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How did Julia Lemigova and Martina Navratilova meet? Inside 'RHOM' star's romance

'RHOM' star Julia and tennis legend Martina first met in 2000 at a Parisian dinner party
Martina Navratilova with her wife and 'RHOM' star Julia Lemigova (Julia Lemigova/ Instagram)
Martina Navratilova with her wife and 'RHOM' star Julia Lemigova (Julia Lemigova/ Instagram)

Ever since the new cast of 'Real Housewives of Miami' Season 4 has been announced, fans can't seem to get enough of them. Touted as the first LGBTQIA+ housewife to be a part of the 'Real Housewives' franchise, Julia Lemigova is already making history. Partaking in this historic moment is none other than Julia's wife and tennis pro Martina Navratilova.

Julia will be making her big debut alongside Guerdy Abraira, Dr Nicole Martin, and returning cast members Alexia Echevarria, Lisa Hochstein, and Larsa Pippen. While you eagerly wait to catch Julia and Martina's married life on the Peacock show, if you are wondering how one of the greatest tennis players of all time and the former Miss USSR got together, then keep reading. 


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Martina Navratilova and Julia Lemigova's relationship

In the 1980s Martina shocked the whole world when she came out as bisexual. The tennis legend has always been very vocal about her sexuality and support of gay rights. Although the tennis superstar enjoyed tremendous success on the court, the same didn't extend to her love life until she met Russian beauty queen Julia Lemigova. Martina had to fight two of her former lovers in court when they began claiming her fortune. But after battling cancer, the tennis legend was determined to live her life to the fullest and soon found love in Julia.

Julia, who has crowned Miss USSR in 1990, just before the collapse of the Soviet Union, also had her own fair share of baggage when it came to her personal and love life. From the tragic loss of her infant son under mysterious circumstances to the murder of her lover/ baby daddy Edouard Stern by a prostitute during a bondage session, Julia had a lot on her plate. However, unlike Martina Julia wasn't aware of her sexuality until much later in her life. In an interview with the DailyMail, she explained, "I grew up in Russia and I didn’t know it existed. No one talked about it. I must have been 17 or 18 — I’d already moved to London — before I knew that same-sex relationships happened.’ 

Julia and Martina first met in 2000 at a Parisian dinner party. She recounted, "I was modeling, living in Paris and meeting all these amazing people — famous people, royals, and then we were introduced. I’m not a tennis fan but, of course, I knew who she was and we just got chatting. I suppose our similar Eastern European backgrounds provided the connection at first. There was a lot in common. I remember her being very funny, and us just laughing a lot."

The duo met once again eight years later in Paris. This time around, Julia had two daughters from two previous relationships. "I had a tray of food and I turned round and there was Martina. We recognized each other and she came and joined us. I introduced my children, and we chatted. Afterward, I thought: “I want to see this person again.”’ The couple started off as friends, and Martina reportedly spent a lot of time bonding with Julia's daughters. 


The couple soon fell in love and were together for over six and a half years before they walked down the aisle in December 2014 in New York after proposing during the US Open. The couple currently resides in Miami with their two daughters. According to Julia's bio on Bravo, for the past few years, Julia has been running a little farm and been enjoying shuttling life between her farm and the Miami nightlife. 

'Real Housewives of Miami' Season 4 premieres on December 16 on Peacock.