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Is King Richard Based On A True Story?

Laura Sanders

Published 
| Last updated 

Is King Richard Based On A True Story?

King Richard, which stars Will Smith, has recently won an Oscar for Best Actor and has been deemed the 'biggest biopic of 2021.'

Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men), King Richard tells the true story of tennis champions Venus Williams (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena Williams (Demi Singleton) and their father, Richard (Will Smith).

However, the athletes aren't actually at the centre of this biopic, which explores how the girls rose to stardom and left their mark on women's tennis forever.

Their success was actually down to Richard and this film is an ode to him. You can check out the trailer below:

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What is King Richard about?

King Richard centres around the Williams sisters' father, Richard Williams, and his influence on their tennis careers.

Richard trained his two girls from a young age, who would become not just world champions, but timeless icons for women in the sport. But here's the surprising element: Richard never played tennis himself. His drive and determination to train his daughters in the sport weren't born from a love for the game, but a need for money.

Richard wanted his children to be successful and decided tennis was the way to go after seeing pro female tennis player Virginia Ruzici had won $40,000 during a tournament, he told Q on CBC back in 2014.

Who is Richard Williams?

Born on 14th April 1942 in Louisiana, Richard Williams was one of five children, but the only child of Julia Mae Metcalf.

When he saw the success of pro-female tennis player Virginia Ruzici, he had some tennis lessons from a guy nicknamed "Old Whiskey" and decided his future kids would be tennis players.

When Venus and Serena were just four-and-a-half years old, Richard started to teach them how to play tennis and reportedly wrote out an 85-page training plan. At one point, the girls were in a tennis academy, but Williams pulled them out in 1995 to teach them himself.

Who is Richard Williams' wife?

Richard Williams has been married three times and has nine biological children, as well as several stepchildren. Venus and Serena were born in his second marriage to Oracene Price.

Between 1965-1973, Richard was married to Betty Johnson, who he met after moving to California. They had five children together: Sabrina, Richard III, Ronner, Reluss, and Reneeka, before they divorced in 1973. Betty had an older daughter, Katrina, who helped to raise her young siblings.

In 1979, Richard met Oracene 'Brandy' Price, who is the mother of Serena and Venus Williams. Oracene had three daughters by her deceased husband when she met Richard. They married in 1980 and they lived in Compton, California. Venus was born the same year and Serena was born in 1981. Oracene and Richard got divorced in 2002.

In 2010, Richard got married for the third time to a woman named Lakeisha Juanita Graham. Lakeisha was a grocery store owner and is one year older than Venus Williams. Richard and Lakeisha had one son together, Dylan, in 2012. In July 2016, it was reported that Richard suffered a series of strokes, aged 74 at the time. Richard and Lakeisha got divorced in 2017.

As Serena and Venus's careers progressed, Richard began to take a back seat and turned to other interests such as photography. The film documents his journey as a tennis coach as well as delving more into the family's life off the tennis court.

Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Topics: Serena Williams, TV and Film, Will Smith

Laura Sanders
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