Everything about an élite pro athlete's life the nine-figure contract, the 20,000-sq.-ft. home, the beauteous gluteus maximus and, yes, sometimes even the 12-lawyer divorce is a brawny spectacle. But the breakup of New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez and his wife Cynthia is surely one for the record books, with its allegations of a starry love pentagon and brainwashing via a rabbi. The relationship that appears to have helped unravel the six-year Rodriguez marriage involves no mere Vegas stripper or D-list country star. This couple is fighting about the only woman on earth who can top A-Rod in both net worth and push-ups Madonna.
Cynthia Rodriguez filed for divorce Monday, with her lawyers claiming that "Alex has emotionally abandoned his wife and children" and that the marriage "is irretrievably broken because of the husband's extramarital affairs and marital misconduct." While Madonna's name isn't mentioned in the petition, Earle Lilly, Cynthia's divorce attorney, told TMZ, "Madonna was the last straw."
Lilly later clarified to PEOPLE magazine that he was not claiming sexual infidelity by the Material Girl and Major League boy, but rather "an affair of the heart." Dodd Romero, Rodriguez's former trainer and godfather to his children, told Good Morning America that Madonna has "brainwashed" the ballplayer with teachings of Kabbalah, the form of Jewish mysticism she practices. "Something has pulled him away from his strong family values and has caused him to search and look for something that really isn't out there," Romero said. (For pro athletes, chatty former trainers pose the same threat that chatty ex-nannies do to actors: they often see their bosses at their worst, and share it.)
Madonna, whose own 7 1/2-year marriage to director Guy Ritchie has been rumored to be on shaky ground, fought back with a double play through her publicist. "My husband and I are not planning on getting a divorce," she said in a statement. "I know Alex Rodriguez through Guy Oseary, who manages both of us. I brought my kids to a Yankee game. I am not romantically involved in any way with Alex Rodriguez. I have nothing to do with the state of his marriage or what spiritual path he may choose to study."
Also drawn into the lineup are you keeping score? we're on our fifth batter is rocker and comforter of wealthy divorcées Lenny Kravitz. Kravitz, who recently raised eyebrows by hosting Cynthia at his home in Paris, issued his own statement: "There is absolutely no affair between Cynthia Rodriguez and myself. This is unequivocally 100% not true. She came here to escape from everything happening in New York City. I opened my home to her as a friend, and I find it extremely hurtful that I am now being referred to as an adulterer." The singer has a knack for housing those recovering from crumbling marriages; he sublet his New York City apartment to Nicole Kidman after her 2001 divorce from Tom Cruise. While describing themselves as "friends," Kidman and Kravitz canoodled at parties and went house-hunting together.
With allegations and statements whizzing by like a Nolan Ryan fastball, the one person who has stayed quiet is A-Rod. His attorney didn't return calls for comment on Monday. All the negative off-field attention doesn't seem to be hurting his game. He recently hit his 536th home run, tying Mickey Mantle for 13th place on baseball's career list, and he was just named the top vote-getter for the All-Star game.
In court, however, A-Rod faces a tough matchup. In her divorce petition, Cynthia has asked for primary custody of their two daughters Natasha, 3, and Ella, 2 months as well as their $12 million, six-bedroom estate in Coral Gables, Fla., their luxurious Maybach car and enough child support and alimony to maintain their "lavish lifestyle." A-Rod can only hope this is a battle that doesn't require extra innings.