Bob Kraft, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots, has made all kinds of headlines due to his previous relationship with Ricki Noel Lander, who, at 36, is 39 years younger than him and 16 years younger than his eldest son.
Rumors swirled in October 2015 that the couple ended their relationship because he didn’t want to propose. The the Boston Globe reported in July of 2016 that the couple “are still going strong,” but then noted in January of 2017 that they hadn’t been seen together for a while.
Whether or not they’re still dating, here’s what you need to know about Lander:
1. She Made a Bizarre Audition Tape With Kraft
The May-December couple put out a cringe-making recording of Kraft trying to help his partner film an audition tape for a part in The Internship, a movie starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn.
The role of “Mary Elena” required Lander to be in a bikini but Kraft’s awkward appearance to help her run lines left them both red-faced and scrambling to take down the video. There was some dancing, a fake punch and Kraft blurting out expletives. All very embarrassing.
2. She Left Home When She was 15
When she was 15, Lander left her home in Salt Lake City, Utah, to move to California to train with the Los Angeles Classical Ballet. She later toured Japan as a dancer.
She graduated from Florida International University with a dance major degree. She also spent eight years as a top Ford Model, appearing in campaigns for Levi’s, Macy’s, Target, and Benefit, among others.
3. She & Kraft Began Dating After He Lost His Beloved Wife
Kraft reportedly went into a deep depression after his wife, Myra, a renown philanthropist, died from cancer in 2011. The year of her death, Kraft’s Patriots players all wore a patch on their jerseys bearing her initials, ‘MHK.’
The Patriots owner wasn’t sleeping or taking care of himself, his family told the Boston Globe.
“We made it very clear that we all prefer he choose the path of figuring out how to regroup, and part of that was finding companionship,” said his son, Jonathan, 50. “That when the time was right, that would be an important part of the process.”
A year after Myra died, Kraft started seeing Lander, and their relationship quickly blossomed.
4. She Appeared in ‘Iron Man’ With Robert Downey Jr.
Lander biggest part in a movie came in 2008’s Iron Man, where she shared the screen with Robert Downey, Jr., but she has held plenty of other roles, as well. Some of those roles include True Blood, Ugly Betty, Prison Break, Blue Bloods, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and most recently Ant-Man with Paul Rudd.
5. She & Kraft Reportedly Took a Break in October 2015
After nearly four years of dating, Lander and Kraft were rumored to have separated in October 2015 when he reportedly shot down the idea of marriage.
Those rumors turned out to be jumping the gun a little bit, though it was reported in January of 2017 that they hadn’t been seen together in a while, leaving a bit of mystery around their relationship.