Julia Lemigova became the first openly gay Real Housewife this year on the 4th season of The Real Housewives’ of Miami. Not only that but she is in a relationship with Tennis legend Martina Navratilova and Martina was a real treat to watch on this season–and I do mean treat. I loved Martina’s nonchalant attitude about everything BUT her treats!
Anyhow the former Miss USSR has long been tight lipped about her sexuality.
“We never talked about gay relationships in Russia,” Lemigova, 49, told The Post. “It’s only when I left Moscow and moved to Paris that I discovered that there were all types of relationships and loves.”
But even then she claims it was still difficult to open up
“Even though I had relationships with other women, it was in a private closed circle. I couldn’t imagine holding another woman’s hand on the street. I was very much in the closet all those years.”
So how did Lemigova, 49 meet her now wife, Navratilova, 65?
The two ladies actually met very briefly in Paris in 2000 at a nightclub and then saw each other again, eight years later, at the French Open.
“We bumped into each other in the players’ restaurant,” Julia remembers. “I literally bumped into her with a tray of food. She remembered me. And I asked her to have breakfast with me the next day. Then we had another breakfast the next day and then one more breakfast. And then she moved in.”
But she still kept the relationship under wraps.
“I must have hurt Martina so much because she’s a pioneer of LGBTQ liberation and being herself. When she tried to hold my hand, I would say, ‘Darling, we cannot do this. We’re in Paris. What if somebody sees us, the neighbors?’”
“I don’t even know how she stayed with me for so long. It’s only when I came to Miami that I was open. This town helped me come out of the closet. And then I was thinking, ‘Oh my god, what a fool I was. How could I wait for so long?’”
And in typical Martina style, Navratilova executed a very bold and dramatic public proposal to Lemigova at the US Open in 2014.
The couple married later that year, in front of a slew of sexy 80’s celebrities: Brooke Shields, Chris Evert, Lynda Carter, and models Karolina Kurkova and Rachel Hunter.
Julia and Martina are parents to daughters, Emma and Victoria.