Shaquille O’Neal can relate to Adam Levine’s cheating scandal — which is why he has the musician’s back.
“Adam is a friend of mine from [a long] time ago,” the NBA icon, 50, told E! News at The Event, his charitable gala held in Las Vegas on Saturday, October 1, where Maroon 5 performed for the first time since the scandal broke. “I always say to myself, I cannot be a hypocrite.”
O’Neal elaborated: “I wasn’t the greatest husband in the world, so just because I have a large platform right now doesn’t give me the right to bash other people. He’s great.”
The basketball champion, who was married to ex-wife Shaunie O’Neal from 2002 to 2011, wasn’t the only star on hand to support the Grammy winner at The Event — the “Payphone” singer’s wife, Behati Prinsloo, reportedly watched from the side of the stage as the band performed.
“He’s doing something for the children, he’s always been like that,” Shaq said of Levine’s participation in the Sin City event, which supports the Orlando Magic alum’s titular foundation. “I’m happy for him. And I wish him luck.”
The Kazaam star previously weighed in on the drama surrounding the “Sunday Morning” artist, who admitted on September 20 to sending inappropriate messages during his marriage to Prinsloo, 34, who is currently pregnant with the couple’s third child.
“I was a serial cheater. It would be crazy and blasphemous for me to get up here and say, ‘Boom, boom, bam.’ I can’t do that,” the sports legend admitted during the September 24 episode of his podcast, “The Big Podcast with Shaq.”
He added: “I refuse to get up here and be like, ‘You shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t have done that.’ I’m not that guy. I’m real with the situation.”
Days after Prinsloo confirmed she and Levine were expecting their third child — the couple, who have been married since 2014, are already parents of daughters Dusty Rose, 6, and Gio Grace, 4 — Instagram influencer Sumner Stroh claimed via TikTok that she and Levine had a year-long affair. The “She Will Be Loved” artist, Stroh alleged in the video, recently contacted her to ask if she would be OK with him and the Victoria’s Secret model naming their child Sumner.
Levine, for his part, denied cheating on his wife — but admitted he made mistakes in his marriage.
“I used poor judgment in speaking with anyone other than my wife in ANY kind of flirtatious manner,” Levine shared via his Instagram Story at the time. “I did not have an affair, nevertheless, I crossed the line during a regrettable period of my life. In certain instances it became inappropriate. I have addressed that and taken proactive steps to remedy this with my family.”
The guitarist added: “My wife and my family is all I care about in this world. To be this naive and stupid enough to risk the only thing that truly matters to me was the greatest mistake I could ever make. I will never make it again. I take full responsibility. We will get through it and we will get through it together.”
After Levine’s apology, however, more women (including his former yoga instructor, Alanna Zabel, and model Ashley Russell) came forward to share alleged sexts from the California native — messages that were mocked on Saturday Night Live on the same night Maroon 5 performed at the Vegas gala.
Prinsloo, for her part, has been putting on a united front with her husband in the wake of the scandal. The two were spotted boarding a private plane from Santa Barbara on Tuesday, September 27, and the Namibia native appeared to be in a good mood while backstage at The Event on Saturday, according to E! News.