For years, Jason Taylor was the clean-cut face of the Miami Dolphins, a family-friendly celeb with the charisma to earn jobs as a TV commentator and a Dancing With the Stars appearance plus a Hollywood romance with his wife Katina, the sister of his star teammate Zach Thomas. Tomorrow, Taylor will be inducted into the Football Hall of Fame.
Behind the scenes in the leadup to this crowning moment of his football career, though, Taylor's marriage to Katina quietly fell apart. And now his ex-wife is suing him in Broward Family Court, alleging he still owes her millions from their divorce settlement.
Neither his spokesman nor her attorney immediately responded to messages from New Times about the lawsuit, which was first reported by the Miami Herald's Jose Lambiet.
Taylor joined the Dolphins in 1997 as an unheralded pick out of Akron but quickly established himself as an elite linebacker, becoming a perennial Pro Bowler after his 2000 season. As the Herald noted in 2002, Taylor became "a poster player for the NFL's clean-cut, family-oriented side" and earned team awards for his leadership.
In 2000, he married Katina; the marriage had ups and downs. In 2002, he had to testify at a criminal trial for his adoptive father, who got into a tussle over a gun with Jason after the two argued about the marriage, which his father didn't approve of to the point he had forbidden the rest of their family from attending the wedding. (The dad was cleared of aggravated assault after a three-day trial and accused Jason of lying about the fight, telling the court: "He needs to repent.")
In 2006, Katina and Jason filed for divorce in Broward County, forcing Zach Thomas to reassure reporters it wouldn't lead to any bad blood between the teammates: "We're professionals, guys," he told the Herald.
The marriage survived, though, and Katina spent years as vice president of her husband's charitable group, the Jason Taylor Foundation.
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In January 2015, the couple quietly filed for divorce in Monroe County, and a judge accepted their settlement the next month. Fast-forward to this past June, when Katina filed a new lawsuit in Broward County. In the complaint, which Lambiet obtained, Taylor's ex-wife says they had agreed to a lump-sum alimony payment of $8.67 million. But Katina says he still owes $3.4 million and has stopped responding to her attorney.
She filed a motion for default July 19; Taylor has yet to respond in court.
This Saturday, he'll join LaDainian Tomlinson, Morten Andersen, and the other new inductees in Canton.