Bille Jean King reveals details of her secret wedding to partner Ilana Kloss

The tennis pro announced she and her partner, Ilana Kloss, had a private ceremony back in 2018

Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss attend the 2021 Sports Humanitarian Awards on July 12, 2021 in New York City.
(Image credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Tennis legend Billie Jean King has revealed that she and her former doubles partner, Ilana Kloss, secretly got married in 2018.

In her new memoir titled “All In,” which was released on Tuesday, August 17, the 20-time Wimbledon champion gets candid about her relationship with Kloss. Among the details she shares is the news that her and her partner held a private wedding ceremony back in 2018.

Former professional tennis players Ilana Kloss (L) and Billie Jean King attend The Women For Women International's Luncheon at 583 Park Avenue on May 2, 2017 in New York City.

(Image credit: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)

For over 40 years, King and Kloss have been together labelling themselves “life partners” and wearing each other's rings, according to an interview King did with People (opens in new tab). Friends had been pushing the two to tie the knot for years, including Elton John who even offered to sing at the wedding. King and Kloss chose to just enjoy being with one another privately.  

"Elton [John] had run to the altar with David Furnish soon after same-sex marriage was legalized in the U.K., and he started nudging Ilana and me to consider it. He even offered to sing at our wedding if we’d take the plunge," she wrote in her memoir.

That all changed on October 18, 2018 when the couple held a secret wedding ceremony on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The ceremony was held in former New York mayor David Dinkins apartment–who also married the two. Besides the brides, only Dinkins, his wife Joyce Dinkins, and an aide were in attendance to serve as witnesses.


"Nobody threw rice or smashed wedding cake in the other's face," she wrote. "One of the brides wore jeans and a lovely red scarf and the other had on a black shirt, a comfortable warm‑up suit, and pearls—ha!—a personal touch of glamour that Ilana still teases me about."

Not even their close friends were aware of the marriage, until they received advanced copies of her memoir. The two made the decision to keep their nuptials a secret so that they could have something to share with just each other.

“So much of our life has been public, keeping this private was something special we could hold on to, just for us," People reported King saying. The autobiography is available next month at all major retailers.

"All In: An Autobiography" by Billie Jean King $30 $23.99 (opens in new tab) (£13.69 (opens in new tab)) | Amazon

Learn the story behind the legendary tennis player Billie Jean King as she recounts her life leading to the groundbreaking "Battle of the Sexes." The book is available for purchase in the U.S. on August 17 and can be preordered in the U.K. for its September 29 release.

Rylee is a U.S. news writer who previously worked for woman&home and My Imperfect Life covering lifestyle, celebrity, and fashion news. Before joining woman&home and My Imperfect Life, Rylee studied journalism at Hofstra University where she explored her interests in world politics and magazine writing. From there, she dabbled in freelance writing covering fashion and beauty e-commerce for outlets such as the TODAY show, American Spa Magazine, First for Women, and Woman’s World.