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Discussion Starter #1
Am I imagining things or didn't Judy and Rita Mae get together once in the mid to late 90's? It seems like I remember some short interview that I saw them do together. Rita Mae invited Judy to Virginia to get over Martina. Then, wham bam thank you mam, they're a couple. But whatever happened to them? Surely they aren't still together. Does anyone have any info?
 

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HanaFanGA: I too saw them on some cheesey talkshow a while back to promote their new book but can't recall the host's name (Gary so-andso?) or the exact year. As I recall, when the host asked them whether or not the two were an actual item, Brown simply stated "We're reving our engines." Concerning any bad blood with Martina, who was evidently uncomfortable about their book (and perhaps, their becoming close?) they both seemed to think that in time, Martina would mellow about the issue. That's about all I can remember :)
 

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Carol Ward in her book "Rita Mae Brown" wrote that Rita Mae and Judy were "romantically involved." She also wrote that after Martina left Rita Mae, Rita Mae "lived alone for a decade."

One thing to keep in mind about Rita Mae Brown is way back in the 60's she was into very far-left radical feminist lesbian politics. Ward in her book has a chapter on Rita Mae's views on women in sports and especially women tennis players. Basically, Rita thought women tennis players were used by the capitalist system. She also hated the sexism, racism, ageism etc that she thought existed in women's tennis.

Ward went on to discuss Rita's book "Sudden Death" and how it had all these broken down often gay women players in it. In her bio Rita Mae brings up the subject "what do women tennis players do with their lives once the tennis is gone?" She holds the view that women tennis players are shallow and once their glory is gone nothing remains. Rita has one whole chapter of her book on Alice Marble. In this chapter she makes it look like she and Alice are good friends. She writes that she either called her or wrote to Alice two-three times a month and visited her once a year. She writes about how Alice is now drinking and how she lives only in the past. Reliving her glory days back in the 30's and 40's. She also writes that Alice made up stories. She writes that Alice confessed to her that she did have relationships with women and felt guilty about lying. I don't know if all or any of what Rita writes about Alice is true. She often times compares Alice to Martina. It's as if in her mind Alice is what Martina will eventually become 30 years from now.

Btw, Martina later on said that some of her bad play on the tennis court during the time she was with Rita was a result of Rita Mae's attitude toward her tennis. She said something about how Rita Mae made her feel guilty about practicing on her tennis game instead of doing something that Rita felt was more intellectual. Even though Rita herself played tennis she still looked down on the players.
 

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Roan, which book has the chapter on Alice?


Nelson wrote about her relationship with Rita Mae in a second book, called Choices.

And [email protected] this 1995 interview with Martina, where she is asked about the Brown-Nelson relationship.

LinK: http://www.advocate.com/html/stories/799/799_martina.asp

The relevant part:

[In a restaurant] Get your rolls out of the way, babe. Let’s begin: The moment you heard that Judy Nelson and Rita Mae Brown, two of your former lovers, were together, what was your first thought? Did you flip out?
Well, it just figured. I thought, They deserve each other. [Laughs] Then I got a letter from Rita Mae saying, “I don’t know how you stayed with her for seven years; I lasted for six months. She’s the most self-centered, selfish, egotistical woman I’ve ever known.”

:lol:
 

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From: http://home.houston.rr.com/blase/Root%20Folder/ritamae.html


"she has endured the wrath and criticism of many, especially after her breakup with tennis star Martina Navratilova and her subsequent relationship with Martina's ex, Judy Nelson. She helped them through their breakup, which almost wound up in court. "The compelling reason for me to work so hard to keep this [lawsuit between Martina and Judy] out of court and off the public record," she says in her book, "was what it would do to other gay people. We'd worked so hard for our gains. All we needed was a messy, sleazy sex scandal."
By the time they settled out of court, "Judy had decided she was in love with me," she continues. "I knew she wasn't but she thought she was. . . . I began to enjoy the attention entirely too much."

Neither was upset when the relationship ended. "I'm grateful to her for allowing me to learn I can't be in a relationship where ethics differ," she says, "nor can I abide being controlled. As for Martina, she has never once thanked me for helping to keep her out of court, for going that extra mile."
 

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RoanHJ said:
Btw, Martina later on said that some of her bad play on the tennis court during the time she was with Rita was a result of Rita Mae's attitude toward her tennis. She said something about how Rita Mae made her feel guilty about practicing on her tennis game instead of doing something that Rita felt was more intellectual. Even though Rita herself played tennis she still looked down on the players.
There was another trauma going on at that time, which was the disastrous arrival of Martina's parents in the States and their "discovery" that she was lesbian via the relationship with Rita Mae. Her father took this extremely badly and there was an awful lot of tension. It must have been a very difficult period for Martina with so many emotional conflicts with and between those she was closest to.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Santoro, Roan, Rollo, and Andy for your replies. I think the interview was on Mr. Connie Chung's show (Gary something) so thanks for the hint Santoro!!! :)

As for Rita Mae's friendship with Alice Marble, remind me NOT to become friends with Rita Mae! :smash:

Andy, the trauma of the early 80's probably had some eventual benefit to Martina. But at the time, it seemed to be very destructive to her tennis. After two straight Wimby wins to close out the 70's, between Rita Mae herself and dealing with her parents, Martina really was distracted for a while there.

