(CN) – A woman who claims she has had an “intimate relationship” with Shaquille O’Neal for 5 years says the basketball star threatened and cyberstalked her after she told him she thought he had made her pregnant, and “made a credible threat against [her] life”.
Vanessa Lopez claims she sucumbed to O’Neal’s charms after he told her he had an “open marriage” with his wife. She says that they made love in O’Neal’s home bedroom, among other places, but that now she “is in fear of her safety.”
Her civil RICO complaint in Orange County Court, Orlando, Fla., alleges assault, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. “O’Neal intentionally, unlawfully offered corporal injury to Lopez by force, or force unlawfully directed toward Lopez, under such circumstances as to create fear of imminent peril, coupled with O’Neal’s apparent present ability to effectuate the injury,” according to the complaint.
Lopez claims she has known O’Neal since she was 14, as she went to the same middle school, high school, and community college as O’Neal’s family. She claims O’Neal began pursuing an intimate relationship with her in 2004, and that “While Lopez was concerned that O’Neal was married, O’Neal pursued a relationship with Lopez and was persistent.
“Finally, Lopez and O’Neal had lunch at which time O’Neal told Lopez that he had an open marriage with his wife Shaunie and that his marriage was to preserve his image for his children.
“Thereafter their relationship became physically intimate.”
She claims that they “were intimate at least fifty times,” at hotels, and ‘in O’Neal’s bedroom when his wife was not at home.”
Lopez claims that O’Neal “repeatedly told Lopez that he wanted to have a baby with her,” but when she told him she thought she was pregnant, in late September 2009, everything changed. She says he told her “that she better tell the baby’s father,” and then “refused to speak to her.”
Apparently insulted, she says she asked O’Neal to “leave her alone,” but he refused, and kept calling her until she told him that “if you don’t leave me alone I am going to tell Shaunie about us.”
“Within minutes,” Lopez says, she received a threatening phone call from O’Neal’s 6-foot 6-inch sister, “leaving verbal and physical threats on Lopez’s voice mail which threat included involving O’Neal’s other sister Latifah, 6’8″, who lives down the block from Lopez, in hurting Lopez.”
She claims O’Neal continued to badger her with phone calls and text messages “at all times of the day and night” for 2 months, and that the harassment was so intense she “hired counsel to send a cease and desist letter to O’Neal.”
But she says he blew off the cease and desist letter and continued harassing her. She claims he “proceeded to hack into Lopez’s text messages and voice mails without Lopez’s knowledge or consent, using some extremely sophisticated software.”
She claims O’Neal asked an “associate, Justin” to “shut dat bitch up.”
Justin then took a plane to Orlando and he “stalked” her with “menacing and sinister” phone calls, according to the complaint.
She claims “O’Neal engaged in repeat violence” against her, “in that he committed at least two incidents of violence or stalking.”
The complaint states: “O’Neal made a credible threat against the life of or to cause bodily injury to Lopez, as that term is defined in §784.048(1)(c), Fla. Stat., in that he threatened Lopez with the intent to cause her to reasonably fear for her safety.”
She seeks damages for assault, emotional distress, privacy invasion and conversion of her communications. She is represented by Hal Litchford of Orlando and Alfred, Markolo & Goldberg of Los Angeles.