It appears our boy Rocket has outdone himself this time. Or did about a decade ago, when according to the New York Post, Clemens began blasting off with third-tier Nashville singer Mindy McCready. Also, McCready was about 15 at the time. Clemens, through his ever-vigilant attorneys, insists she's a "family friend." Ick. This might be the juciest, most unpleasant Southern celebrity affair since Burt and Loni's divorce.
The Post reports Clemens and McCready have had a "close" relationship dating to 1996, when the would-have-been Hall of Famer encountered the underage blonde bombshell - who eventually, um, scored with "Guys Do It All the Time" and "Maybe, Maybe Not" - onstage at a southern Florida karaoke bar. It doesn't get much more redneck than that, y'all. Except when McCready later went to jail for forging an OxyContin prescription and trying to claw her mother's eyes out, and Clemens allegedly had dudes injecting all sorts of suspect chemicals into his rear end.
Anyway, athletes don't dally with entertainers near as often as models and ex-beauty queens, but it does happen. The circumstances generally aren't quite as creepy as Clemens' entanglement, but there is safety in numbers. Right, um, "Rocket"?
Vanessa Williams and Rick Fox - The 1983 Miss America, the first African-American to claim that honor, relinquished her crown after naughty pictures of her and another woman surfaced in Penthouse. She rescued her showbiz career with interminable ballads such as "Save the Best for Last," and married the Lakers journeyman in 1999. They divorced in 2005, but Williams recently landed Fox a role as her bodyguard on ABC's Ugly Betty.
Derek Jeter and Mariah Carey - Didn't last terribly long, but the Yankees shortstop/captain and Long Island-raised multi-octave diva/nutjob had Page Six types all atwitter from 1996 to 1998. Fizzled out when Jeter realized extra infield practice was significantly less taxing than keeping up with Carey's shopping schedule, and she started going on and on about this crazy idea for a movie she had.
- England's reigning tabloid couple until derailed by a misguided impulse to move to America and tempest in a teapot Amy Winehouse. Beckham couldn't lead England's World Cup squad past the 2006 quarterfinals - let alone help the L.A. Galaxy unseat our two-time MLS champion Dynamo - and his wife's gossip-sheet ubiquity couldn't make the Spice Girls reunion more than a momentary curiosity.
Madonna and Dennis Rodman - Around the time her Sex book came out, all aflush from albums like Erotica, Madonna thought it would be fun to keep the hyper-pierced Pistons/Bulls rebounding engine's company for a while. The most surprising thing about this attention-whore coupling is that they've both kept fairly mum about the affair ever since, when there's got to be some stories to tell (and sell). What is Rodman doing these days?
Hilary Duff and Mike Comrie - Around the middle of last year, the Houston-raised tween twendsetter and New York Islanders center were an item. Maybe they still are. But a Texas gal hooking up with a hockey player is just too confusing, and a little heartbreaking.
Tony Romo and Carrie Underwood/Jessica Simpson - One of the handful of Texas athletes as media-hounded as Clemens, Romo is normally measured against another Roger, and until he can win in the playoffs, he's somewhat lacking. But he seems to share the Rocket's taste for platinum starlets whose musical talents are at best debatable. Mindy McCready? Really?
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- The Clipper was long split from Elton John's muse by the time she sang "Happy Birthday" to JFK. If she had lived longer, how long until the inevitable Sinatra duet?
Chuck Finley and Tawny Kitaen - "Here I Go Again" hood-squirming '80s icon beats the crap out of her husband, L.A. (then Anaheim) Angels starter Chuck Finley. How embarassing - for her, if you've seen that notorious mugshot. - Chris Gray