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On a relatively quiet Monday afternoon, Tristan Thompson decided to begin his 2022 with a bang, delivering what will surely go down as one of the most bombastic apologies that has ever been shared publicly.
The 30-year-old offered a pathetic mea culpa over Instagram Stories to Khloe Kardashian, his on-off girlfriend with whom he shares 3-year-old daughter True, after a recent paternity test confirmed he had fathered a newborn son with another woman, Houston fitness trainer Maralee Nichols.
“You don’t deserve the heartache and humiliation I have caused you,” the Sacramento Kings player groveled. “You don’t deserve the way I have treated you over the years. My actions certainly have not lined up with the way I view you. I have the utmost respect and love for you. Regardless of what you may think. Again, I am so incredibly sorry.”
Thompson seemed to be taking to heart what should be the golden rule when it comes to celebrity relationships: a public embarrassment deserves a public apology. (Or perhaps it was just a desperate attempt to reach Khloe if she had stopped returning his texts.)
Still, it’s a hollow gesture given that over the past nearly six years the two have been together, Thompson has derailed their relationship time and time again over cheating accusations, each one somehow upstaging the last.
It’s a slap in the face for Khloe, who has repeatedly taken Thompson back and praised him on social media. For Thompson’s 30th birthday last March, Khloe gushed on Instagram, “The ones that are meant to be are the ones who go through everything that is designed to tear them apart and they come out even stronger than they were before.”
“Thank you for showing me everything you said you would,” she added. “For the father you are. For the best friend I have in you. I’m thankful that I can do absolutely nothing with you, and it feels like everything.”
That same week of Thompson’s birthday celebration, he allegedly conceived his child with Nichols while partying in Houston. He even allowed her to stay the night at his hotel because it was his “special birthday,” according to the paternity suit filed by Nichols.
Nichols and Thompson have been described as old friends, with Nichols allegedly training the NBA star at one point. According to court papers, which have since been sealed after an emergency request by Thompson, he admitted that while the two did not have “a serious ongoing relationship” they saw each other “sporadically” between December 2020 and March 2021 “for consensual sex only.”
Thompson had pushed Nichols to have an abortion, according to court documents filed by Nichols, and tried to pay her off with a lump sum of $75,000. “You know how I feel,” Thompson allegedly messaged Nichols over Snapchat, where his username was blkjesus00, according to a picture of the message obtained by Page Six.
“My feelings haven’t changed at all. [I] won’t be involved at all. Btw if you think having this baby is gonna make you some money. It’s completely wrong. You are aware that I’m retiring after this season. So, in terms of support, it will be whatever is required monthly for someone who’s unemployed.”
“It’s Texas so it will be only a couple hundred dollars," he allegedly added. “So, you better off taking this 75k I’m offering cause you won’t get nothing near that with having a kid with a father who’s unemplyed [sic] All you will have is a baby with a father who has zero involvement with the child and a few hundred dollars of child support a month.”
Nichols decided not to terminate the pregnancy and filed a paternity suit in June. By July, reports surfaced that Khloe and Thompson had ended their relationship, but the cause of the split was pinned on Instagram model Sydney Chase claiming in April that she had slept with Thompson.
Thompson continued to fight Nichols in secret as to whether the child was his, demanding a paternity suit. But things finally boiled over into the public arena when details of the paternity case were published in late November by the Daily Mail, and Nichols gave birth to a boy in early December.
And on Monday, a paternity test finally confirmed the little boy was his. “I take full responsibility for my actions,” Thompson wrote on his Instagram Story. “Now that paternity has been established, I look forward to amicably raising our son. I sincerely apologize to everyone I’ve hurt or disappointed throughout this ordeal both publicly and privately.”
Khloe has yet to publicly acknowledge Thompson’s apology, only uploading a photo of True playing with what appears to be a giant glazed donut. And the apology was immediately mocked online.
The bar has arguably been on the ground for Thompson ever since he reportedly ditched his former girlfriend Jordan Craig, who was pregnant with their son Prince, for Khloe in the summer of 2016. Craig claimed in court papers that she learned of their relationship through paparazzi photos and that the stress ultimately caused her “serious pregnancy complications.”
But when Khloe was in the final stages of her own pregnancy with their daughter True, Thompson outdid himself.
He was caught on camera kissing a woman in a New York City club in April 2018. Soon after, video emerged of Thompson entering and leaving a hotel with the same woman, followed by TMZ publishing footage of Thompson making out and fondling two women at a Washington, D.C., bar in October when Khloe was around three months pregnant.
Days after the reports dropped, Khloe gave birth to True. She later explained that she had allowed Thompson in the delivery room, reasoning that “regardless of what Tristan did to me, I was never going to take that moment away from True or Tristan.”
“She should not be punished for his actions,” she wrote. “He is her father and they both deserve to love one another as deeply as they possibly can.”
Regardless of what Tristan did to me, I was never going to take that moment away from True or Tristan. She should not be punished for his actions. He is her father and they both deserve to love one another as deeply as They possibly can #KUWTK
— Khloé (@khloekardashian) November 19, 2018
The two ended up staying together and went to couple’s counseling, although Khloe’s sister Kim Kardashian had some harsh words for Thompson, saying she’d like to “spit” on him and that his actions were “so fucked up.”
Things came to a head in late February 2019, when reports surfaced that Thompson had been spotted at a party “getting cozy” with Jordyn Woods, who was best friends with Khloe’s half-sister Kylie Jenner and close with other members of the family.
It ultimately turned into a nasty family dog-pile on Woods, as Kylie broke off their friendship and kicked her out of her guesthouse, and Khloe publicly declared that she was responsible for “breaking up her family.” Woods later turned to Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Red Table Talk to share her side of the story, insisting that she had only kissed Thompson, who had initiated the lip lock, and that she was not the cause of Khloe and Thompson’s demise.
Although the couple broke up, they were cordially co-parenting together and Khloe allowed Thompson to attend True’s first birthday party. A few months later, Thompson was flirting with Khloe over social media, leaving thirsty comments on her posts. When the pandemic struck in spring 2020, they were reportedly quarantining together. Thompson made appearances on that season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians and in August insiders said they were fully back together.
Things were quiet for the couple in the months since, with Khloe posting a photo of a massive diamond on her ring finger in April, but never clarified if the two were engaged. And this past October, Khloe said she wanted a sibling for True, with fans recalling how on KUWTK, Khloe had wondered if she should ask Thompson to be her sperm donor.
While an apology is a start, Thompson has a long way to go if he has any chances of getting back in Khloe’s good graces after she’d already accepted him back numerous times and has been repeatedly dogged for it.
But he may owe a more sincere apology to Nichols, the mother of his newborn son whom he tried to pay away so that he wouldn’t be in the position he is now. Or even to Woods, who was vilified for something that she claims he initiated, as Thompson tried to brand the dalliance “fake news.” Perhaps he also needs to own up to how poorly he treated Craig, the first to be burned by Thompson.
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