Martina Navratilova is engaged to her longtime girlfriend Julia Lemigova, popping the question in front of the U.S. Open crowd via the Jumbotron at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, New York.
Taking a break from her job as color commentator for the Tennis Channel, Martina got down on one knee and presented her girlfriend with an engagement ring, according to New York Daily News. As her Tennis Channel boss, Ken Solomon, was interviewing her, Martina turned toward her girlfriend and said that she [Martina] would like to ask a question, according to People.
Julia said “yes,” and the champagne flowed.
“I have been waiting for the right time to ask Julia to marry me. I thought this was the right place and the right time to pop the question and thankfully I got a yes.”
The 57-year-old Navratilova and 42-year-old Lemigova have been a couple since 2006, according to Gossip Cop. Lemigova is a former Miss USSR and model, and is now a businesswoman. The couple have two daughters from Lemigova’s previous relationships.
Martina sent out the following tweet announcing the next chapter in her family.
Thanks everyone for your good wishes- I am very happy, so is Julia and our whole family:)
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) September 6, 2014
After emigrating from what was, at the time, communist Czechoslovakia, Martina Navratilova rose to prominence as a tennis player in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. In her heyday she was one of the most dominant tennis players, male or female, to play the game, and to this day remains one of the most dominant female athletes of all time, according to Biography. Her tennis records include 18 Grand Slam singles titles, nine of which came from Wimbledon.
Since retiring from tennis, Martina has been in the public eye, writing several books, including her 1985 autobiography Martina.
“I never thought there was anything strange about being gay.”
In 2010, Martina revealed publicly that she had breast cancer, which claims she beat after months of treatment. In 2012, Martina appeared in the 14th season of Dancing With The Stars, according to this Inquisitr article. Unfortunately for Martina, her tennis skills didn’t translate to the dance floor, and she was the first celebrity eliminated.
This will be the first marriage for Martina Navratilova, who came out publicly as gay in 1981. Since coming out, she has been romantically involved with several women, most of whom were also athletes.
As of this post, there is not word on when or where the newly engaged Martina Navratilova and Julia Lemigova plan to get married.
[Image courtesy of: Prominent Figures In History]