Everyone knows the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue has nothing to do with sports, and most of us are fine with that. I mean, you could try to make a connection by pointing out that the women are wearing swimming suits, and swimming is a sport, so really this is a magazine devoted to sports uniforms. But why bother? Do we really need a reason to look at stunning photographs of beautiful women in exotic locations?
Well, actually, my editor says yes we do, because this is a sports site. So here’s my reason for doing a list that features stunning photographs of beautiful women in exotic locations: lots of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models have dated athletes over the years, and athletes have something to do with sports, so ergo, concordantly, these gorgeous women also must have something to do with sports.
That’s pretty sound logic, right?
Okay fine, it’s not. Here’s a list of SI Swimsuit models who have dated athletes anyway. Enjoy!
You would think 2001 SI Swimsuit covergirl Elsa Benitez would have hooked up with a superstar athlete, but no. Elsa married retired NBA journeyman around Rony Seikaly around 2000 of so. Then they had a kid and got divorced in 2005.
Quite a romantic story, no?
17. Elsa Benitez
After being married to the much older Rod Stewart from 1990 to 2006, Rachel Hunter decided it was time she was the older one in the relationship. She started dating the Los Angeles Kings' Jarret Stoll, 13 years her junior, and eventually the two got engaged in 2009. However, they broke things off before actually tying the knot.
16. Rachel Hunter
Now here's a fairytale romance for you. Noémie shacked up with retired French soccer player Claude Makélélé, had a kid, and then eventually tried to commit suicide at his house when he officially broke things off with her. I mean, isn't that pretty much just how The Notebook goes?
(All kidding aside, the good news is that Lenoir is fine now.)
15. Noémie Lenoir
The best policy when it comes to Jeter and his girlfriends is to assume he's already broken up with whoever you think he is dating, and Hannah Davis is a perfect example of why. When I started writing this list I thought these two were still dating. but then a quick Google search revealed they just broke up earlier this month.
I'm sure Hannah is devastated that she won't be the one to finally become Mrs. Jeter, but she's still a member of a very elite sorority of insanely hot women. And who knows? Maybe Jeter gave her a bunch of signed memorabilia as a parting gift.
14. Hannah Davis
Hilary Rhoda is the fiancée of former NHL pest-turned fashion expert Sean Avery. Apparently she's not bothered by the prospect of him calling her his "sloppy seconds" when they eventually get divorced.
13. Hilary Rhoda
Naomi apparently "dated" Mike Tyson for a spell in the 90s. They must have been the most insane couple of all-time.
12. Naomi Campbell
What kind of woman does it take to land a notorious ladies man like Andy Roddick? It takes a woman like Brooklyn Decker.
11. Brooklyn Decker
The first ever African American model to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue dated Chris Webber...until he called a relationship timeout when he didn't have any left and got a technical.
10. Tyra Banks
Carol Alt, one of the iconic pinup girls of the 80s, has a serious thing for hockey players. She married former New York Ranger Ron Greschner in 1983, but the two got a divorce in 1996. Then she started dating former Islander Alexei Yashin, and apparently they've been together ever since.
9. Carol Alt
The lovely Raica Oliveira dated Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo for a while. Hopefully it wasn't while he had that embarrassing forehead mustache thing going.
8. Raoca Oliveira
If you felt bad for Matt Harvey when he blew out his elbow, you're really going to be bummed when you hear that he recently broke up with Russian supermodel Ann Vyalitsnya. Poor guy.
7. Anne V
Marisa Miller was actually born Marisa Beretta. However, she took "Miller" after marrying surfing promoter Jim Miller in 2000, and despite getting divorced in 2002 she just decided to keep it.
Personally I would have gone back to Beretta, because being named after a gun is kind of badass.
6. Marisa Miller
Sadly, we all know Russian beauty is dating Cristiano Ronaldo—even though she's way to good for him, and he's probably cheated on her a hundred times.
5. Irina Shayk
Burney Lamar may not be the best driver in NASCAR. In fact, he's definitely not the best, or even in the top 50. However, he is married to 1990s supermodel Niki Taylor, which makes him a winner in my book.
4. Niki Taylor
This Czech beauty and 2004 SI Swimsuit covergirl married Czech hockey star Petr Nedved in 2004. However, they divorced in 2006, because apparently simply being from the same country isn't really a strong enough foundation for a healthy marriage.
3. Veronika Varekova
Bar Refaeli is mostly famous for being incredibly gorgeous and for being the ex-girlfriend of Leonardi DiCaprio—a.k.a. Hollywood Jeter. However, for a time Bar also dated pro surfer Kelly Slater, which qualifies her for this list.
2. Bar Refaeli
To be honest with you, I'm sure we'd probably find excuses to write about Kate Upton no matter what, because that's how sexy this woman is. However, I'm really glad she's now a perennial star of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and the ex-girlfriend of Justin Verlander. It just makes things that much easier.