Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, and his much-younger girlfriend Ricki Noel Lander may have secretly welcomed a child in 2017. According to the New York Post, speculation has emerged that Kraft, 76, allegedly might be a father for the fifth time. The highly respected NFL owner lost his wife Myra to cancer in 2011 after nearly 50 years of marriage.
Kraft and Lander, 38, have been an item for about five years, the Page Six gossip section of the Post noted.
“There is speculation that Patriots owner Bob Kraft has become a father again at age 76 after his much younger girlfriend Ricki Noel Lander secretly had a baby…There were rumors they had broken up, but we’re told dancer, model and actress Lander was in fact pregnant and wanted to stay out of the public eye. She gave birth to the child last year, multiple sources exclusively confirmed to Page Six…Sources say that Kraft is ‘taking full care of Ricki and the baby,’ and he has bought her a Los Angeles mansion and made some sizable financial investments on her behalf. But Kraft will not publicly discuss if he is the baby’s biological father, even with close friends.”
[See update below]
A New England Patriots representative would not comment on the Post story, but it was apparently common knowledge that Lander was very desirous of having a baby, the news outlet claimed. Kraft and Lander attended the 2018 Super Bowl as well as the Grammys and the NBA All-Star Game as a couple; they are expected to also show up at the Oscars.
Back in 2012, Robert Kraft appeared in an audition video that went viral running lines with Ricki Lander who was seeking a role in an Owen Wilson/Vince Vaughn movie at the time.
“Bob is fully supporting the child. There is a lot of tiptoeing around the subject at the Patriots offices. Everyone is afraid to openly talk about it,” an insider supposedly told the Post.
There’s a lot going on otherwise at the Patriots offices, with rumors of possible friction between and among Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and superstar quarterback Tom Brady after the team’s upset Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 41-33. The reason behind the benching of star cornerback Malcom Butler during the big game is still a mystery, and there are also reports that a disgruntled Rob Gronkowski might retire from the NFL to become a professional wrestler in the WWE. In addition to the future plans of the star tight end, there is also talk of a lack of unity in the traditionally buttoned-up Patriots locker room. Many pro football observers are also still scratching their heads over Belichick’s abrupt trade last season of Brady heir apparent Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers.
Separately, Donald Trump called him once a week for a year after his beloved wife died to try to lift his spirits, New EnglandPatriots owner Robert Kraft told the New York Daily News in January 2017.
Update: On the subject of paternity, a Kraft spokesperson confirmed that Ricki Lander became a mom last fall, adding that “While Robert Kraft is not the biological father, he is thrilled with Ricki’s blessing of having a healthy child. With respect to her family’s privacy, we will not be commenting any further,” TMZ Sports reported.