Julia Lemigova: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Julia Lemigova, Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova and Julia Lemigova watch the ladies final at Wimbledon in July 2014. (Getty)

There was plenty of action on the court Saturday at the U.S. Open, but one of the biggest stories of the day had noting to do with the result of a match.

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova was the biggest winner of anyone when the Tennis Channel analyst proposed to longtime girlfriend Julia Lemigova.

Lemigova accepted, much to the delight of Navratilova and the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which watched the proposal on the stadium’s jumbotron.

Here’s what you need to know about Martina’s bride-to-be:

1. She’s a Former Miss Universe Contestant & Was the Last Ever ‘Miss USSR’

Lemigova, 42, was a runner-up in the 1991 Miss Universe pageant, when she represented the Soviet Union as Miss USSR.

She was the last person to hold the title of Miss USSR before the Soviet Union collapsed later that year.

2. Her Son Died When He Was 5 Months Old & She Suspected Her Nanny Killed Him

Julia Lemigova, Martina Navratilova


According to a 2009 Daily Mail article, Lemigova gave birth in 1999 to a son fathered by French banker Edouard Stern, who had an affair with Lemigova. But the baby died just five months later of internal injuries, and, according to the Daily Mail, Lemigova suspected her nanny was responsible for the boy’s death.

The Daily Mail reported:

But the child’s short life ended in tragedy in March 2000 after he died of internal injuries, suggesting he could have been shaken, at the age of five months.

The incident happened just days after Lemigova had hired a new nanny, a Bulgarian who vanished soon after his death.

3. Her Former Lover Was Murdered While Wearing a Head-to-Toe Latex Catsuit

Edouard Stern

The building in Switzerland in which Edouard Stern was murdered in 2005. (Getty)

Stern, the father of Lemigova’s child, was killed inside his Geneve apartment in 2005 in what authorities said was a sadomasochistic bondage session.

Cécile Brossard, another long-time lover of Stern’s, was convicted of killing Stern and sentenced to eight years in prison in 2009.

Blomberg News described the slaying at the time of Brossard’s sentencing:

Brossard, 40, shot Stern four times after helping him into a latex, flesh-colored bodysuit and tying him to a chair. Stern, 50, was once married to the daughter of Lazard LLC Chairman Michel David-Weill and at one time was in line to become head of the investment bank.

Brossard said in testimony this week she’d gone to Stern’s Geneva apartment on Feb. 28, 2005, to confront him after learning Stern had frozen a bank account where he had deposited $1 million for her. Brossard said she snapped after Stern said that was “a lot of money for a whore” and killed him in a crime of passion.

4. Her Relationship With Navratilova Became Public in 2009

Martina Navratilova


The Daily Mail published a story about the couple’s relationship in 2009, when the two were spotted vacationing together in St. Tropez.

At the time, the Mail reported that there was speculation that the two were engaged, though that proved to be unfounded.

The two women were spotted dressed casually in shorts and T-shirts shopping in St Tropez, before enjoying a boat trip.

French reports claim Navratilova, who is currently amidst a legal battle with her ex-girlfriend Toni Layton, is engaged to Lemigova after a low-key relationship.

Prompting further speculation about an engagement, both women were wearing rings on their left hands.

5. Navratilova’s Proposal Was Broadcast on the Jumotron at Arthur Ashe Stadium

Here’s how People magazine described the proposal:

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova, 57, got engaged to girlfriend Julia Lemigova, 42, in a moment that was telecast on the Jumbotron during the day’s play at New York’s Arthur Ashe stadium.

Navratilova popped the question during a break while she was providing color commentary for the men’s matches.

The tennis legend was being interviewed by Ken Solomon in the Tennis Channel suite when she turned to Lemigova and said she would be asking the questions this time. Navratilova got down on one knee and offered her girlfriend a diamond-studded ring.

Navratilova tweeted later on to thank fans for their well wishes.

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