Boris Becker’s estranged wife Lilly has broken her silence on the tennis legend’s jailing and the heartbreaking conversation she was forced to have with their 12-year-old son.
The 54-year-old tennis great was jailed for two-and-a-half years in London last week on bankruptcy offences after hiding $4.4 million worth of assets and loans to avoid paying his debts.
Becker, who claimed six grand slam titles throughout his incredible career, earned $25 million in prizemoney and many times more in sponsorship during a career that ended in 1999.
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However, much of the German star’s fortune disappeared as a result of tax problems, a lavish lifestyle, some dubious investments and a multi-million-dollar divorce settlement with first wife Barbara in 2001.
Speaking on Talk TV’s Piers Morgan Uncensored on Wednesday, Lilly Becker said she “completely broke down” after hearing of her estranged husband’s “harsh” sentence.
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing because I was convinced, until the judge made her verdict, that he was going to get a little bit lighter than two-and-a-half years,” she said.
“I had to keep it together and I don’t know how I did it.”
The Dutch model, who said her husband was doing “as good as he can be” in prison, explained the devastating experience of breaking the news to the couple’s teenage son Amadeus.
“I had no chance but to break my heart or his heart last Sunday and I don’t wish this upon anybody. It was the hardest thing I had to do with a 12-year-old,” the 45-year-old said.
“He just couldn’t grasp it. He still can’t. It breaks my heart but it just made me into ‘tiger mumma’.
“I have just told a 12-year-old that his father is in jail and the saddest part was I couldn’t break it down because these kids are now going on YouTube and the internet. The internet is cruel.
“But he also has a loving support system around him. He’s curious and I’ve told him we all make mistakes.”
Lilly Becker also told Piers Morgan that she and Boris remain married, despite reports they’ve been divorced since 2018 and his new relationship with girlfriend Lilian de Carvalho.
“I’m very much still his wife. Estranged wife as that may be, but we’re still very much married and have been since we went our separate ways,” she told Piers Morgan, as you can see in the video above.
“It was from the beginning intense and a complete, true love story. Everyone who knows us knows this.
“It’s not that I don’t want to get a divorce. We should handle our business at the right time.”
Novak heartbroken by coach’s sentence
Novak Djokovic has spoken of his heartbreak at the jailing of his former coach Boris Becker.
Speaking ahead of the Madrid Open to reporters in the Spanish capital, Djokovic said he was: “Just heartbroken for him.
“He’s a friend, a long-time friend, a coach for three, four years, someone I consider close in my life and has contributed a lot to my success in my career.
“I’m not going to get into details of the verdict, because I’m not in a position to do that, but, as his friend, I’m super sad for him. It’s not much that you can say.
“I just hope he will go through this period that he has to be in jail and that when he comes out he’s able to live his life – I don’t know if we’ll use the word ‘normal’ because life is definitely changing for anybody going to prison, especially for that long of a time.
“I don’t know how things will turn out for him. I just pray for him. I hope things will be well in terms of his health, his mental health, because that’s going to be the most challenging part.”
Although not on the same scale, Djokovic has had plenty of challenges of his own this season, especially the furore that surrounded his attempt to play at the Australian Open and ultimate deportation from the country.
Djokovic admitted mental scars remained, saying: “Of course I have never experienced anything similar to what I experienced at the beginning of the year, and I did not know how that’s going to affect me.
“I still have to deal with it to some extent. It’s not as powerful that it was in the first two, three months of the year. I feel like the more I play, the more I’m in this environment, the more comfortable I feel.
“I’m happy that I’m back on track in terms of being able to play in tournaments and having clarity in terms of schedule. So hopefully I will be able to get the best out of myself, particularly in grand slams.”
– With AAP