MIAMI – A source close to NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson (formerly Chad Ochocinco) says his family is “heartbroken” over his weekend arrest for domestic violence against wife of less than two months, reality star Evelyn Lozada, and about his separation from the Miami Dolphins.
The family was “so happy” when Johnson, who changed his last name to Ochocinco as a play on his jersey number, 85, when he signed with the Dolphins earlier this year after being released from the New England Patriots, a family friend told theGrio. Now, “he’s out of work.” The Dolphins terminated Johnson’s $975,000 a year contract following his arrest Saturday on misdemeanor battery charges.
“We all had high hopes. He was with the team of his choice, he was finally back home,” the friend said. Johnson grew up in Miami Beach, and was a star football player on the Miami Beach Senior High School football team. “He’s always wanted to be Miami Dolphin — it’s the highlight of his career. He’s 34 years old.”
“It’s heartbreaking for the entire family,” the family friend said, adding that Johnson’s grandmother, who recently was released from the hospital following a fall, is “heartbroken” over the arrest and Johnson being fired by the Dolphins.
The family friend said the family was initially skeptical of Johnson’s relationship with Lozada, who stars in the reality show “Basketball Wives,” and who was set to star in a new reality series with her husband, whom she married on July 4th, but that they fully accepted her into the family.
The family friend said Johnson seemed to be attracted to Lozada because she “challenged him,” adding, “Evelyn is drop dead gorgeous. TV does her no justice.”