Tennis star Maria Sharapova has announced that she and her fiancé Alexander Gilkes are expecting their first child together.
In an Instagram post shared with her 4.2 million fans, the retired tennis champion announced the news on her 35th birthday.
In a sweet snap shared on line, Maria can be seen with her hands placed on her growing baby bump in a picturesque beach setting while celebrating her birthday on a white-sanded beach, which she described as "paradise".
The soon-to-be mum penned, "Precious beginnings!!! Eating birthday cake for two has always been my speciality."
Maria sparked pregnancy rumours earlier this month when she was spotted in Malibu, California, seemingly hiding her baby bump behind a brown coat, and has now confirmed the lovely news.
Alexander and Maria began dating in 2018 and were engaged in December 2020, two years later.
The special baby announcement comes after the British businessman proposed to Maria with a stunning £300,000 engagement ring.
Maria gushed in a post at the time, "I said yes from the first day we met" aside a red heart emoji. She added, "This was our little secret, wasn't it @gilkesa."
Alexander wrote a post dedicated to his future wife, thanking her for, "Making me a very very happy boy and saying yes."
Maria revealed to MSN.com in September 2021 that the couple "haven't set a date" to tie the knot due to the coronavirus pandemic's "numerous uncertainties".
She explained, "We actually haven't discussed it yet because we want our friends and family to be comfortable in an environment and not feel like they have to attend something."
Maria's life has changed dramatically in the last two years, including her decision to retire from tennis in February 2020.
The athlete said in a statement to Vanity Fair that she was "saying goodbye" to the sport that made her a powerhouse.
In a heartfelt message Maria said, "How do you leave behind the only life you've ever known? How do you walk away from the courts you've trained on since you were a little girl, the game that you love – one which brought you untold tears and unspeakable joys – a sport where you found a family, along with fans who rallied behind you for more than 28 years?
"I'm new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis – I'm saying goodbye."
Since December 2020, Kudzai Chibaduki has worked as a trainee journalist at FUTURE, capturing all fashion, entertainment, and beauty content for the Lifestyle websites, as well as contributing to the shopping sections for Goodto.com's widely read online magazine. Kudzai previously worked as a freelance fashion wardrobe stylist, directing magazine photoshoots and coordinating the fashion direction of recording artists.
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