Yep, believe it or not Shaquille O'Neal and Nikki "Hoopz" Alexander are still a giggly live-in couple and dare we say are going strong. The Boston Celtics Giant and his bite-sized girlfriend recently let The Globe get a semi-intimate look at their life and home. Since the full story was a gazillion words long, peep our top seven highlights below.
1. VERTICALLY CHALLENGED: "Alexander is 5 feet 2 inches, making her about two feet shorter than her low-talking, tattooed boyfriend, the oldest active player in the NBA."
2. MORE REALITY SHOWS: "Now Alexander is about to embark on her next entertainment project, a reality show that will have cameras following her life in the suburbs and her foray into the athletic-training business."
3. TAYLOR SWIFT LOVE: "Shaq jokes that her [hideaway] room is the “dungeon,’’ but it’s anything but. There are candy canisters all over the place — she has a serious sweet tooth — and the room is decorated with Taylor Swift and “Alice in Wonderland’’ posters. A “Nightmare Before Christmas’’ calendar hangs on her wall."
4. WEDDING BELLS: "Hoopz is coy about it. “We have plans on . . . someday,’’ she said, smiling. Shaq offered this: “She’s not going anywhere, and I’m not going anywhere."
5. THE EARLY DAYS: "Alexander had met O’Neal a few times, through the Hollywood scene, but hadn’t thought about him much, at least not in a romantic way. It wasn’t until last summer that she was reintroduced to him through a friend. Alexander was visiting her photographer pal, Christopher “Yella’’ Hawkins, in St. Louis, and saw an autographed picture of Shaq on his wall. She told Yella that she had met Shaq and thought he was cool. Yella texted O’Neal that Alexander had said hello. Almost immediately, O’Neal texted Yella back, asking if Hoopz had a boyfriend."
6. EMONSTER: "Shaq tried to explain [how special Hoopz is to him] “She’s my first female best friend,’’ he said, “besides my mother.'"
7. DOWNTIME: "At home in Sudbury, they’re a pretty average couple. Well, they do have a live-in chef and other fancy services, but their lifestyle is surprisingly modest in some ways. They like to go to the Coach Grill down the street. They watch a lot of television. 'She makes me watch things I would never watch — like freakin’ ‘Spartacus,’ ' O’Neal said, referring to the Starz network show about Roman gladiators."