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Billie Jean King Biography
Billie Jean King was born in Long Beach, California on November 22, 1943, she is an American former World No. 1 professional tennis player. She was born with athletic genes as both her parents excelled in sports. King’s first sports was softball and baseball, however, she focused on tennis after being introduced to the game at the age of 10. She bought her first racket with $8 of her own savings and honed her skills at free public courts in her locale.King won 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 in singles, 16 in women’s doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. She won the singles title at the inaugural WTA Tour Championships. She often represented the United States in the Federation Cup and the Wightman Cup. She was a member of the victorious United States team in seven Federation Cups and nine Wightman Cups. For three years, she was the United States’ captain in the Federation Cup.
King is an advocate for gender equality and has long been a pioneer for equality and social justice. In 1973, at age 29, she won the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match against the 55 year old Bobby Riggs. She was also the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association and the Women’s Sports Foundation. She was also instrumental in persuading cigarette brand Virginia Slims to sponsor women’s tennis in the 1970s and went on to serve on the board of their parent company Philip Morris in the 2000s. Regarded by many in the sport as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, King was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987. The Fed Cup Award of Excellence was bestowed on her in 2010.
Billie Jean King Age
Billie was born on November 22, 1943, in Long Beach, California. He is 80 years old as of Sept 2023.
Billie Jean King Height and Weight
Billie Jean King Education
She attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School. After graduating, she attended California State University, Los Angeles . She did not graduate, leaving school in 1964 to focus on tennis.While attending Cal State, she met Larry King in a library. The pair became engaged while still in school when Billie Jean was 20 and Larry 19 years old and married on September 17, 1965 in Long Beach.
Billie Jean King Family
Her family was athletic her mother excelled at swimming, her father played basketball, baseball and ran track. Her younger brother, Randy Moffitt, became a Major League Baseball pitcher, pitching for 12 years in the major leagues for the San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, and Toronto Blue Jays.Billie Jean King Photo
Billie Jean King Ex Husband/Partner
Billie Jean King was previously married to American attorney and real estate broker, Larry King. Their relationship was a huge part of Jean’s blooming career as Larry was the driving force behind most of the achievements she made in tennis. Jean’s love story with Larry King began in 1963 after they met at the library of the California State University, Los Angeles where they both attended and married in Long Beach, California, on September 17, 1965.
By 1968, King realized that she was attracted to women and in 1971, began an intimate relationship with her secretary, Marilyn Barnett. Billie Jean acknowledged the relationship when it became public in a May 1981 palimony lawsuit filed by Barnett, making her the first prominent professional female to come out. She remained married to Larry.The lawsuit caused Billie to lose an estimated $2 million in endorsements and forced her to prolong her tennis career to pay attorneys. Also in 1971, she had an abortion that was made public in a Ms. magazine article. Larry had revealed Billie Jean’s abortion without consulting her. Billie Jean and Larry remained married through the palimony suit fallout. The marriage ended in 1987 after Billie fell in love with her doubles partner, Ilana Kloss. Billie Jean and Larry remained on good terms, with Billie Jean serving as godmother to Larry’s son from his subsequent marriage.
Billie Jean King Net Worth
She was the first female pro tennis player to earn over $100,00 in prize money for a single season. King pushed for equal pay during her active years and once refrained from playing in a tournament, demanding an equal pay with the men. The US Open in 1973 succumbed to Jean’s campaign. She ended her career with a total prize money of $1.96 million. In 2019 her estimated net worth is $20 million
Billie Jean King Movies
- To Russia with Love 2014
- Althea 2014
- The Battle Of The Sexes 2013
- Venus and Serena 2012
- Kate Clinton 25th Anniversary Tour 2007
- Legends of Wimbledon 2005
- Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World 1994
Billie Jean King Facts
- She became the first president of the Women’s Tennis Association
- She lobbied for equal prize money
- She started the Women’s Sports Foundation
- She was the first woman to have a major sporting venue named after her—the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York
- She was one of the first female athletes to openly embrace her homosexuality, and she became a champion for LGBTQ rights
- She started a non-profit, the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, which advocates for more diversity and inclusivity in the workplace One of BJK’s other career accomplishments: At the age of 29, she took on 55-year-old male tennis player Bobby Riggs, another former number-one ranked tennis player. Their 1973 match was called the “Battle of the Sexes.” That match is now getting the Hollywood treatment in Battle of the Sexes, a movie starring Emma Stone (who plays BJK) and Steve Carell (who plays Riggs).
- Billie Jean King Quotes
Billie Jean King Quotes
- “Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose-it teaches you about life.”
- “I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.”
- “I will tell you King’s First Law of Recognition: You never get it when you want it, and then when it comes, you get too much.”
- “Everyone has people in their lives that are gay, lesbian or transgender or bisexual. They may not want to admit it, but I guarantee they know somebody.”
- “It is very hard to be a female leader. While it is assumed that any man, no matter how tough, has a soft side… and female leader is assumed to be one-dimensional.”
- “Be bold. If you’re going to make an error, make a doozy, and don’t be afraid to hit the ball.”
- “Champions keep playing until they get it right.”