Michael Del Zotto recounts being chased by paparazzi after Canucks practice over Meghan Markle mix-up

Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
6 months ago
You’d be forgiven if you completely forgot Michael Del Zotto played for the Vancouver Canucks, but the now-retired defenceman shared a funny anecdote about a bizarre moment in time during his tenure with the team in a recent appearance on Spittin’ Chiclets.
Del Zotto’s eclectic dating history has made headlines in the past — just ask Lisa Ann — but this story concerns someone who he was never actually involved with, although that didn’t stop the British paparazzi from sniffing around once the lady in question became the Duchess of Sussex.
Long before she married Prince Harry, Meghan Markle was a familiar face to TV audiences as a main character on the legal drama Suits, which filmed in Canada and ran from 2011 to 2019. Markle co-starred with Rick Hoffman, a friend of Del Zotto’s, for the show’s first seven seasons.
As Del Zotto told it, he met Markle through Hoffman at a bar in Toronto and had a photo taken with the two Suits actors while having a drink before dinner.
Years later, after Markle became the mononymous Meghan within (and, later, outside) the British royal family, Del Zotto — and his mother — started receiving calls out of the blue from tabloid journalists who had seen the seemingly innocuous photo.
“Everyone is diving into her past, dating history, who she knows,” Del Zotto said. “The British press is getting access to my mom’s cell phone asking ‘Hey, did your son and Meghan Markle have relations?’ My mom is like ‘What the f— is going on?’”
It didn’t stop there. Del Zotto recounted an additional incident involving a member of the paparazzi approaching him after a Canucks practice at UBC.
“I’m walking out. Sure enough, this guy sprints over at me,” Del Zotto said. “‘Did you have relations with Meghan Markle?’ I’m like ‘F— is this?’ Sure enough, four cars in the background with cameras.
“I sprint to my car,” Del Zotto continued. “A bunch of the boys come out after, ‘What is going on?’ I’m like, ‘Apparently I dated her.'”
Del Zotto spent parts of two seasons with the Canucks, skating in all 82 games with the team in 2017–18 before being traded to the Anaheim Ducks midway through 2018–19. In 105 games with the team, he racked up seven goals and 28 points.
And although nothing overtly sinister took place as a result of his chance encounter with the future ex-royal (who, coincidentally, turned up to a Canucks game alongside Harry earlier this season), Del Zotto said that his brush-up with the paparazzi taught him a valuable lesson.
“That was a rude awakening for me,” he said. “You’ve got to be careful who you’re friends with and what pictures you post out there because nothing ever happened but the paparazzi somehow found me and my mom.”
Del Zotto retired from professional hockey in September after spending the entire 2022–23 season in the AHL. In 736 career NHL games with the New York Rangers, Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, Canucks, Ducks, St. Louis Blues, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Ottawa Senators, Del Zotto collected 63 goals and 262 points.

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