Ricki Lander is getting some viral attention as pictures of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft are spreading across the internet in the wake of his charges for allegedly soliciting a prostitute.
Kraft was charged on Friday with solicitation of a prostitute in Jupiter, Florida. These charges come as part of a massive sting pertaining to an alleged human trafficking operation at a series of massage parlors there. As ESPN reported, the Patriots owner had not yet been arrested on the misdemeanor charge, and has maintained his innocence.
The charges have shined attention on Kraft and his girlfriend, 39-year-old Ricki Lander. The two have been together for more than six years, though it was not clear how serious the relationship might be.
Ricki Lander did have some fame before her relationship with Robert Kraft, appearing in television shows such as Ugly Betty, True Blood, and Blue Bloods.
As pictures of Lander gained viral attention, many wondered what could have brought the couple together. Lander and Kraft had already drawn considerable attention for their 40-year age difference, with The Daily Mail noting that the two started dating sometime around 2012 — following the death of Kraft’s wife, Myra. The report noted that Robert Kraft was despondent over the death of his wife and threw himself into his work, often working seven days a week. Sources said that the relationship with Ricki Lander helped Kraft to get over his loss.
Ricki Noel Lander isn't his GF any more? pic.twitter.com/YmAybgW95S
— MorinMoss (@MorinMoss) February 22, 2019
A look inside the life of 76-year-old Robert Kraft and his much younger girlfriend, Ricki Noel Lander https://t.co/yViHmEzyJc
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) February 22, 2019
The relationship was a non-traditional one, with Lander welcoming a child during the relationship — though not by her boyfriend. Lander shared a picture of her daughter, Monarch, on Instagram, and a spokesperson for Robert Kraft later announced the news to People magazine.
“Last fall, Ricki Noel Lander became the proud mother of a beautiful, healthy baby. While Robert Kraft is not the biological father, he is thrilled with Ricki’s blessing of having a healthy child,” the statement read. “With respect to her family’s privacy, we will not be commenting any further.”
Robert Kraft is unlikely to face jail time for the charges, but could still face separate discipline from the NFL. The league’s personal conduct policy gives wide leeway to Commissioner Robert Goodell to dole out punishment, and both players and owners who have gotten into trouble with the law have found themselves facing suspensions and fines.
While Robert Kraft has issued a statement denying any wrongdoing after his arrest, Ricki Lander has not made any kind of statement.