I'm sure that Martina knows a lot more about what went on that what Rita Mae reported during the breakup with Nelson. Perhaps if Rita Mae didn't get a thank you from Martina, we might can conclude that she didn't deserve one.

I can't imagine two of my exes getting together! YIKES!! :eek:
 

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Hanafan, I think you're right; that period was critical in turning Martina around. Unlike Chris and Steffi, Martina "wasted" (or at least didn't fully exploit) her talent for the first half of her career: first there was the burger/defection period 75-77 and then the Rita Mae period 80-81.

Martina had to overcome all kinds of psychological issues before she was able to dedicate herself wholly to becoming the best tennis player she could be and one of the reasons I admire her so much is that she managed to do it. Of course, she carried the scars and that left her vulnerable to self-doubt even during her heyday later on. On the one hand you could argue that those "lost" years affect her numbers but on the other maybe she would never have been able to achieve what she did without them.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Andy T said:
Hanafan, I think you're right; that period was critical in turning Martina around. Unlike Chris and Steffi, Martina "wasted" (or at least didn't fully exploit) her talent for the first half of her career: first there was the burger/defection period 75-77 and then the Rita Mae period 80-81.

Martina had to overcome all kinds of psychological issues before she was able to dedicate herself wholly to becoming the best tennis player she could be and one of the reasons I admire her so much is that she managed to do it. Of course, she carried the scars and that left her vulnerable to self-doubt even during her heyday later on. On the one hand you could argue that those "lost" years affect her numbers but on the other maybe she would never have been able to achieve what she did without them.

I totally agree Andy. It is our experiences that make us and we don't all take the same path.....we're too different for that.

The bottom line on my feelings about Martina is that she WAS so extremely vulnerable. Most people never conquer their fears. But Martina was breaking down personal and social barriers as she went. Much like BJK, when you're breaking new ground on a public scale, everyone gets to watch you struggle and make mistakes. Think about how hard that really is to do. But Martina emerged from all of that and, yes, she continued to struggle with her vulnerabilities, but they never kept her down.

Martina can come off as whiny and even egotistical, but she's such a success as a human being and that's why I love her.
 

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Rollo said:
Roan, which book has the chapter on Alice?

The book is called Rita Will: Memoir Of A Literary Rabble-Rouser Chapter 77, called "Angels Keep" and it's pgs. 426-429

Earlier in the book she writes that she first met Alice down in Florida. Rita says she was playing tennis and had met Jimmy Evert and I think she was working for Evert or something like that. I can't remember. Anyway, she writes that Maureen Connolly, Pauline Betz, Alice and I think Darlene Hard all came down and she hit with them. She wrote that Alice was still good looking but that alcohol was beginning to effect her looks. Later on in chpt. 77, Rita Mae writes that right around 1985-86 she was asked by Proctor and Gamble to do a tv movie or something like that for ABC with producers Marcy Gross and Ann Weston. She claims Alice told her the spy story but that when people checked the story out they couldn't prove it so they decided not to do it. Later in the chpt Rita Mae wrote this about Alice , " She told me how she loved women as well as men. How she hid it. How she hated herself for hiding it" pg 428

One thing I do want to make clear is I'm really suspicious about Rita Mae Brown and her supposedly being best buddies with Alice. Alice was 31 years older than Rita Mae and lived clear across the country from Rita Mae. I find it interesting that a few years after this movie thing Rita mae's good buddy Dale Leatherman gets to "supposedly" help Alice with her "autobiography." :tape: One thing that stands out is Rita Mae makes it very clear in her bio that she does not like Billie Jean King. So, what happens in Leatherman's book "Courting Danger"? Well, when Alice is coaching BJK, it's Bille Jean who ends up looking like a self centered punk.
 

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Thanks Roan:) BTW-have you read Ted Tinling's "Love and Faults"? It has 2 chapters on Alice.

Biases may have played their role in Leatherman dumping on King, but Billie Jean makes it clear in her book that she had a tense parting with Marble, who she says yelled at her for being ungrateful (pages 54-56 of King's 1974 bio).
.."She went into a rage about how selfish I was.... I was really shaken up, especially when my parents also said I'd been selfish."
 

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My take on Rita Mae's utter hate, nay contempt,for Billie Jean King, comes down to 2 facts I can be certain of and one wild hunch.

