Maria Sharapova has officially announced that she is saying yes to forever with British entrepreneur Alexander Gilkes, who is known to be a close friend of Prince William and other members of the British royal family.
Sharapova and Gilkes announced their engagement simultaneously through social media posts on Thursday. On her Instagram, the tennis legend shared a black and white photo of herself and her fiancé saying, "I said yes from the first day we met❤️This was our little secret, wasn't it."
The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) quickly shared the same photo and congratulated Sharapova:
The 33-year-old tennis star had a stellar career that has lately been hampered by a series of injuries and a doping scandal. She officially retired from professional tennis earlier this year, but her popularity and beauty have kept her in the spotlight even during the extended periods that she she has been away from the court.
For his part, Alexander Gilkes is best known as a British businessman and co-founder of online auction house Paddle 8. He is also a good friend of Prince William, whom he met while studying together at Eton.
Sharapova and Gilkes went public with their relationship back in 2018. They were first spotted together in Beverly Hills around March that year, before attending the Argento Ball for the Elton John Aids Foundation in June of the same year. The relationship was further made official when they were seen taking a holiday together at the Cotswolds in Oct. 2018.
Gilkes shared his own black-and-white post, saying, "Thank you for making me a very very happy boy. I look forward to a lifetime of loving you, and learning from you @mariasharapova #?."
Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, the husband of Princess Beatrice, was one of the first to congratulate the couple. "Yippee. A lifetime of love and happiness together. I am so thrilled for you both," he wrote.
This will be the first marriage for Sharapova, who was previously engaged to former Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Sasha Vujacic before parting ways back in 2012.
Meanwhile, it will be the second marriage for Gilkes, who was previously married to designer Misha Nonoo, a known friend of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.