Inside Marcus Jordan and Larsa Pippen's Game-Changing Love Story

Michael Jordan's son gearing up to propose to Scottie Pippen's ex-wife may sound downright Shakespearean, but Marcus Jordan and Larsa Pippen's romance is far more than theater.

By Natalie Finn Dec 24, 2023 3:00 PMTags
Watch: Larsa Pippen Reveals If She'd Ever Get Married Again

Marcus Jordan did not worry about the shot clock when it came to courting Larsa Pippen.

While the owner of the Trophy Room boutique in Orlando and the Real Housewives of Miami star have been in a relationship for more than a year, going Instagram-official in January, they met back in 2019—so before the pandemic put a damper on everyone's social scene—at a party hosted by Nike's Jordan Brand. 

Marcus was liaising with VIPs who were hoping to get into the "top secret section" to mingle in the vicinity of his father, Michael Jordan, and someone from Larsa's group of friends texted him for an entrée.

"I just felt like, even at that point—we hadn't really hung out yet and we were just meeting—I found myself staring at you across the room," Marcus reminisced on the June 12 debut episode of the couple's podcast, Separation Anxiety, "wanting to talk to you and get to know you more, but I feel like we didn't have that opportunity. We just kind of said 'hi' and 'bye' and kept it moving."

But numbers were exchanged, and they stayed in touch through text and Instagram. "Plus we've got a lot of mutual friends," added Marcus, who's celebrating his 33rd birthday Dec. 24. "So every time I'd be in Miami, I'd say, 'Hey, I'm in town, what're you up to, where you at tonight?' And I feel like it just gradually happened over time."

One could almost say Marcus had been busy growing into the role of Mr. Right.

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It's OK, they know you know: He was 6 when Larsa married Scottie Pippen, who along with Michael Jordan won six NBA championships between 1991 and 1998 playing for the Chicago Bulls.

Larsa Pippen/Instagram

The court signed off on Larsa and Scottie's divorce in January 2022, about five months after they finalized the terms—but they first separated more than seven years ago. (They called off their original attempt at divorce in 2017, but Larsa re-filed the following year, and it was a process.) The exes share sons Scottie Jr., 23, Preston, 21, and Justin, 18, and daughter Sophia, who turns 15 on Dec. 26.

So Larsa, 49, hadn't really been putting the "wife" in "Housewife" for awhile, and she wasn't looking for a relationship when she started seeing more of Marcus. In fact, she originally tried to hook him up with one of her friends.

"I would tell all my girlfriends, 'You have to date Marcus, because he's hot, he's smart, he's cute, he's amazing,'" she shared on Separation Anxiety. "You know I thought really highly of you for me to tell my friends, 'cause I didn't want the smoke."

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At this point, it's unclear which has caused more smoke, the difference in their ages or their epic connection via two of the most storied NBA teammates ever, the complicated Jordan-Pippen dynamic providing plenty of drama for the ESPN docuseries The Last Dance.

Andy Hayt/NBAE via Getty Images

But to Marcus and Larsa, who have been talking about a different kind of ring recently, it's all just so much noise.

"I let people that are misinformed be misinformed," Marcus told E! News in June. "I feel like people see our last names and immediately want to have some sort of reaction or opinion. But I feel like as people get to know us and understand our situations more, they're way more happy for us and just want to see us live in our truths and be happy."

Romain Maurice/Getty Images

There are some "miserable" people out there who "just wanna have some negative input on things," added Larsa, "but I think overall, I feel like people that know us love us, want us to be happy."

Of course, she'd prefer that her possible future GOAT-in-law be on the latter team. (Along with her RHOM co-stars Alexia Nepola and Marysol Patton, who gave the couple a resounding thumbs-up.)

On July 2, Michael—who was on his way out of a restaurant and climbing into a waiting vehicle, so kind of a technical foul right there—told a Paris photographer "no" when asked if he approved of Marcus and Larsa's relationship. That one word obviously made headlines far beyond France. 

Larsa Pippen/Instagram

The photo Larsa posted July 2 of she and Marcus kissing, captioned "Je t'aime" (as in, "I love you" in French) couldn't have been a coincidence.

Marcus subsequently shared on the July 11 episode of their podcast that his dad meant nothing by it, that he even called and texted after the encounter "to make sure that I didn't take anything the wrong way."

And when headlines inflated the gravity of the "no," Michael texted again to reassure him.

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Still, the admittedly embarrassed Larsa retorted, "You thought it was funny. I didn't think it was funny. There is nothing funny about it."

She explained that she was upset by the idea of people thinking she wasn't being truthful, since she had said on The Tamron Hall Show in March that she was in "a great place" with her boyfriend's family and they had spent holidays together.

"Online they were saying that I was lying, that I lied and said that our parents are fine," Larsa lamented on the podcast, "because I was doing interviews and saying both of our families are fine. When I would say that, I felt like I didn't embellish that." (Michael is dad to sons Jeffrey, 34, and Marcus and daughter Jasmine, 31, with ex-wife Juanita Vanoy and 9-year-old twins Victoria and Ysabel with Yvette Prieto, whom he married in 2013.)

