Though Shaquille O’Neal has become a celebrity in just about every industry you can imagine, the basketball legend turned rapper, turned DJ, turned port police officer has kept his personal relationships private in the last 10-15 years. Since his high-profile divorce from Shaunie O’Neal in 2011, Shaq has kept the public out of his personal affairs, despite being pictured with multiple models, reality TV stars, and other alleged girlfriends.

If you’ve been on social media at all in the last few weeks, then you’ve likely encountered the now-viral post showcasing O’Neal embracing a young woman, with a caption that alleges she is only 21-years-old. Some fans were quick to express disgust in the relationship, as Shaq is 52, though fact checkers were quick to point out that the photos were actually taken over 5 years ago, and that the woman, confirmed to be model Danielle Dilworth, was actually 22 at the time.

Despite the viral post being a complete fabrication, it did cause fans to question Shaquille O’Neal’s actual relationship status. While the specifics of Shaq’s romantic life are currently unknown, he was seemingly confirmed to have been dating General Hospital actress Annie Ilonzeh as recently as Summer 2022. So, who is Annie Ilonzeh, how did she meet the Big Shamrock, and what is the nature of their relationship? Let’s examine all of this and more, as we uncover the details about Shaq’s alleged girlfriend.

Who Is Annie Ilonzeh?

(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for BET+)

Despite the rumors surrounding the couple, Annie Ilonzeh is so much more than just Shaq’s girlfriend. The 40-year-old Grapevine, Texas native is a celebrated star in her own right, having appeared in numerous television and film placements. Ilonzeh’s screen-acting career dates back to the early 2000s. Her first TV appearance was a guest role on a season 3 episode of the hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother, with roles in He’s Just Not That Into You, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and Melrose Place following soon thereafter. Annie Ilonzeh may not be a household name necessarily, though she does hold over 43 screen-acting credits per IMDb, with her biggest roles including multi-year stints on General Hospital and Chicago Fire. She also starred in the 2017 Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez On Me.

Annie Ilonzeh’s career seems to be ramping up in recent years, as the Nigerian-American actress holds over 5 credits for 2023 alone. She also touts an upcoming lead role in the Nathan Hertz-helmed film Thinestra. Ilonzeh has also become something of an influencer in recent years, amassing over 300,000 followers on her Instagram page. On the social media outlet, the actress showcases her DIY projects, hair styles, and previews upcoming television and film performances to her many fans across the globe.

What Is Her Relationship To Shaq?

Not much is known about how the pair met or what labels they choose to use, though Shaquille O’Neal has been seen cozying up to Annie Ilonzeh since 2019. The last time that the pair were pictured together was in the Summer of 2022, though Shaq still follows his alleged girlfriend on Instagram to this day. Given that the pair share a background in the entertainment industry, it stands to reason that they may have met through a networking event or Hollywood party, but that cannot be confirmed.

It is quite fascinating how the former NBA champion has been able to keep so much of his life a secret, despite being a globally-recognized public figure with his hands in just about any industry you could name. Today, Shaq refuses to offer any confirmation about his so-called girlfriend, so it may be a while before fans can ultimately determine the status of the couple.