During their three-year marriage, Eva Longoria
and Tony Parker weren't often in the same place at the same time. But despite the actress's busy schedule filming ABC's Desperate Housewives
in L.A. and the San Antonio Spurs point guard's commitments in Texas, Longoria always made a point of stealing time with her husband-however brief. "If I [get] a day off, I'll catch a red-eye to Texas, be there in time to make Tony breakfast," Longoria said shortly after their 2007 nuptials. "I want to be a great wife....This is a new chapter in my life!" Now, it seems, that chapter is ending. On Nov. 17 Longoria, 35, made the shocking decision to file for divorce from Parker, 28, citing irreconcilable differences. She also requested spousal support from Parker, who just renewed his contract for $50 million. On Nov. 19 Parker also reportedly filed papers in Texas, where their prenuptial agreement is filed. "It is with great sadness that after seven years together, [we] have decided to divorce," the couple said in a joint statement. "We love each other deeply and pray for each other's happiness." Longoria was quick to reveal her motivation for leaving, telling Extra
's Mario Lopez, a close pal, that her husband had betrayed her trust. "She found hundreds of text messages from another woman on Tony's phone," Lopez explained on-air that night. "She is devastated, so [she] decided to end it."
The other woman was quickly identified as Erin Barry, 38, the wife of Parker's former teammate Brent Barry and a friend of Longoria's; just last month Brent filed for divorce. "Eva was completely blindsided," says a source close to the actress. "This woman was someone who was supposed to be her friend, and this was done behind her back." Adds another friend: "She came to Eva's birthday parties. It was all the more devastating because it was someone she let into her life."
While sources on both sides insist Parker's relationship with Erin was never physical, the admitted flirtation was more than Longoria could take. "When you're consistently talking to another woman for more than seven months, texting at 2 in the morning when your wife is not around, that's infidelity," says the Longoria source. "It's not right."
In fact, questions about Parker's devotion to his wife had long plagued the couple. In December 2007, just five months after they wed in a lavish ceremony in France, where Parker was raised, a French woman, Alexandra Paressant, claimed she had an affair with the basketball star. The couple vehemently denied the charge and sued one outlet that published the story, successfully winning a retraction.
But sources close to both Longoria and Parker say Parker did in fact cheat with someone else early on in the marriage. While a Parker source insists, "that was never repeated," a source close to Longoria says she learned about more than one affair. "She always forgave him," says the source. "She loved him so much. She thought he'd change." Enough so that, just recently, the pair completed renovations on their $7 million, 10,000-sq.-ft. mansion in San Antonio that included building a kid-friendly pool with slides.
Still, friends say their long-distance relationship, coupled with that earlier infidelity, fostered trust issues. Parker plays with the Spurs five months out of the year and plays internationally for France during the off-season. Longoria shoots for most of the year, so "if something happens and you're not together to work on it, it's a bigger problem," says the Parker source. And though a source maintains that Parker, who is 7 years younger than his wife, "really loves" Longoria, another friend concedes, "it's been complicated. He's a young man with a sex drive. Separation puts a strain on the marriage."
Although the couple had eagerly wanted children, "they had to schedule the right time to get pregnant," says a Longoria pal, explaining that both Longoria and Parker had hectic schedules. "It was a struggle, but they definitely planned on [a family]."
Now, friends say, they're both struggling to pick up the pieces. After visiting Longoria in L.A. on Nov. 12 in what one source calls a failed attempt at reconciliation, Parker has been focusing on work. "But he's as upset as anyone would be," says the Parker source. And Longoria is grappling with her shattered dreams. "They were building a future together. Now it's gone," says her friend. "She lost someone she thought was the love of her life. She can't wrap her head around that yet."
- with Ulrica Wihlborg,
- Jennifer Garcia,
- Liz McNeil,
- Peter Mikelbank.