The American former World No.1 tennis player, Billie Jean King, divorced her husband in 1987 and, after 3 decades, got married to her former doubles partner, Ilana Kloss.
Billie Jean King, born on November 22, 1943, is a former American tennis player from Long Beach, California. Billie achieved a remarkable record with 39 major titles, including 12 in singles, 16 in women’s doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles.
Encouraged by her parents, she transitioned from baseball and softball to tennis at the age of 11.
During the early years of her career, King worked with coaches such as Frank Brennan and Alice Marble, a former player who had won 18 Grand Slam titles.
She made her Grand Slam debut at the 1959 U.S. Championships at the age of 15.
Driven by her ambition, King aspired to become the best tennis player in the world. She attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School and later enrolled at Los Angeles State College.
But her dedication to tennis led her to leave college in 1964. Billie Jean King completed a “career Grand Slam” in 1972, winning the singles titles at all four Grand Slam events.
She retired from the sport in 1984, following her change in her sexuality and in her marital status.
Billie Jean King Husband And Wife
In her lifetime, Billie has had two marriages, first with ex-husband Larry King and second with her current wife Ilana Koss.
During her time at college, she met Larry King in a library at California State University in 1963. The former couple immediately planned to marry each other and became engaged while still in school on September 17, 1965.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, Larry is an American attorney and one of the founders of World Team Tennis as well as an American sports promoter.
They never had children together, but Billie once had an abortion. The abortion was made public through a Ms. magazine article revealed by Larry without consulting with Billie.
On May 1, 1981, Billie Jean King publicly came out as the first prominent professional athlete to reveal her sexuality, driven by circumstances.
Billie and Larry decided to divorce each other after Billie fell in love with her doubles partner, Ilana Kloss, in 1987.
Who Is Ilana Sheryl Kloss?
Ilana Sheryl Kloss, born on March 22, 1956, is a former professional tennis player from South Africa. She was the World’s no. 1 ranked doubles player in 1976.
From 1973 to 1977, Kloss actively represented the South African team in the Federation Cup, achieving a win-loss record of 12-5.
Kloss was inducted into the US National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2006 and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
Ilana and Billie got married in 2018 after 3 decades of being in a relationship with each other.
Billie Jean King Family
Billie Jean Moffitt was born into a conservative Methodist family. Her father, Bill Moffitt, was a firefighter, and her mother, Betty Moffitt, was a housewife.
She also has a younger brother, Randy Moffitt, who is a professional baseball player.
Her father was a former Long Beach City College Basketball player who also served in the Navy in World War II. He expired due to illness at the age of 88.
Similarly, King’s mother, Betty Moffitt, died at the age of 91 at her home with her children by her side.
Now, at the age of 79, in her retirement life, Billie is overseeing organizations that she founded during her active times.