Serena Williams
Serena Williams' childhood home in Palm Beach, South Florida, is being sold so her stepmother's debts can be settled. AFP / COREY SIPKIN

The childhood home, a place of profound significance in the journey of sporting icons Serena and Venus Williams, where they honed their tennis skills, is now set to be placed on the market.

The property in Palm Beach, South Florida, is undergoing a legal process of seizure. This is being done so the Williams sisters' estranged stepmother can use the proceeds from the sale to pay off her debts.

Lakeisha Williams, the third wife of Richard Williams until their separation in 2017, is now grappling with a staggering $600,000 debt due to the failure of a trucking business. She moved into the Williams sisters' childhood home in 2009 after marrying Richard and continued residing there after they split.

The couple remains in an ongoing divorce battle, with Richard still looking for one despite Lakeisha's claims of them reconciling in previous years.

Richard, who suffers from dementia, has accused his recent partner of forging his signature so that only her name remained attached to the home. He had previously bought the home for $355,000 in 1995 and had two tennis courts built in the garden so he could train his daughters there.

The $255,000 loan Lakeisha acquired from mortgage lender David Simon because of the transfer of ownership was spent on her failed business. Lakeisha was to give a $10,000 monthly payment towards Simon as part of an agreed repayment arrangement plan.

As Lakeisha failed to make payments regularly, the debt surpassed $600,000, and Simon successfully oversaw a foreclosure of the Palm Beach property in 2021. This means that the property is now under the control of the mortgage lender, David Simon. Through court documentation, he accused Lakeisha of not paying anything she owed him, and she only spent her income on 'fast food and frivolities'.

The step-mum had previously filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy twice to avoid losing the house and delay the foreclosure. She had been unsuccessful each time because the judge found her incapable of committing to the repayment arrangement.

Now, a third request for bankruptcy has been denied and done so without prejudice, leaving Lakeisha without any court protection. This means that she is no longer shielded from her creditors and her debts must be settled. Due to this, the $1.4 million house will be auctioned off, meaning her debts with Simon can finally be settled.

Most of the money from the future sale will go towards Lakeisha's debt payment to Simon, with 20 other creditors receiving a cut of the proceedings. The property's future is uncertain, with potential buyers considering various uses for the 10-acre land and the four-bedroom house.

Lakeisha has the right to make another bid for bankruptcy, which would cost her legal and court expenses. However, for the filing to be approved, she would need to provide evidence that she was in better control of her finances and could keep up with a repayment arrangement now.

The four-bedroom Palm Beach property, built on 10 acres of land, has unfortunately not been kept in adequate condition under Lakeisha's ownership. The tennis courts, once the training ground for the Williams sisters to master their craft, are now in a state of disrepair.

One of the courts is unplayable whilst the floodlights are rusty, and a net is torn and dangling downwards.

According to one neighbour, Richard would have ensured the home stayed pristine. They told the Daily Mail: "It would never be in that condition if Richard were still there. He adored that place. We were neighbours for many years. Serena and Venus were just kids to me, not superstars."