Jasmine M. Jordan/Instagram

But she got it if Michael—who's also a granddad to Jasmine's son Rakeem with basketball player Rakeem Christmas—needed a minute to process the unexpected new love in Marcus' life.

"I do understand that it's not awkward for us to be together because it's us, but it probably is awkward for my ex and your dad because they have their own relationship or whatever it was," Larsa said. "I wasn't a part of that, you weren't a part of that. So, I feel like for them it probably is weird, it probably is weird for your dad. I can't be mad. I understand."

Larsa has said that she and her ex-husband don't ask about each other's personal lives, telling Us Weekly in June, "I think the only conversations we've ever had after we broke up [were] really about our kids." So, she didn't know what Scottie thought about her and Marcus. (Though, if The Last Dance and Scottie's memoir, Unguarded, were any indicator, he may just be glad she's not dating Michael Jordan.)

As for her kids, since they already knew Marcus as their mom's friend, they took it in stride when he started playing a more important role in her life.

Romain Maurice/Getty Images for Mr. Hospitality

"There's a lot of common ground, which makes it easier for us all to be around each other," Marcus said in June on the podcast, noting his basketball background (he played at University of Central Florida) and fashion business as two of the things he and the Pippen kids have bonded over.

Meanwhile, neither he nor Larsa can get over that they met someone who, as she put it, "fits all the categories."

"When you and I first got together," she marveled, "I was like, 'Oh my god, this is the guy I prayed for,' 'cause I really prayed for a best friend."

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Meanwhile, the Internet thought both of them were lying or otherwise "denying their relationship" when she and Marcus were first photographed together at lunch in September 2022 and they insisted they were friends. (Even Marcus' mom texted him to see what the deal was.)

And they were "literally just friends," Larsa recalled. Marcus added, "Timing is everything, and I think you were at a point in your life where you weren't really looking for a situation like this. I was doing my thing in Orlando, trying to start my business...but I just think the stars aligned, the time was right and we haven't looked back since."

Marcus copped to making the first move toward more-than-friends by inviting her on a group trip to the Bahamas, but it did take awhile for them to really go for it because of busy travel schedules, etc. 

Raymond Hall/GC Images

"A lot of our foundation was built through FaceTimes and texting and stuff," Marcus said, "so I think that made it easy" once they realized they had fallen for each other.

"I like the way it transformed," Larsa agreed of their relationship trajectory. (She did, however, feel the need to keep Marcus under a different name in her phone from the beginning, so anyone who got hold of her mobile would've seen a lot of exchanges with "Mark Jacob.")

They made the leap for good when Marcus said he was coming to Miami for two days and stayed for 12.

Now more than 12 months into the most unexpected of love stories, "we've definitely been doing some ring shopping," Marcus told E! earlier this month at KIIS FM's iHeartRadio Jingle Ball in L.A., "so I'm starting to get an understanding of what it might look like."

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And Larsa, who complimented him on his good taste in gifts, is open to putting the "wife" back in "Housewife."

"I liked being married," she told E! in October. "I like marriage. I feel like it's great. I feel like it's great to be able to build with someone, plan the future with someone. And so, marriage to me is kind of important."

Mindy Small/Getty Images

Besides, Marcus was already telling people over the summer that the planning was underway, even though they weren't officially engaged yet.

By August, they'd already agreed on having a destination wedding, location TBD, and they shared on their podcast that Larsa was the proud recipient of a promise ring. (That ring earned Marcus a few texts from his mom and dad asking if he had anything he wanted to share.)

Mentioning that there'd been inquiries about televising their nuptials, Larsa asked, "Do you think you would have a wedding on a reality show?"

"That's tough," he replied, letting out a big exhale. Larsa added with a laugh, "I don't think your parents would come." 

But maybe ESPN's "The First Wedding Dance" would be able to get the whole Jordan family off the bench.

Keep reading to see Larsa Pippen and Marcus Jordan's romance unfold in photos:

Do You Want to Know a Secret?

Just us, or were sparks flying between these two at E11EVEN while Travis Scott was performing during Miami Art Week on Dec. 4, 2022?

Seeing What Happens

Fittingly, their step-and-repeat debut was at Watch What Happens Live! on Jan. 3, 2023.

Instagram Official

All was revealed-ish weeks later when Larsa posted their first pic as a couple on Jan. 23, 2023, when she paid a visit to Marcus' Orlando boutique, Trophy Room.

Now You Know

The couple were ready for their close-up in March.

Take Your Boyfriend to Work Day

Marcus proved he wasn't camera-shy when he showed up on The Real Housewives of Miami.

Hand in Hand

Hardly their first event, but this May 7 sighting in Miami might be their first actually red carpet.

Picture-Perfect Day

One of the benefits of finding love in Florida: Backdrops like this on a fine April day.

Water Signs

Catching some rays in where the sun doesn't usually shine in August 2023.

They Got Game

Living fooooooore each other.

Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward This Man

That velvet isn't the only thing crushing around here.

Dressed to Thrill

What happens in Vegas starts in the hallway.

Art Appreciation

It's never a bad time to learn about new ways to save money.

First Thanksgiving

The couple coordinated with each other and the turkey.

Spreading Holiday Cheer

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in this Dec. 9 snap.