Former Houston Texans linebacker Mario Williams is definitely heartbroken, but it appears that he is taking his frustrations out in legal proceedings. His former fiancee, Erin Marzouki, called off their engagement in January, but reportedly has not given back the 10-carat, $785,000 ring Williams gave her in February 2011. He recently initiated a lawsuit in Harris County Court seeking monetary damages.
Williams signed a six-year, $100 million free-agent contract with the Buffalo Bills after the 2011 season, with $55 million in guaranteed money. While some may wonder why a multi-millionaire is so upset over a ring, Texas law may provide some insight.
Essentially, gifts made in anticipation of marriage may be recovered if the marriage, for some reason, does not happen. Under that reasoning, the ring is akin to a promise to marry, and if that promise is broken, the ring can be returned.
Indeed, the Williams-Marzouki situation is an unusual circumstance (especially given how expensive the ring was) but it begs the question of whether she should have given it back voluntarily. It's a question of scrouples that many brides-to-be deal with if they are heartbroken during the engagement. Prospective grooms also have an issue with asking for rings back when they are still in love with the bride and want to be married.
Situations like these may merit a conversation with an experienced family law attorney. After all, not all gifts may fit under the definition of "made in anticipation of marriage." A clear, unbiased assessment may help in deciding whether legal action is necessary.
Source: ABC News.com, Mario Williams signs $100M football contract, but sues over $785K engagement ring, May 6, 2013