Richard Williams: Where is Serena and Venus’ Dad Now?

Richard Williams//Image Credit: Good Morning Britain /YouTube

The world of Tennis broadly recognizes sisters Venus and Serena Williams as two of the best players of all time— with numerous achievements and accolades to their name. The Williams sisters, in turn, recognize the contribution of their parents, Richard Williams and Oracene Price, in the making of their successful careers. Richard, who coached his daughters and brought them all the way from Campton, California, to West Palm Beach, Florida, designing their paths to Wimbledon, was brought to the big screen in the film ‘King Richard.’

With Will Smith delivering an Oscar-winning performance as Richard Williams, the film charts the story of the Williams sisters’ rise to fame, highlighting their father’s significant role in the same. Therefore, as the film depicts Richard’s past hard work, it’s only natural for the film to leave viewers wondering about the man’s current situation.

Richard Williams: Poor Health Condition and Ongoing Divorce

Richard Williams remained an early coach and trainer in his daughters, Venus and Serena’s lives through their childhood and well into their professional careers. Nevertheless, by the mid-2010s, the man’s health started to decline, marking his notable absences from some of the sisters’ games. 2016 brought a medical emergency for the man in the form of two strokes that significantly aggravated his brain’s health. Thus, Richard’s withdrawal from the Williams sisters’ professional careers furthered with reports citing damage to his speaking abilities. Furthermore, trouble arose in his personal life, too.

Richard Williams//Image Credit: CNN/YouTube

After divorcing Oracene Price in 2002, his then-wife of 22 years and mother of Venus and Serena, Richard remarried in 2010. However, 2017 marked another divorce filing for the man to his third wife, Lakeisha Juanita Graham. Nevertheless, the process hasn’t been easy for either party. After seven years of marriage, Richard sought to separate from Lakeisha— with whom he has a son, Dylan— with the claim that she had forged deed transfer papers and stolen his Social Security checks. Furthermore, there were also claims of Lakeisha transferring his Florida home to her own name.

Inversely, Lakeisha, around 37 years younger than the man, alleges that Richard forced her and her son out of the Florida home with a written warning from Serena Williams’ legal team. In June of 2018, Richard and his son from another relationship, Chavoita LeSane— who possesses his father’s power of attorney— filed for restraining orders against the woman. Nonetheless, things took a turn in the coming years.

On June 9, 2023, Lakeisha filed for their divorce to be dismissed on the belief of their shared reconciliation— born from their “regular weekly sexual relations.” The woman further highlighted Richard’s love and commitment to their family. She also cited “influence from third parties” as the sole reason behind Richard’s inclination to separate from her, certain that the alluded third party would want to prevent her from any inheritance upon Richard’s future passing. Yet, on August 21, Richard filed documents asserting his continued wish for a divorce from Lakeisha. “I do not wish to reconcile,” the man commented.

Even so, despite Richard’s unwillingness to stay married to Lakeisha, he continues to co-parent pre-teen Dylan. Ultimately, the court has deferred Richard’s motion, suggesting the couple should work out how they plan to proceed in the future. Therefore, things remain uncertain for the pair.

Alternatively, Richard’s ongoing issues with his health also remain a source of conflict in his life. Since his health started declining in 2016, his neurological condition continued to worsen. By 2018, his son, Chavoita LeSane, received power of attorney and started acting as his translator. After experiencing more strokes, the man had to undergo brain surgery. Although his recovery has been successful, Richard still faces some ill effects, mostly related to his communication skills. Nevertheless, his condition also steadily improves with time as he continues his residence in Atlanta.

Richard Williams Shares a Good Relationship With His Kids

Over the course of three marriages and multiple relationships, Richard Williams has fathered multiple kids and continues to be a part of their lives. His relationship with Venus and Serena— the most public aspect of his family life— remains well-documented, given his dedicated role in their professional careers. Even after the father stopped making regular appearances at the sisters’ respective games, he remained a steady part of their lives. Over the years, both Venus and Serena have shared tidbits of their relationship with their father on social media channels.

Furthermore, the release of ‘King Richard’ brought up certain conversations around the real-life Richard’s family life and parenting methods. Venus and Serena Williams accepted titles of Executive Producers on the film after their first viewing, showcasing their approvals of Richard’s on-screen depiction. Serena Williams spoke to Forbes about the same and said, “I think it [King Richard] was a great opportunity to see how amazing African-American fathers are. A lot of Black men aren’t seen in that light. And a lot of people think that my dad was a different character. He wanted us to have fun first over anything. That’s the thing that I loved most.”

Likewise, in a conversation with ABC News, Venus Williams shared her own opinion— and said, “People didn’t understand him [Richard Williams], but I think that it didn’t take long for people to realize that this is a guy who’s for his family, for his daughters, ride or die, no matter what.” Similarly, Chavoita LeSane — Richard’s other kid who has spoken publicly about his father — continues to have only nice things to say about him. Thus, despite the tumultuous ups and downs in Richard’s life, the man continues to be happy in his personal relationships with his kids.

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