In case you’ve been on an intense social media break and you haven’t heard, Real Housewives of Miami is back, baby. That means the return of fan favourites like Alexia Echevarria, Lisa Hochstein and Larsa Pippen, but it also means some fresh faces in the form of newcomers Guerdy Abraira, Dr. Nicole Martin and the franchise’s first lesbian housewife, Julia Lemigova.
We wanted to learn more about Julia so we did what any Housewives-obsessed fan would do: we uncovered everything there is to know about her. Here are 10 things we found out about the fascinating personality, whom we can’t wait to learn more about when the revived show makes its debut December 21.
She has a famous wife
If you don’t yet know Julia, odds are you know her wife, tennis legend Martina Navratilova. The pair have been married since 2014, but it’s the story of the proposal that warms our hearts. Martina popped the question at Arthur Ashe Stadium during the U.S. Open, in front of the entire crowd. It’s a good thing Julia said yes—that would have been a lot of people to publicly disappoint!
They met at a dinner party
Julia and Martina first met at a dinner party in Paris, where Julia was living and modelling. But it wasn’t until 14 years later that they reconnected at a restaurant. The women started out as friends, but before long, romance blossomed and the rest, as they say, is history.
She was the last ever Miss USSR to compete at Miss Universe
Julia, who celebrates her 50th birthday next summer, has a pretty involved past with the world of beauty pageants. Not only was she a runner-up at the 1991 Miss Universe contest, but she was also the last person to ever hold the title of Miss USSR before the Soviet union collapsed in December 1991. True, Ilmira Shamsutdinova was technically crowned Miss USSR after Julia, but by the time Ilmira competed at Miss Universe, she’d been renamed Miss Russia.
Her son died when he was five months old
It seems like Julia has had to overcome a lot in her life, including the tragic time she lost a child. According to The Daily Mail, Julia gave birth in 1999 to a son with French banker Edouard Stern (the pair had an affair). Five months later the baby died of internal injuries. Julia had hired a new Bulgarian nanny, whom she believes to be responsible, but the nanny disappeared shortly after the devastating loss.
Her former lover was murdered
Speaking of Stern, he too was tragically killed roughly five years after his son died. The man was engaging in a bonding session with his lover Cécile Brossard at the time of his death. According to reports, Brossard helped Stern into a latex bodysuit and tied him to a chair before shooting him four times. Reportedly, he’d frozen her million-dollar bank account, and she killed him in what was later described as a crime of passion. In 2009, Brossard was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison.
Julia has two daughters
Having had such a public relationship, we can forgive Julia for wanting to keep some of her personal life private. So while we know she has two daughters, Victoria and Emma, the world at large has no idea who their fathers are. All we know is that they’re from two previous relationships, and it seems like Julia has no desire to drag either of the men into the spotlight.
She speaks multiple languages
As you’d expect, Julia speaks Russian and English. But she also speaks a bit of Czech and fluent French. Her household reflects those languages as well: In an interview with Eurosport back in 2015, Julia revealed that her daughters speak French to each other, English to Martina, and Russian to her.
Related: The secret language of flight attendants.
She has farm animals
Curious how Julia spends her spare time (well, aside from filming a new reality show, that is)? Turns out she has a little farm where she likes to milk her goats and feed her chickens. Those aren’t the only animals she takes care of though; she also cats, dogs, turtles and, if her Instagram page is to believed, possibly a parrot.
She ran a successful business
After Julia quit modelling she ventured in the world of beauty with a skincare line, which she then parlayed into a luxury spa in Paris. Although she no longer oversees either of those things, it’s safe to say she has the same visions of growth and expansion that have made so many other housewives beloved in their time.
She’s already making things interesting
This past summer, while filming on RHOM was underway, news outlets got wind of a medical emergency involving one of the cast members. As it turns out, the call went out for Julia, who started feeling sick while in Montauk, NY during a group trip. Later outlets reported that she was just overheated and got too much sun, but you can bet all of the drama—and plenty more featuring the newest housewife—will air in full when the show returns.
Watch the two-episode season 4 premiere of The Real Housewives of Miami December 21 at 9 ET/PT, and stream all your favourite Slice shows through STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels, or with the new Global TV app, live and on-demand.