and Jasmine.

In 2016, Vanoy and Jordan mutually agreed to end their 17-year marriage, as announced in a statement released by their lawyers. The couple had previously experienced marital difficulties. Vanoy had initiated divorce proceedings in January 2002 but withdrew her suit a month later when they decided to try and reconcile.

Although the couple did not have a prenuptial agreement, Vanoy received a substantial settlement of $168 million, their shared Chicago residence, and custody of their three children upon their divorce. Their divorce is recognized as one of the most costly in celebrity history.

After the divorce, Juanita Vanoy launched a business, Juanita Wear, specializing in luxury designer clothing, handbags, shoes, belts, jewelry, and other accessories. In a 2018 interview, their only daughter and youngest child together, Jasmine Jordan, offered insights into their family dynamics.

She characterized her brothers, Jeffrey and Marcus, as a homebody and a public personality, respectively, and described herself as a combination of the two. In 2013, Jordan wed model Yvette Prieto following a five-year courtship.

Their wedding ceremony which was attended by 300 guests, was held at the Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, the same location where Donald Trump and his wife Melania were married in 2005. The couple had first met at a Miami nightclub in 2008.

Michael Jordan and Yvette Prieto during their wedding at Bethesda-by-the Sea Church April 27, 2013 in Palm Beach, Florida | Source: Getty Images

Their lavish wedding was estimated to have cost about $10 million. Prieto’s engagement ring, a large diamond, was reportedly valued at $1 million, a gift from Jordan when he proposed in 2011. Upon turning 50, Jordan recognized that Prieto had instigated significant changes in his life, providing him the opportunity to reconnect with his younger self.

She persuaded him to visit his family in North Carolina and to show her his childhood home in Wilmington. Despite his initial resistance, he eventually agreed to the seven-hour journey. He acknowledged that Prieto had influenced him to try new experiences, indicating a change in his attitude from a decade ago.

Yvette Prieto attends the 11th annual Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational gala on March 30, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada | Source: Getty Images

“Ten years ago, we’d have been arguing all day. I would’ve won. This time, this stage where I am, you win. That’s progress.” he acknowledged. In February 2014, the couple was blessed with identical twin daughters, Victoria and Ysabel.

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