1. Brown hates closet gays for being dishonest. To her they inevitably become poisonous. She even went after Martina for this when Navratilova was going through her "I am bisexual not a lesbian" stage when she was living with Nancy Lieberman. King was as closeted as one could get.

2. Billie Jean had an obvious mental hold on Navratilova, who admired her greatly. At the very least Rita Mae saw this as a fight for Martina's soul, if you will. My memory may be bad, but it's possible Rita Mae had a hand in ending the King-Navratilova doubles partnership.

Wild speculation

Rita Mae knew, or thought she knew, that King and Navratilova had been former lovers. I have absolutely NO proof of that, but it makes sense. It explains Brown's insecurity regarding BJ, and the venom she pours forth sounds personal IMO. There is no doubt who Carmen Semana is in Brown's barely fictional book "Sudden Death". The bitchy jilted ex-lover Susan Reilly out for revenge is clearly Billie Jean. This is Rita Mae's not so subtle announcement that they were involved.
 

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Rollo said:
Thanks Roan:) BTW-have you read Ted Tinling's "Love and Faults"? It has 2 chapters on Alice.

Did indeed read the chapters on Alice. I enjoyed his chapters on Maureen Connolly even more. I would have loved to have met Ted Tingling. The guy was around a long time and he knew so much about the players. Margaret Court in her book tells a pretty funny story about Ted. Court got tired of wearing his outfits. She thought they were to frilly for her and so she started wearing Fred Perry's line. Well, I guess Ted didn't like that and according to Margaret he stopped talking to her :lol: It wasn't until she went back to Ted's line that he started talking to her again.
 

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RoanHJ said:
Did indeed read the chapters on Alice. I enjoyed his chapters on Maureen Connolly even more. I would have loved to have met Ted Tingling. The guy was around a long time and he knew so much about the players. Margaret Court in her book tells a pretty funny story about Ted. Court got tired of wearing his outfits. She thought they were to frilly for her and so she started wearing Fred Perry's line. Well, I guess Ted didn't like that and according to Margaret he stopped talking to her :lol: It wasn't until she went back to Ted's line that he started talking to her again.
Sounds like a classic Ted move :lol: I love his book, especially the random thoughts at the end, highly entertaining!
 

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RoanHJ said:
Did indeed read the chapters on Alice. I enjoyed his chapters on Maureen Connolly even more. I would have loved to have met Ted Tingling. The guy was around a long time and he knew so much about the players. Margaret Court in her book tells a pretty funny story about Ted. Court got tired of wearing his outfits. She thought they were to frilly for her and so she started wearing Fred Perry's line. Well, I guess Ted didn't like that and according to Margaret he stopped talking to her :lol: It wasn't until she went back to Ted's line that he started talking to her again.
That was a funny story, especially catty because Court herself retired in 1966 to open a dress shop in Perth, and was no stranger to designing / tailoring tennis clothing herself. I often wondered if she insisted on those hideous oversized collars on her Tinling creations she sported in 1973-74!:lol:
 

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[ Anyway, she writes that Maureen Connolly, Pauline Betz, Alice and I think Darlene Hard all came down and she hit with them.

This timing seems weird Roan. Did she actually she played with Little Mo - who died in 1969. When was this supposed to have taken place?
 

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tilden said:
[ Anyway, she writes that Maureen Connolly, Pauline Betz, Alice and I think Darlene Hard all came down and she hit with them.

This timing seems weird Roan. Did she actually she played with Little Mo - who died in 1969. When was this supposed to have taken place?

I don't have the book in front of me, but as I recall it was right around 1960-1961. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if this story by Rita Mae was false. Frankly, from what I have read she strikes me as being obsessed with women tennis players.
 

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Just bumping this as I have been reading the biography 'Martina Unauthorised' and it also confirms a realtionship between Judy and Rita Mae.

The book has quite a lot about Judy and Martina's relationship and Judy does seem quite selfish as Rita Mae says. For example she threw Martina out one night but only after making Martina wake Judy's parents and explaining to them why she was being thrown out.

I also had to laugh when they are discussing the 'divorce' settlement. The amount was never made public but Judy got a house worth one million dollars alone. Judy says she supported Martina and sacfriced many of her own personal goals in the process. Maybe I am cynical but I wonder when she was living with Martina was Judy thinking of all the sacrifices she was making?

Judy says the settlement never made her rich and says "If it was like what people thought I would be on some island drinking pina coladas now. I now pay for half my sons education. I'm a working single mother just like anybody else" I thought that came across as quite bitter as if she felt she deserved more for herself and her children. Surely the children's father would be responsible for paying for their upbringing, not Martina.

It also says the divorce proceeding in court was televised. Did anyone see it?
 
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