Andre Agassi and Brooke Shields – the bad boy of tennis and the self-described ‘Most Popular Virgin’ in America. It was a match made in heaven. Until it descended into hell.
How Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi Met
The infernal racket emanating from the fax machine surprised Agassi, especially since he wasn’t personally expecting any form of communique to arrive that day. When he removed the document from the tray, he was surprised to see that it was a letter, originating from somewhere in Africa, and the sender was none other than Blue Lagoon alum Brooke Shields.
Shields had been encouraged to fire off her missive by Lyndie Benson, the second wife of jazz saxophonist Kenny G, an acquaintance that Shields and Agassi had in common.
The letter was playful in tone, with Shields admitting she had followed through on writing it because it gave her something to do during the long breaks on the set of Running Wild.
Intrigued by his new apparent pen pal, Agassi wrote her back. His letter was a long one – very long. In it, he poured out his heart and soul, his words greatly touching the young beauty. The back and forth continued for the remainder of Shields’ film shoot and by the time the project wrapped, she was hooked on a man whom she had never met – a situation she was ready to remedy.
Christmas time, 1993. The perfect setting for a first date. Shields and Agassi’s first official meeting, and date, took place in a restaurant where the ponytailed athlete was confused for a woman by the waitress approaching the duo’s table.
Though the nascent couple had many happy and supportive days together, there were times when Shields felt controlled. Agassi, she discovered, in a manner most violent, was a very jealous lover. And the revelation came courtesy of fictional lothario Joey Tribbiani… and was recalled in the respective memoirs the two would later write.
According to Shields, Agassi had accompanied her to the lot where Friends – the hit NBC situation comedy – was being shot and stood in the wings of the soundstage while she filmed a number of scenes opposite Joey’s portrayer, actor Matt LeBlanc.
As obsessed fan Erika Ford, Shields’ character coerces LeBlanc’s into going out to dinner with her where she proceeds to make presumptions about him based on the character he portrays on the NBC soap, Days of our Lives. At one point, she grabs his hand and licks the crevice between two of his fingers.
Upon seeing the move, Agassi exited the California-based facility, drove to his home in Las Vegas and, “systematically smashed and destroyed every single trophy he had won, including Wimbledon and the U.S. Open…” In the aftermath, Agassi, in way of explanation, informed Shields that she had made him look a fool with her actions.
And yet, the couple remained together. In April of 1997 – nearly four years after they first began dating- Shields and Agassi married. The day was marred by the presence of four helicopters – stuffed full of paparazzi – hovering overhead.
Fearing ridicule over his stature, especially when compared to his taller bride, Agassi donned elevated shoes for the event.
Odd By Anyone’s Standards
From the word go, the Agassi marriage was a strange one. The young marrieds maintained two separate residences and Shields revealed to gossip maven Liz Smith that the most time she and her husband spent together in a given year totaled no more than three weeks.
Brook Shields and Andre Agassi: Divorce
They say that confession is good for the soul and in 1999, Agassi decided that his could use some fine-tuning. Hence the phone call he placed to Shields in which he confessed that he had been a user and abuser of crystal meth. When his wife broached the idea of enrolling in couples’ counseling, he informed her that there wasn’t any point.
Post-conversation, Agassi filed for divorce. It was granted in April of the above mentioned year – a mere two days before what would have marked his and Shields’ second wedding anniversary. “To this day, I think to myself, ‘My God, Brooke. All you’ve seen in your life and you couldn’t pick this up?'”
Though a joint statement about the dissolution of their marriage insisted that ex-spouses still had, “the utmost love and respect for one another,” Shields would reveal Agassi’s wholly different take on the matter in an interview decades later.
“I am divorced and mine was fairly quick and relatively easy…he did say to me, ‘Be happy that we don’t have children or I would not have made this easy for you.’ And therein lies why I’m not there anymore.”