LOVE MATCH by Sandra Faulkner


Nelson vs. Navratilova
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 Former Texas beauty-queen Nelson tells--as written by sociologist Faulkner--of her eight-year affair with tennis great Martina Navratilova, as well as of the pair's litigious breakup and eventual out-of-court settlement. Nelson (a ``latter-day Doris Day,'' according to Rita Mae Brown's foreword), mother of two and married for 17 years, was introduced to the Czech superstar in 1982 by Nelson's 11-year-old son, Eddie. Nelson and Navratilova met again in 1984, and the mutual attraction proved so great that Nelson consulted a psychiatrist. Even so, the tennis star moved in with the Nelson family while recovering from an injury. The details of what happened next aren't made clear, but Nelson's husband, increasingly aware of the pair's relationship, asked Navratilova to leave--and Nelson went with her, as her lover, traveling companion, and ``maid'' (Nelson later told 20/20's Barbara Walters that Navratilova paid her $90,000 a year for her services). The couple finally exchanged rings and vows in an empty church in Brisbane, Australia, and they later videotaped a ``nonmarital cohabitation agreement'' that became the focal point of the litigation when they split up. Since homosexuality is illegal in Texas, and a court cannot enforce a contract to perform an illegal act, all parties were on unsure ground during the legal battle. Nelson charged not only breach of contract but claimed that she was entitled to the same rights as any spouse: half of all earnings garnered during the marriage. Navratilova countered that she thought she was agreeing only to a 50-50 split of any joint business venture. The couple's businesses and real estate were divided up, but Nelson offers absolutely no details of the final agreement other than to note that her desire to write this book was one of the sticking points. Numerous questions go begging in the emotion-laden, self- serving text--making this hardly the work by which to judge Navratilova, the pair's relationship, or, for that matter, Nelson herself. (Illustrations)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1993
ISBN: 1-55972-157-X
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Birch Lane Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1993


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