WEST PALM BEACH — Richard Williams, the elderly father of world champion tennis players Serena and Venus Williams, just filed for divorce from his much, much younger wife.
Tennis coach Williams, 75, whose early coaching of his daughter is listed as one of the reasons his girls shot to superstardom, claimed in paperwork filed in a West Palm Beach court that his wife of seven years, Lakeisha Williams, is an alcoholic.
Williams also claims that Lakeisha, who is a wee 38 years old, is stealing his social security checks and has forged his signature to transfer ownership of their cars and a house to herself.
Williams, who married the woman barely older than his famous daughters Dec. 29, 2010, also claims she moved out last year and left their 5-year-old son, Dylan, in his care.
He alleges Lakeisha left him for an unsavory someone new who has “serious criminal, felony charges pending who could impose a danger to the minor child,” according to the petition.
When we reached Lakeisha on her cellphone, she said she couldn’t talk and hung up.
But we were able to get Sandy Becher, her Miami lawyer. He said Richard William’s petition is “outrageous.”
“We categorically deny each and all the allegations he has made in the petition,” Becher said.
“When the issues come before the court, they’ll be proven to be patently false.”
When we called Serena’s cell phone this morning, one of her employees picked her cell phone and promised to leave a message for Serena to comment.
Dad Williams is currently overseas and didn’t return calls for comment. Neither did Reginald Sessions, his lawyer.
The divorce petition he filed speaks for itself and paints a painful picture of a difficult marriage and included a laundry list of grievances, including that Lakeisha is an alcoholic and can’t keep a schedule.
The petition also accuses Lakeisha picking up Dylan after his bed time then returning him to Richard in the middle of the night.
Richard says his wife abandoned the marital home in August 2016 and left Dylan in his exclusive care.
Now, she’s living with an “unsavory character” in an environment that’s not conducive to raising a child.
Since leaving, Williams claims, Lakeisha ripped him off in several ways. She forged his signature to transfer the deed of one of his homes to herself and then took out a $152,000-mortgage on the property after, again, imitating his writing.
Additionally, Lakeisha allegedly transferred the titles of multiple cars to herself, took money out of their joint bank accounts and accounts he owned alone, and took some of his social security payments.
Actually, Richard has filed a separate lawsuit against Lakeisha to reclaim the West Palm Beach house, which he says he bought with ex-wife Oracene Price in 1995.
Until recently, Richard Williams and his young family were permanent fixtures courtside whenever Serena, who’s pregnant with her first child, and Venus played in big tournaments in London, Paris and Melbourne.
At first, Price, Serena and Venus’ mother, Oracene, watched her daughters play in seats far away from Richard and Lakeisha Williams, but more recently started being spotted in the same luxury box.
Richard divorced Price in 2002 after a police report with allegations of domestic abuse popped up in Florida, where the whole family lives.
Oracene suffered three broken ribs but Richard was never charged criminally in connection with alleged crimes.
In 2011, Venus and Serena refused to cooperate with the maker of a documentary about their lives when they realized it portrayed Richard as a controlling presence who had a number of extramarital affairs.