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Tuesday, March 4, 2003
'Till death do us part

By Jeff Merron
Page 2 staff

Now that it has been revealed that Anna and Sergei did indeed make it legal for a while, the question hangs there: Will they be remembered as Russia's Joe D. and Marilyn?

Well, no. But compared to most of the doomed sports couples, they had a pretty good thing going. Which isn't saying much.

DiMaggio and Monroe
The DiMaggio-Monroe union was bliss -- until the honeymoon started.

1. Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe
As the story goes, DiMaggio and Monroe honeymooned in Japan, and she took a side trip to entertain troops in Korea. "You never heard such cheering," she said when she returned to Japan. "Yes, I have," replied DiMaggio. It was the beginning of the end. The high-flying skirt scene in "The Seven-Year Itch" was just another unbearable moment for the jealous Joe, but it set the divorce wheels in motion. America's perfect couple was married for nine months, but together in Joe's heart forever.

2. Mike Tyson and Robin Givens
The glamorous star of "Head of the Class" and the brutish boxer took the vows in 1988. My, oh my, talk about a mistake. What followed for Givens was nearly a year of what she called a "living hell." And we got a preview of worse things that would come from Tyson. He bragged about punching his wife: "She flew backward, hitting every (bleeping) wall in the apartment." Givens filed for divorce after enough marital episodes to keep the E! network on the air forever, and the split became official on Valentines Day 1989.

3. Steve and Cyndy Garvey
Squeaky-clean Steve Garvey and his college sweetheart, model and "A.M. Los Angeles" host Cyndy: could there have been a more All-American couple, a more white-milk-and-Wonder Bread marriage? For sure. Inside Sports magazine ran an article that detailed their troubled marriage in 1980. ("You can't even make love to your husband when you want to," she said. "You have to wait for an off day.") The Garveys sued, saying the article was full of damaging falsehoods. Turned out the real story was much more lurid than the Inside Sports article, with Garvey having carried on a couple of affairs during which he managed to father children by two other women (in addition to the two daughters he had with Cyndy).

A few years after they divorced in 1985, Cyndy said, "The guy is a sociopath. He needs therapy. I know I've had a lot of therapy in my life because of Steve Garvey."

4. Mike and Susan and Fritz and Marilyn
David Wells is tarnishing the Yankee image? That's a laugh. His mere words don't come close to the wife- and life-swapping that Bombers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson carried out in 1973. The two players simply swapped everything, including houses, cars, kids and pets. Mike and Marilyn didn't last, but Fritz and Susan made their marriage to each other official in 1974. Had to be a couple of divorces in there, but for some reason they were overshadowed by the entire bizarre story.

Pavel Bure, Anna Kournikova
Dangerous Liaisons: We're not sure of the timing, but did Anna's fling with Pavel Bure lead to her divorce from Sergei?

5. Anna K. and Sergei Fedorov
Anna sure does get around. There was the Fedorov-Anna-Pavel Bure love triangle, and rumors of engagements to each of the hockey stars. And there were the rumored hookups with Ronaldo and with tennis pros Mark Philippoussis, Nicolas Lapentti and Nicolas Kiefer. Said her agent, "Anna is a very friendly person, and I know that she has many friends among other athletes." Ouch. No wonder Sergei didn't want to talk too much about their real marriage and real divorce.

6. Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra
The Worm shows up on a lot of these lists, doesn't he? But this couple almost didn't make it. Rodman tried to get an annulment nine days after the two tied it in Vegas. "Dennis alleges he was so inebriated at the nuptials that he didn't know which end was up, what he was doing," his lawyer said. Didn't work. Neither did the marriage, which lasted five months before she filed for divorce -- plenty of time for swirls of rumors that each was being unfaithful. "I told her before the marriage that it was going to be crazy," Rodman said, "and she just had to deal with it."

7. David Justice and Halle Berry
They met in 1992, she proposed a few months later, and they wed on New Year's Day 1993. Justice was, Berry said, her "soulmate, my rock, my prince on a white horse." But Justice played in Atlanta, and Berry worked in L.A. And after three years, he said no more. "She wasn't the same person I was with before we got married," he said. "She'd get mad when I watched ESPN. ... And every time she saw a picture of me with a woman, any woman who might have been standing by my side, she thought I was cheating. ... I've never known a girl who could throw a tantrum like she does."

Halle Berry
Halle Berry on your dream squad would be a definite good look for the team.

An ugly divorce followed. Both multimillionaires demanded alimony. Berry, saying, "I am in fear of my personal safety," got a restraining order. Long after it was all over, Berry admitted she was so devastated she had considered suicide.

8. Jeff and Brooke Gordon
Brooke was "Miss Winston" when she met Gordon in the victory lane at Daytona. But all was not bliss. She filed for divorce in March 2002, citing "marital misconduct," and asked for alimony, their $10 million mansion, and two cars. She also wants the NASCAR star to pay the salaries of a slew of servants. The legal maneuvering continues, with Brooke trying to get access to Jeff's racing financials. "I think it's harassment, I think it's uncalled for, and if I could do something about it, I would," said Gordon a few weeks ago. "I wish I could do something about it." He can't. It's nasty. How nasty? Wrote Mike Imrem in the Chicago Daily Herald, "If the case reaches a courtroom, Brooke might have him scraping more walls than he ever did on a track."

9. Andre Agassi and Brooke Shields
This one was a long shot, but Andre and Brooke really seemed like a good couple. It wasn't to be. After two years, the two split. "We have the utmost love and respect for each other and will remain the best of friends," Shields said. Borrriiiing!

10. Bo Belinsky and Jo Collins
She was the 1965 Playmate of the Year. He had pitched one no-hitter in his rookie year with the Angels, and spread out a mediocre career among L.A., Philly, Houston, Pittsburgh and Cincy. Mediocre on the field, that is -- Belinsky has been called "the greatest womanizer in baseball history," an extraordinary achievement, when you give it a moment's thought. So everyone knew where this marriage was headed.

"They were a pretty typical couple," wrote Dan Gutman in "Baseball Babylon." "Bo and Jo got married, Bo and Jo had a kid, Bo threatened Jo with a gun, Bo nearly killed both of them by smashing his car into a utility pole, and Bo and Jo were divorced."