He was a colonel, yes, but an engineer, involved in the aviation industry. It was how they met.’ They enjoyed a comfortable, middle-class existence.
‘I had a good education and my parents were quite cultured.
On December 15, though, she took advantage of changes in the law to marry Julia, who has been her partner for the past six-and-a-half years. Now Julia is amused to find herself regarded as the David Furnish of the lesbian world, and something of a poster-girl for same-sex marriage.
Added to this ‘you couldn’t make it up’ story is the fact Julia says she didn’t know what being gay meant until she was an adult.‘I grew up in Russia and I didn’t know it existed,’ she says. I must have been 17 or 18 — I’d already moved to London — before I knew that same-sex relationships happened.’ Yet here she is, discussing the wedding for the first time, and sounding just like any bride — and a touchy teary, too. ‘I had to look at the ceiling to stop myself crying. She has a reputation of being very tough — and she is, on court. When we were exchanging the vows, the whole thing hit me — how incredible it was, how special.’Her account is all a bit Hello!
magazine to be honest, heavy on the detail of how they prepared for the big day (Martina had a relaxing bath with a face pack Julia had prepared for her), but a bit woolly on the big questions, like how a seemingly heterosexual beauty queen finds herself in the highest profile lesbian relationship of all.‘I was modelling, living in Paris and meeting all these amazing people — famous people, royals, and then we were introduced.
She has been in four celebrity relationships averaging less than one year each.
The new Mrs Martina Navratilova is discussing the copious baggage her famous spouse brought into their marriage.
Martina Navratilova and her longtime partner Julia Lemigova have tied the knot!
The 58-year-old tennis legend and her love exchanged vows in New York City on Monday (December 15).
But one title Martina, 58, never expected to claim was that of ‘wife’.
She has always been forthright on the subject of both her own sexuality (she came out as bisexual 33 years ago, at a time when it was pretty unthinkable to do so) and on gay rights in general.
I’m not a tennis fan but, of course, I knew who she was and we just got chatting.
If she was gay herself at the time, there was no outward sign of it (although curiously, she refuses to tell me if she’d had gay relationships before she met Martina, and when I press the issue her PR says ‘this is not relevant’). She’d play tennis with them, do their homework with them and cook.
I remember looking at it all thinking “Oh my God.” It brought home how much she had achieved.’ That reality was always going to be jaw-dropping, given that Martina is one of the most successful tennis players in history.