LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 06: Martina Navratilova attends with Russian model Julia Lemigova the 2012 Laureus World Sports Awards at Central Hall Westminster on February 6, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Laureus) 07/02/2012
By EMILY SHERIDAN
Appearing on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! last year, Martina Navratilova often spoke of her 'drop dead beautiful' girlfriend.
The identity of the tennis legend's new love has been kept a secret - until now.
She is Julia Lemigova, 36, a one-time beauty queen, model and entrepreneur.
Happy again: After two high-profile splits, Martina Navratilova appears to have found love again with Russian model Julia Lemigova
Navratilova, 52, was spotted holidaying with her girlfriend in the south of France - the first time the pair have been been photographed in public.
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.
Helping hand: Navratilova and Lemigova board a boat in St Tropez
Girls day out: Navratliova, Lemigova and a female friend have been enjoying the sights of the French Riviera
Russian-born Lemigova is the second beauty queen Navratilova has fallen for after her previous relationship with former Miss Texas Judy Nelson ended acrimoniously in 1991 after seven years together.
Lemigova, the daughter of a Red Army colonel, was the last Miss Soviet Union before it collapsed and represented the nation in the Miss Universe pageant in 1991.
The model, who speaks Italian, English, Russian and French, has lived in Paris since the Nineties, has her own cosmetics firm White Russia and is founder of the Joiya spa in Paris.
In 2005, Lemigova hit the headlines when her former lover, French banker Edouard Stern was murdered by his mistress Cécile Brossard during a sadomasochist bondage session.
Puppy love: The two women look deep in conversation as they walk their dog
Lemigova claimed she had been Stern's mistress long before Brossard and had a son with him.
After meeting in 1997, Lemigova and Stern embarked on a love affair, having clandestine meetings in hotels around the world.
Stern left his wife Beatrice the following year and in 1999, Lemigova told him she was pregnant with his child and gave birth to son Maximilien.
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.
Beauty queen: A fresh-faced Lemigova as an 18-year-old representing the Soviet Union in the Miss Universe pageant in London in 1991
Glamour girl: Lemigova was the last ever Miss Soviet Union before it broke up
Navratilova is dancing with super stars
It’s common knowledge, that every country has its own traditions. Somewhere they eat dogs, somewhere - pork or beef, but there are places where it is considered outrageous and absolutely out of question.
A similar bill was sent to the Parliament of the Russian Federation as well, and it caused a negative reaction among some of the representatives of human rights defenders. The Yabloko liberal party even proposed to the Parliament of Saint-Petersburg to prohibit homophobia.
Now it is necessary to define the terms. In psychiatry the term “phobia” means an exaggerated sense of fear, which oppresses a man, ultimately driving him crazy.
Against the background of successful media campaigns conducted by the gay community abroad, anxiety arises in Russian society that a non-mainstream sexual orientation may become a measure of respectability. Meanwhile, the word "homosexual" is not yet a bogey for children, it rather causes some confusion and a smile.
Tolerance is indulgence, which by no means belongs to virtues. If you have to tolerate something, it means, that something abnormal is going on. There's a substitution of concepts: what was once considered indecent, is suddenly erected to the level of heroism with a scented quasi-humanrightsdefending lubrication.
Trying someone's patience is not the most constructive thing to do: the society can firmly react to the provocation. Apparently, someone is very much concerned about his own PR based on protection of gay rights, but their fate is not his concern.
Actually, it is impossible to understand what specific additional rights gays should possess, in contrast to other citizens of Russia. It might be special benefits, early retirement or a daily basket of flowers. I do not know.
By the way, about "discrimination": a company, in which there is a dress code, will not tolerate a girl wearing a bright lipstick, to say nothing about it being a man; and male representatives wearing kilts is an organic picture only for Scotland.
As far as I was informed, the so-called "quiet" representatives of the gay community are not interested in kitsch-defiles with feathers along the central streets of the Russian cities. They are fine without it. They are quietly enjoying their non-mainstreamness in their own apartments, in clubs or in the open air.
When it comes to love, it is rather strange to arrange public discussions on this theme and to make gonfalons out of one’s sexual preferences. It is an intimate feeling and it relates only to the participants of the events. If a person or a group of people, regardless of their sexual orientation, still believe it is necessary to tell everybody about their sexual preferences and, moreover, to do so on the street, it means something else. Already in the 16th century William Shakespeare agreed with this statement, saying that he, who trumpeted about his love all over the world, was not in love at all.
The Russian legislation does not prohibit homosexuality and it is not prosecuted. It seems to me, it is not correct to assume that people are not able to decide for themselves - with whom, where and how - without any advocacy assistance.
History knows a lot of talented people, among whom there are many representatives of non-traditional sexual orientation. But they have deserved a world-wide recognition owing to their personal achievements. They are interesting as personalities, in the academic definition of the word. And when a person’s only desire is to participate in kitsch, and kitsch for him is the only way to draw attention, then even the proclaiming of his sexual orientation will not bring the desired fame.
And whether Mozart was gay or not - it makes no difference for me. He was a brilliant composer, who earned a worldwide fame, and as such he will remain forever. Of course, there are always some creative propagandists found who can tell us that he was gay, and Salieri poisoned him out of jealousy.
(Opinion of the author may not coincide with the position of "The Voice of Russia")
Is it a real act of freedom in the usa against the moral of Christian religion? or is it a propaganda for the presidential election 2012?
President Obama supports gay marriage. It was announced on Wednesday. Will this help or hurt his election campaign?
In an interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, Obama completed what has been a markedly long and oft-mocked evolution on the matter.
"I've always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally," Obama said.
"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," he said.
Obama is expected to receive votes from supporters of same-sex marriage by repealing a federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
Obama is taking a risk by making very clear his position on one of the most discussed social issues at the moment just before, according to recent polls, a very close election race.