Who is Stella Moris? Julian Assange plans prison wedding to mother of his 2 kids
Her Majesty's Prison Belmarsh, a Category-A men's prison in London, England, is arguably one of the more famous prisons in the United Kingdom. One of its former occupants has been none other than novelist Jeffrey Archer. But more recently, the prison has another high-profile occupant — Julian Assange.
Since his arrest on April 11, 2019, Assange has been incarcerated there, and now, inside the walls of this gaol, the Australian editor, publisher, activist, and the founder of WikiLeaks plans to marry the mother of his two children.
As he awaits possible extradition to the US for releasing confidential military records, Assange’s fiancée has revealed that the two want to get married as soon as possible rather than waiting for the legal proceedings to go on any longer. “The most likely thing is that we'll get married in the prison and then we'll have another kind of wedding celebration with friends and family once he's free,” she said in a recent interview.
Who is Stella Moris?
Assange reportedly started a secret relationship with Stella Moris, 38, while he was confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London for seven years, claiming political asylum to avoid deportation. The South African lawyer reportedly met Assange a decade ago when she joined his legal team.
"We found ways to be private. We had a tent in his room that we put, you know, fairy lights in... you know, like a camping tent," Moris recalled in a September 2020 interview with CBS News. Assange soon fathered two children with Moris — Gabriel and Max, aged four and two-and-a-half. The two have rarely seen their father. But Moris does not regret her decision. She says Assange is "the man I wanted to start a family with," adding, "I was 33 and we decided, you know, let's live our lives.”
Talking about her children, Moris told CBS News, "I try to give them as normal a feeling of a family as I can. And they speak to him every day." She also said, "I tell them that Julian is a hero. And I want them to just see our love and their father's affection to the extent that we can."
Recently, speaking with Reuters, Moris said that US President Joe Biden must let Julian Assange go free if he wants the United States to become a beacon for a free press once again and put the legacy of Donald Trump behind it. "If Biden really wants to break with the Trump legacy, then he has to drop the case," Moris said. "They can't maintain this prosecution against Julian while saying that they defend global press freedom." Moris has also likened Assange’s treatment to the way some journalists are treated in China and Saudi Arabia. She told Reuters, "I think there's no doubt that Julian wouldn't survive an extradition.” She was, however, hopeful that the case would be viewed differently under the Biden administration.
Speaking about Assange’s mental health, she said that recently she was allowed to take their two sons to visit, allowing him to touch his children for the first time in over a year. "He was happy to see us, but he's struggling," she said. "He's very low but he's fighting. He has the hope that this will end soon."
Now, speaking with Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Moris said, "We're looking into getting married in the prison because we've been engaged since 2016. And if we get married in the prison, then I don't think that will be the only celebration.” She said, however, no date had been set yet but the two were working through the necessary state and prison bureaucracy.
"It's quite complicated," she said, noting that the pandemic had made it even more so. "We have spoken to the Belmarsh chaplain services about it and they said they haven't seen a wedding in Belmarsh for as long as they've been there, which is 12 years. So it's not a straightforward thing to do."
She added that the couple needed certificates from their respective countries to prove they had not been previously married, for example. "So it's quite a long bureaucratic process, but we have started it."