Chris Evert says the fame made her feel “a little entitled” in her relationships

Tennis legend Chris Evert opens up about her cancer diagnosis and why her success as an athlete left her “entitled,” at the expense of her personal relationships.

In a new interview with CBS Sunday Morningthe 67-year-old sports star explained how finding “glory at a young age” affected her sense of self and, ultimately, her relationships.

“I think there’s a price you have to pay — there’s a price you have to pay for almost everything in life,” Evert told reporter Tracy Smith.

As a teenage tennis sensation who was just 17 when she graced its cover year, Evert “did not have the freedom to develop an authentic self at a young age.” This meant she would miss out on experiences like college and be treated differently from her peers.

“I think people are always being told ‘you’re the best’ and patted on the back and people can’t say no to them,” he continued. “I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a ticket in my life because cops have pulled me over so many times and they’ve seen that I’m Chris Evert, and they’re like, ‘I’m such a big fan of yours, I’m going to let you go.’ And I think when that happens [for] years and years and years and years I think you are justified and a little stronger and I am the first to admit it.

“I feel like it’s affected my relationships with people and my marriages,” she admitted. “You pay a price.”

After a broken engagement to two-time Wimbledon champion Jimmy Connors that ended in 1975, Evert married British tennis player John Lloyd in 1979. The couple divorced in 1987 and the following year she married skier Andy Mill, with whom she had three sons before divorcing in 2006. Evert found love with golfer Greg Norman in 2008, but the sports stars’ marriage lasted just over a year.

Chris Evert talks about her relationships and surviving cancer.  (Photo: REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

Chris Evert talks about her relationships and surviving cancer. (Photo: REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

Evert revealed in January that she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. after completing chemotherapy in May she is now cancer free. The six-time US Open winner credits her late sister Jeanne Evert, who also played professional tennis, with saving her life. After Chris noticed her athletic sister struggling to catch her breath as they hurried through an airport six years ago, Jeanne was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. Doctors learned that Jeanne, who died in 2020, had the mutation of the BRCA gene that carries a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer, a discovery that prompted Chris to get herself tested. She was also found to have the BRCA gene mutation. Evert chose to have a hysterectomy as a precaution.

“I had a total hysterectomy with everything out,” Evert shared. “And my doctors thought it was preventative surgery… All of a sudden, five days later, my doctor calls me and says, ‘Chrissy, I’m in as much shock as you are. shocked. You have had cancer in your fallopian tubes and ovaries. So I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to go in for another surgery. Ten days later, after I was healed, I went back in for another surgery. And it was the longest three or four days of my life, because it was a matter of being either stage 1 or, like, stage 3, or even stage 4.”

Evert was “tied up” as she waited to learn more, knowing from her sister’s experience that “this was a bad cancer.”

“I saw Jeanne go through it. I saw the needles and the pain and agony I had to [endure]. The chemotherapy and the endless hospital stay. … It was 80 kilos. when he passed away. It was a horrible, horrible experience for her and to see her go through that.”

Speaking to Smith, Evert became emotional as she recounted praying to her sister for help. Fortunately, the news from her doctor was promising: “You’re in the clear — but you have to go through chemotherapy.” Six sessions later, Evert got on with her life, always aware that her prognosis would have been much worse had she waited even a few months to be tested.

“My sister saved my life,” he says.

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