A new kind of love! Tennis star Maria Sharapova announced that she and fiancé Alexander Gilkes welcomed their 1st child together, baby boy Theodore, on Thursday, July 1.
“Theodore VII•I•MMXXII 🍼🐣,” the 35-year-old athlete wrote via Instagram alongside a photo of herself and Gilkes, 42, smiling down at their newborn on Friday, July 15. “The most beautiful, challenging, and rewarding gift our little family could ask for,” she added.
The twosome first announced they were expecting in April when the pro athlete revealed her growing baby bump via Instagram. “Precious beginnings!!! Eating birthday cake for two has always been my specialty,” she wrote. Gilkes, for his part, commented on the post with a heart-eye emoji.
The Russia native and businessman began dating in 2018, getting engaged two years later.
“I said yes from the first day we met,” Sharapova wrote via Instagram in December 2020 alongside a black-and-white snap of herself kissing Gilkes’ forehead at the time. “This was our little secret, wasn’t it 💍🥂 @gilkesa.”
The England native also confirmed the proposal on his own social media. “Thank you for making me a very, very happy boy. I look forward to a lifetime of loving you and learning from you @mariasharapova #💍, he wrote at the time.
The couple’s nuptials will mark Gilkes’ second time down the aisle. The Squared Circles cofounder was previously married to designer Misha Nonoo from 2012 to 2016.
Sharapova, for her part, got engaged to Sasha” Vujačić in 2011 after two years of dating, but the pair called it quits less than one year later. She then began dating Gregory Dimitrovbut they split in 2017.
The 5-time Grand Slam winner is most widely recognized for her illustrious tennis career, but announced she was retiring from the game in February 2020.
“In giving my life to tennis, tennis gave me a life. I’ll miss it every day,” the model wrote in a statement at the time. “Looking back now, I realize that tennis has been my mountain. My path has been filled with valleys and detours, but the views from its peak were incredible. After 28 years and five Grand Slam titles, though, I’m ready to scale another mountain — to compete on a different type of terrain.”
The Sports Illustrated covergirl went on to reveal that tennis “tested my character, my will, my ability to channel my raw emotions,” adding that playing the sport revealed her “true essence.”
Sharapova’s news came two years after she was suspended from the International Tennis Association for testing positive for a banned substance, meldonium, during the Australian Open in January 2016.
“I did fail the test and take full responsibility for it,” she said at an LA press conference in March of that year, going on to claim the suspension was “unfairly harsh.” Sharapova used her time off from the game to attend Harvard University’s buisness school.