The woman suspected of being Vladimir Putin’s ‘secret girlfriend’ once coyly revealed she’d met her ‘ideal man’.
Olympic gymnast Alina Kabaeva, 39, and the Russian president have never publicly confirmed their relationship but it's widely believed that they live together in a palace guarded by the FSO security service in Valdai, and that they even share at least two children.
Although neither she nor Putin have shared their relationship status with the public, an unearthed interview shows Kabaeva reveal that she has a boyfriend who was a ‘very good man’.
In the interview, which was filmed 15 years ago, Kabaeva was asked: "You said you had a boyfriend? Why aren’t you in a rush to marry him? Are you afraid of happiness? Who is he?"
To which she responded: "So you’ve managed to ask this question, well done you. As for being scared of happiness, sometimes I am so happy I am scared to be that happy. Of course, there are some concerns…"
She was then asked: "And who [is he]?"
And replied: "A man, a very good man, a great man. I love him very much.”
The then 25-year-old was asked if she would ever be able to 'take a husband away from a family'. Putin was married to Lyudmila Shkrebneva at the time.
Replying to the question, she said: “I think not. Let me comment. Life is complicated, and speaking about a married man.
“If there are issues in a family and a man is looking at another woman, and is communicating with another woman and not with his wife, it means the problem has already happened, and there wouldn’t be anything good in this family.”
Putin married Shkrebneva in 1983 and the pair had two daughters: Mariya and Yekaterina.
In an interview for Putin’s 2000 book First Person: An Astonishingly Frank Self-Portrait by Russia's President, Shkrebneva recalled how they met and admitted she wasn’t exactly bowled over after going on a double date and being matched with a ‘poorly-dressed’ Putin, but the pair kept in touch and later fell in love.
Despite their somewhat slow burn, the couple remained married until 2014, when the Kremlin announced their divorce had been finalised.
However, rumours about a relationship with Kabaeva have swirled since 2008, with reports claiming she gave birth in 2015 and again in 2019. According to a Swiss media outlet, Kabaeva and Putin have two sons.
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Topics: Vladimir Putin