Chris Evert on being single: ‘I needed to be alone for 5 or 6 years to find peace’

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The last I remember hearing about tennis great Chris Evert, now 62 (which is surprising, I thought she was still 50-something), she was marrying golfer Greg Norman. That was back in 2008 and sadly Evert and Norman divorced after just 15 months, which I didn’t recall. She’s been single for quite some time and she seems to like it that way. In a new interview with People, Evert talked about finding herself after her divorce and how she’s happily single by choice. She also talked about her exercise and diet routine, which you can read at the source. Here’s what she told People about not being in a relationship:

“I am not dating anybody, and I am not looking,” Evert, 62, tells PEOPLE Saturday night during the 28th Chris Evert/Raymond James Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic gala at Florida’s Boca Raton Resort & Club.

“I needed to be alone for five or six years to find peace in my heart. I had to learn how to rely on myself and not on other people,” continues Evert, who has three sons — Alexander, 26, Nicholas, 23, and Colton, 21 — with second husband Andy Mill, a former Olympic downhill ski champion.

After her short 15-month third marriage to golfer Greg Norman ended in 2009, Evert vowed to look inward, make her own decisions, and become more independent.

“I really needed to be by myself,” continues Evert…

“As you get older, your priorities change,” says Evert. “I have found so much peace with myself. I am now busier than ever — and really happy.”

[From People]

I’ve told this story here before so forgive me if you remember it (you probably don’t). When I was single at 30, one of my girlfriends, who was married with two small children at the time, was exclaiming how incredible it must be to do whatever I want with my free time. I told her that I sometimes got lonely, especially on Sundays. However she gave me a whole new perspective on singlehood, one I didn’t really understand until I was married with a kid. Being single can be awesome in that you get to schedule all your own time and do exactly what you want. I think Tracee Ellis Ross explained it best when she talked about taking solo vacations. So I understand Evert’s perspective definitely. After being in an unhappy relationship you just want to do and find the things that fulfill you. When you add another person in the mix some of your personal goals and pursuits can get pushed aside for the relationship. You should have a positive relationship with yourself first and know yourself and your boundaries. There’s also this misconception that single people are sad saps but so many people are miserable in their relationships, especially the single-shamers.

Thank you @martinanavratilova for supporting my event; love that you brought Julia and Emma! #friendsforlife

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36 Responses to “Chris Evert on being single: ‘I needed to be alone for 5 or 6 years to find peace’”

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  1. DazLondon says:

    Do what my great-grandmother does and get a 25 year younger boyfriend.
    Have fun.

  2. Renee2 says:

    I love that she and Martina are friends, I was so surprised and pleased to learn that years ago.

    • tracking says:

      Aw, that’s nice. I remember their on-court rivalry so vividly.

    • holly hobby says:

      Martina looks great. I think she may have been freshened up but it is not that noticeable. Yes they were bitter rivals on the court but apparently friends out of the game.

  3. aims says:

    Boy can I relate to this. I got married young, 19. After seven years we hit a very rough patch and divorced. There was a five year span there and instead of dating I decided for the first time in my life I could be selfish. I took the time to invest in myself. I found me. I lost a lot of weight, reconnected my friendships, traveled and found my joy that only I could give myself. Through this awakening, I became a better person and my husband saw that. 5 years after our divorce we reconciled and I think it had everything to do with me taking that time that I desperately needed.

    So being single is not a bad thing.

  4. Sadezilla says:

    I love that single women are having a moment. I’ve been single for my entire adult life, and I used to be incredibly self-conscious about it. I’m so much more comfortable with it now, in part because there is more visibility into it (see Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies, it’s a great read). If I end up finding a partner, great, but until I find someone who makes me happier than I am being single, single it is!

    I get what you said about being lonely, though, CB. Because I’m in my mid-30’s, most of my friends are married or in long-term relationships. It does feel like I’m an outsider sometimes, and it takes work to connect with people. But I firmly believe I’m happier being single than in an unfulfilling relationship. YMMV, of course.

    • A Croatian says:

      Love your nick, Sadezilla!

      I was single through many years, and I thought I would remain single – I just wasn’t expecting I would fall in love. But I did. I am very much loved and I very much love, but I will say that if it wasn’t my guy being this right for me, and the relationship wasn’t this fulfilling in a healthy way, I would stay single. Because when you hit a rough patch… damn, it’s important that you truly love the person.

