Tennis star pays off former lesbian lover to prevent her from spilling secrets.
Tennis great Martina Navratilova has settled a lawsuit brought by her ex-wife, paying Toni Layton $3 million for her silence after a two-year court battle. Toni, who left her husband for Martina, had threatened to air all of the couple's dirty laundry if she wasn't paid off. "There are a lot of skeletons in Martina's closet. It is more like a storage facility full of them, and I know them all," she said in 2008. How To Have A Better Breakup
Toni said that Martina abruptly dumped her in January 2008 after they'd been together for eight years, and that she changed the locks on their Florida home. The ensuing court battle was over four homes, several cars, a collection of artwork, a boat, and a Florida animal sanctuary, which kind of puts your squabbles over that U2 album into perspective, no? Breakups' New Battleground: The Dog
Martina and Toni married in New Hampshire in 2000 (although the union was not legal, as gay marriage was only approved in that state this year), but for most of their relationship lived in Florida, where gay marriages are not recognized. This year Martina announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, which might be why she decided to settle the suit with Toni—a two-year lawsuit has to be an enormous source of stress. According to Martina's doctor, her chances of recovery are excellent.
This isn't the first time a relationship of Martina's has ended in strife. In 1991 she broke up with her partner of eight years, Judy Nelson, and paid Judy a reported $3.5 million—although she didn't insist on confidentiality that time. Judy wrote two rather poorly reviewed books about Martina, the cheesily titled Love Match: Nelson vs. Navratilova, in 1993, and Choices: My Journey After Leaving My Husband for Martina and a Lesbian Life, which was published in 1996. After Martina, Judy was involved with mystery novelist Rita Mae Brown, who'd also had a relationship with Martina. Which just proves that all the lesbians you know have dated each other. More Middle-Aged Women Coming Out As Lesbians
So there's an interesting pattern in Martina's life. She tends to fall for women who are married to men, stay with them for about eight years, then break up acrimoniously. So that should be a warning to Martina's new lady, former Miss Universe contestant Julia Lemigova, who's 17 years younger than Martina. Do you get the impression Martina took one look at Boris Becker and said to herself, "Pssh, I can do better than that"?
Via The New York Post. Photo via Bauer-Griffin.