Great Moments in Sports Wife History: Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes burns down Andre Rison’s mansion

Nowadays, any time a sports star boinks once of his Instagram DMs, or impregnates a road floosy, the sports wife immediately tweets the details with the aim of causing maximum embarrassment, in the hope the sports star will return home to his nine children from six women.

But in the good old days, roughly about 0.5% of sports-wife lunacy used to make it into public view.  The turning point was the Elin Nordgren Tiger Woods tantrum, and its $700 million payout.  Before that, the lunacy was rare, and usually well worth the hilarity that ensued.

This week marked 23 years since TLC singer, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez, burned down Bills’ wide receiver Andre Rison’s house.

This was no MC Hammer insurance scam.

In 1993, TLC had released their hit debut “record” (for the kiddies out there, that’s like a whole heap of streams by one singer on a flat, black hubcap), and Lopez started dating Atlanta Falcons football star Andre Rison. The craziness started straight away.

Six months later, Rison was arrested in a parking lot after he allegedly physically abused Lopes, shooting a handgun in the air in an attempt to shake off any pain in the ass innocent bystanders. You know there was more good stuff.

Then, on the night of June 8, 1994, a GREAT year for sports lunacy, Rison went out clubbing with some buddies. He got home at 5am – never a good time to be reporting in from personal experience – and was greeted by an agitated Lopes, claiming to be upset because he bought himself a bunch of new sneakers, without getting her any.

“I knew she’d been drinking some. But I didn’t know what was upsetting her. I started taking blows to the face. Finally, I grabbed her and asked her what was wrong. But she kept coming at me.”

Rison claimed he slapped Lopes in an effort to try to calm her down, and when that didn’t work (as it never does), and the argument moved inside the house, Rison allegedly picked Lopez up, slammed her onto the bed and sat on her in a repeated effort to control her. When that didn’t calm ol’ Left Eye down – and again, in my experience, sitting on women does not do it – Rison left the home.  (Again, in my experience, leaving does not “cool” the situation down).

Lopes then set fire to a pair of sneakers in the bathtub, then went outside and took a vacuum cleaner pipe to the windshields of two of Rison’s luxury cars.

Before long, the Rison mansion was in flames. Which makes you think it might have been more than the one pair of sneakers in a bathtub, given the state of Rison’s windscreens.  Rison’s brother Reggie said Lopes was standing over the whirlpool outside the house, watching the fire spread.

By the time Rison got home, there wasn’t much in the way of internals left.

The next day, Lopes turned herself into the Atlanta police. She was charged with felony arson, and released on $75,000 bail. Five days later, she went into rehab.

Rison denied ever having abused the singer:

“It hurts me because I’m not like that. We did everything together — shopped, cooked, laughed, cried, went to nightclubs, parks, functions…”

Yes, Andre – but apparently, you didn’t buy her any sneakers.  There’s no accounting for women.

Lopes insisted she was not trying to burn down Rison’s house, but the judge wasn’t buying it, and sentenced her to live at a halfway house (personally, I’d have made her stay in the mansion), and five years probation, plus a $10,000 fine.  The fine seems a bargain for burning down a $2 million house.

Bizarrely, Rison stayed with Lopez after the fire!  At her sentencing, he held her hand and said that he forgave her.  OH, HOW SWEET.  They even claimed they were going to get married, although they still hadn’t in 2002 when Lopes died in a car accident.

Andre was never the sharpest tool in the shed.  His nickname was “Bad Moon” – as in “Bad Moon Risin” if you’re not reading this out loud.  He rivalled MC Hammer for financial acumen, earning $19 million over his NFL career – and this will come as no surprise to you – blowing it all.

“The first time I got my check and I saw there was a big chunk taken out of it, I went straight upstairs (to the team office) and that’s when I found out about taxes and everything.”

Rison let his entourage grow to as many as 40 people.  You bet they were useful and productive.  He spent $1m on jewellery, bought three cars a season, and once lost back-to-back houses. Estimates show night- and strip-club spending beat all of that:

“We were going to new levels. We were making it snow. You start throwing $100 bills instead of fives.”

He was forced to declare bankruptcy because of overdue child support in 2007.  Despite that, he STILL has to pay $2500 a MONTH in child support.

What a planet.