Maria Sharapova has become synonymous with excellence and resilience. Despite a shoulder injury that limited her performance in 2007, the Russian-born tennis player continued to make it into Top 5 rankings in world championships and won five Grand Slams (via WTA Tour). After 28 years in tennis, the Olympic silver medalist retired in early 2020 with a heartfelt essay for Vanity Fair. “I’m new to this, so please forgive me,” she wrote. “Tennis — I’m saying goodbye.”
Fast forward a year, and Sharapova is embarking on exciting new adventures — including launching her own interior design collection and getting engaged to her beau, Alexander Gilkes, as she shared on Instagram. Sharapova had previously been engaged to Slovenian professional basketball player Sasha Vujacic in 2010, but the relationship ended in 2012 (via CBS Sports). So, who is British businessman Alexander Gilkes, Sharapova’s soon-to-be husband?
Alexander Gilkes has a connection to the royal family
The relationship between Maria Sharapova and Alexander Gilkes became public in 2018, after the two were spotted on a trip to Cotwold in south central England. As reported by People, they each posted photos of the area and featured each other in their Instagram stories. Gilkes, an art dealer based in New York, attended Eton College with Prince William and soon became friends not just with the prince, but with several members of the British royal family including Princess Eugenie, Prince Harry, and Kate and Pippa Middleton (via Daily Mail). He was previously in a relationship with fashion designer Misha Nonoo for 13 years, the last four as a married couple. They split in 2016.
Gilkes proposed to Sharapova in December 2020 with an emerald-shaped diamond ring that is probably between five and seven carats, according to The Knot. “Thank you for making me a very happy boy and saying yes. I look forward to a lifetime of loving you, and learning from you,” Gilkes wrote in an Instagram post that shows Sharapova giving him an adorable forehead kiss.
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