Martina Navratilova and Julia Lemigova
Source: Instagram / Peacock

Julia Lemigova Is the First LGBTQ+ Real Housewife to Ever Be Cast

Shannon Raphael - Author
By

Dec. 16 2021, Published 10:45 a.m. ET

The Real Housewives of Miami is back on the air eight years after the conclusion of Season 3, and the show is making history in more ways than one. In addition to being the first-ever regular Real Housewives franchise to air solely on Peacock, RHOM is the also the first to cast a star who is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community: Julia Lemigova (RHOC alum Braunwyn Windham-Burke came out as a lesbian after her first season, and long after her casting).

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Like several other Real Housewives stars — including Lisa Rinna, Robyn Dixon, and Eileen Davidson — Julia's spouse is someone who is in the public eye. The Russian model has been married to former tennis pro Martina Navratilova for seven years.

Read on to find out more about the RHOM addition's personal life and her background.

Julia Lemigova and Martina Navratilova
Source: Getty
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Julia Lemigova first met her wife, Martina Navratilova, in 2000.

Before her time on the Peacock reality series, Julia modeled in her native Russia. She won Miss. USSR in 1990. Though she was originally the runner-up in the pageant, the original winner was later disqualified for being underage.

She then represented the Soviet Union at the 1991 Miss Universe Pageant. She did not win the crown, but she was the second runner-up.

Following her time in the pageant circuit, Julia moved to Paris, and she opened Joiya Spa and she launched a spa and skincare brand called Russie Blanche. Julia continued modeling until 2005.

Prior to her marriage to Martina, Julia was in a long-term relationship with Édouard Stern, a late French banker. The couple had a son together named Maximilian, but he passed away as an infant. Julia later welcomed two daughters, Emma and Victoria Lemigova.

The RHOM personality met her future wife, tennis legend Martina Navratilova, in 2000, but the two didn't forge a lasting relationship until 2008. The pair reconnected in Paris during a tennis tournament, and they began dating shortly thereafter.

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Martina proposed to Julia at the U.S. Open in 2014, and the duo married just a few months later. The couple celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary on Dec. 15, just one day before the Season 4 premiere.

Julia, Martina, and their daughters now reside on a small farm outside of Miami.

Julia Lemigova and her daughters.
Source: Instagram
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The Season 4 addition is the first LGBTQ+ member to be cast on 'The Real Housewives.'

When Julia secured a spot on RHOM, she became the first-ever LGBTQIA+ Real Housewife to be cast. Julia spoke with E! News about the historic casting.

"I first want to say it's about time! I'm so grateful to Peacock and The Real Housewives of Miami for allowing me to show my family life. I want to normalize how we live and show that love has no gender," she said. "We are a very loving family with big and unique personalities."

Julia Lemigova
Source: Instagram / Peacock

Julia went on to note that RHOM viewers will get a glimpse at her day to day life with Martina.

"I cannot wait to show the world that a same-sex marriage is just like any other marriage," she continued. "We will share our joy, fun and our daily life. I really want to express this to people who don't understand that love has no gender and I'm forever grateful for The Real Housewives of Miami for giving me this opportunity to shine the light on our life."

New episodes of The Real Housewives of Miami come out on Peacock on Thursdays.

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