    • Artemis says:

      I’m not 30 yet but I’m in the same boat. Having seen my friendships change over the years in relation to their romantic entanglements I do feel more confident now about staying single. So many times I’ve seen my friends making concessions for their men, putting their dreams on hold or putting them away entirely. Or not having grown at all themselves due to not wanting to work on their dreams. That could never be my life which is why I’m wary of dating seriously. The emotional labour is hard enough for a romantic partner, add babies to the mix and where does that leave a woman? If a woman hasn’t figured out herself, it leaves her on the backburner.

      Add to that I’m a WOC with no family; I knew from a young age that my life would be hard. I cannot rely on anybody when I don’t have my shit together. I’m not about to be co-dependent after fighting for everything I have now. And the more I grow up, the more confident I feel so the less likely I’m charmed by a cute guy which is not always great. Sometimes it is nice to just go with it but some people have married that feeling and it didn’t end up great. Just having yourself is a lovely freedom but the price is loneliness at times and alienation when you see others having that stereotypical life and you can’t connect to it. Or they query why you don’t have it. As long as I feel a relationship won’t bring stability, love, strenght and peace, there’s no reason to continue something as it’s simply not healthy and time-consuming.

      As long as people are happy with their choices, I don’t see a problem. Although I think that’s exactly the problem, often times we want what we don’t have.

      I want to check out that book recommendation now!

  5. Alleycat says:

    I feel like the only people who judge those that are single are those that are in relationships. I’ve been single for quite a long time because I enjoy it. But I always get the people who are in relationships that say, ohhh one day you’ll find someone. Not everybody is dying to be in a relationship. I feel like sometimes those with a significant other feel they are above those who are single, and it’s such a bizarre opinion.

    • A Croatian says:

      That’s true. I realized people valued me more when I “finally” met someone. And they were very surprised I remained the same, with the same general goals in life. It’s like people thought finally I was figured out.
      I was so frustrated, questioning why I wasn’t worthy to people while I was single, and don’t I matter just for myself.
      Sorry you experience the judgement :-/

    • Christin says:

      It took years for me to realize how much other people were influencing my perception of myself (relationships, not having kids, being a caregiver).

      The phrase “you do you” is so true. Be your own best friend, because no matter how well intended others are (spouse/SO, best buddy, etc.), there are some tough moments you’ll travel alone anyway.

    • Mel says:

      I’ve been “single” all my life (and will remain so for the rest of my life); I’ve never met anyone with whom I would even consider sharing my life. But I have to say I’ve never ever felt “judged” – and if anyone WAS “judging” me, I never noticed. (What I did notice sometimes was a certain nervousness or puzzling over me – but that’s not my problem, and I may have misinterpreted it anyway.)
      I think it would be healthy for everyone not to dwell on what others may (or may not) be thinking. Many singles are actually their own worst enemies, projecting their own doubts onto others. And if someone IS judging you – SO WHAT? Pay no attention to it.

      • spidey says:

        Me too, Mel I guess the people who judge you don’t really know you . I am single and retired but have carved out a perfectly happy life for myself. I have friends when I see often but I can please myself. I have already got my three holidays booked for next year and I should be going on each of them by myself and I’m thoroughly looking forward to it!

        After all you can be alone in a crowded room and it is better to be single than in an unhappy marriage.

      • Isa says:

        I got married young and I don’t think negatively of single people. My older sister is single and the only sadness I feel for her is that it seems like that’s all people care about. It’s frustrating when we go out and people ask her when she’s getting married and about children. She is so much more than that, but no one seems to see it. What about her job, goals, hobbies?

  6. Radley says:

    She looks good. Martina too. They’ve been around forever. Bless.

    Everybody needs to learn to enjoy the pleasure of their own company as well as taking responsibility for your own life. It’s great to be a friend and ally to yourself. It never occurs to some people that this is important.

    • Christin says:

      I posted a similar thought above, before reading yours. No matter what your relationship status, at some point we will need to have confidence in and comfort with ourselves. A good friend or SO cannot be with us every minute, for support or to help us figure out our next steps.

  7. Mannori says:

    “When you add another person in the mix some of your personal goals and pursuits can get pushed aside for the relationship”
    Interesting how only WOMEN seem to have this problem. MEN definitely don’t dream of even raising this question to themselves. is always and exclusively all about THEM.

