Maria Sharapova is letting the world in on her little secret. On Thursday December 17th, the retired professional tennis player confirmed on Instagram that she is engaged to British businessman and co-founder of online auction house Paddle 8, Alexander Gilkes.
The couple first went public with their relationship in 2018. Sharapova posted a series of super cute photos and videos with her new fiancé and captioned the post, “I said yes from the first day we met❤️This was our little secret, wasn’t it 💍🥂@gilkesa.” Actress Lilly Collins congratulated the couple in the comments and wrote, ”Ahhhhh yessss congratulations!!! 💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖.”
Gilkes shared the news on his own Instagram page with an equally cute black and white photo. (Someone get this man a toothpaste commercial because his teeth are WHITE.) Gilkes thanked Sharapova for making him a “happy boy” and captioned the pic, “Thank you for making me a very very happy boy. I look forward to a lifetime of loving you, and learning from you @mariasharapova #💍.”
According to People, Gilkes is a known close friend of Prince William and the pals have stayed in touch since their time at Eton College in Windsor, England. The couple was first spotted at the Argento Ball for the Elton John Aids Foundation in June 2018 and they were also seen together around Beverly Hills in March of that year before Sharapova confirmed the relationship that October when they took a trip to the Cotswolds.
.The five-time Grand Slam title winner was previously engaged to former Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Sasha Vujacic. The two split in 2012. She later dated fellow tennis star Grigor Dimitrov and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine. Gilkes was previously married to designer Misha Nonoo but they split in 2016 after 13 years together. Nonoo is reportedly responsible for setting up Meghan Markle with Prince Harry.
The final match of Sharapova’s career came at the 2020 Australian Open, where she was defeated in the first round by Donna Vekić. She announced her retirement in a guest column for Vanity Fair in February. “In giving my life to tennis, tennis gave me a life,” Sharapova wrote. “I’ll miss it every day,” she continued. ”I’ll miss the training and my daily routine: Waking up at dawn, lacing my left shoe before my right, and closing the court’s gate before I hit my first ball of the day. I’ll miss my team, my coaches. I’ll miss the moments sitting with my father on the practice court bench.”