    • A Croatian says:

      Women go around thinking “we”. And the “we” men think about is “me and my d*ck”.
      That’s the best quote I ever heard on SATC, Samantha at her finest. :D

  8. Pam_L says:

    I love Chris Evert! Her last French Open Final (that she won) against Martina is one of the best all-time matches. Even Martina was shaking her head in surprised wonder after the match. Chrissy was married to British tennis star John Lloyd at the time and she said she was so in the zone and was moving purely on instinct during the last 10 or 15 minutes of the match that she couldn’t recall anything from that time-block when the match was over. She said she kept asking John “Okay, so what happened next?” :)

  9. Jayna says:

    I think she had a midlife crisis with the Norman affair. It’ good that she didn’t jump into something else without reflection after the Norman marriage ended. She had regrets several years back. Andy had moved on and remarried. But it sounds like she’s in a good place now.

    An old interview:

    ““I was with Andy for 18 years,” the mother of three tells the latest issue of US Elle. “It was a good, solid marriage. When we were growing apart, I should have nailed it right then and there, and communicated, but I didn’t.

    “And when someone came into my life, I just left. I broke a lot of hearts. I broke Andy’s heart and broke my kids’ hearts. And I brought that into my next marriage, those issues that weren’t resolved.”

    She says: “Marriage is up and down. If you sense you’re drifting apart, you’ve got to confront the issue. You can’t wait until five years later, because then it might be too late.”

    Evert, who now runs a tennis academy in Florida and is single, admits that ending the whirlwind romance with her ex-husband’s friend left her so depressed that at times she could not get out of bed.

    Six-times US Open winner Evert was married to Norman, 56, for 18 months after she left Mill, but they divorced in December 2009. She says the seeds of that break-up were sewn during the collapse of her marriage to Mill under the strain of raising three children along with their frequent, separate travel commitments.

    Friends suggested she and Mill see a marriage counsellor but Evert refused: “I’d go, ‘God, can’t you figure out your own problems?’”

    By the time they did seek professional help it was too late. She and Norman had already started what she insists was a platonic affair.

    Evert and Norman’s union seemed doomed from the start. Evert says: “My priority was my kids. His priority was to build his business and travel.”

    She says after her marriage to ­Norman failed she thought about the hurt and the pain she had caused Mill, whom she described as “my husband and best friend and soulmate”.

    “My conscience and my guilt and my grief kicked in,” she said. “I was a little bit of a mess then.”

    • Christin says:

      I remember reports of how sad Andy was when she left him. I think Norman’s wife was just mad.

      One of their mutual acquaintances was quoted at the time as saying it was likely going to be hard for two egos to survive in marriage (speaking of Chris and Greg).

      It’s good that she realizes the pain caused, but it’s hard to forget how public this was. She and Norman were OTT about their great love story as two families were clearly in pain.

    • tracking says:

      How sad. It’s nice to see someone be so honest about the process, pain, and their role in it though.

    • Danielle says:

      That whole situation was a mess.

  10. Cinderella says:

    Wow, Greg didn’t waste any time marrying someone else right after their divorce. A younger woman, no less.

    I remember seeing his first wife at a golf tournament years ago and envying her jewelry. Her tennis bracelet had the biggest diamonds I’d seen in a tennis bracelet. But then I later heard that Greg’s jeweler had sold him a lot of jewelry with fake stones, so that was that.

  11. Jaded says:

    I was single for 10 years. I think I’d reached relationship burn-out. From the time I was in my twenties to my early fifties I’d gone through getting my broken BADLY a few times, breaking a few myself, getting into a long-term relationship with someone who was a great guy at the start but after 12 years he’d turned into a selfish, arrogant, deceitful jerk (a litigation lawyer…go figure). I could write a book. At 62 I reunited with someone who broke my heart when I was in my late twenties. I wasn’t seeing anyone, he was divorced (the woman he dumped me for turned out to be batshit crazy and he endured a miserable marriage for the sake of their kid) and so we got back together. It just felt right. But I never once felt sorry for myself or lonely, I have a great group of friends and always seemed to be busy and fulfilled. It’s OK to not jump immediately into another relationship just to stave off loneliness. You can learn a lot about yourself in solitude and when the time is right you’ll be a better partner when the right person comes along.

  12. Lena horne says:

    She has cheated on all her husbands

  13. Ozogirl says:

    There are times I wish I had a companion, but 90% of the time, I’m happy to be single. I like being in control of my life, finances and home. It’s not for everyone, but I think those who are dependent on relationships should try being single for at least 6 months if only to learn more about themselves.