Who Was Arthur Ashe’s Wife or Was He Gay?

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe was the wife of Arthur Ashe, the late American professional tennis player. They were married from 1977 to 1993. Arthur Ashe was not gay.

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe is an American photographer and activist known for her work in newspapers, magazines, and photography books. Both Jeanne and her late husband, Ashe, were famous and popular in their own right. As long as their marriage lasted, the former couple lived together happily as husband and wife with their adopted daughter. Their union only came to an end with the death of the tennis player.

Who Was Arthur Ashe’s Wife?

Arthur Ashe’s wife was Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe. She is an American photographer and activist born on 9th July 1951 in Chicago, Illinois, United States of America. She is an American national with an African-American heritage and mixed Indo-Guadeloupean. 

Jeanne is 73 years old as of 2024. Her husband, Arthur, was born on 10th July 1943 and died on 6th February 1993 at the age of 49.

Arthur Ashe's wife, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe
Arthur Ashe’s wife, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, image source

Before his death, Arthur Ashe became one of the greatest in sports history. Talking about tennis, he was the epitome of excellence. Ashe started his tennis career in high school and was the first black player selected to the United States Davis Cup team. He was the only black man ever to win the singles titles at Wimbledon, the Australian Open, and the US Open.

In 1975, he won The Martini and Rossi Award and the ATP Player of the Year. Before he retired in 1980, he won three Grand Slam titles. Ashe participated in the American Davis Cup team during their title-winning runs in 1963, 1968, 1969, and 1970.
Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe was Arthur Ashe’s Wife for 16 Years
Arthur Ashe and his wife Jeanne Moutoussamy got married on 20th February 1977, and their marriage lasted for 16 years. The former couple met for the first time in October 1976 at a United Negro College Fund benefit. At that time, Jeanne was working for WNBC and WNEW as a photojournalist in New York, while Ashe already had an established career as a tennis player. They were 26 and 34 years old, respectively.

Arthur Jeanne dated for just a couple of months, and on 20th February 1977, they tied the knot in the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City. Their wedding ceremony was officiated by Andrew Young, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and it was a private occasion.

Meanwhile, when they were a couple, the internet had not yet become as common as it is today, so details of their relationship and marriage timeline were not documented. Ashe and Jeanne did not have any children together, but nine years into their marriage, in December 1986, they adopted a daughter named Camera Moutoussamy. There is no public information about Camera, but it is believed she is living a successful life.

image source

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe’s Net Worth

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe’s net worth is estimated between $1 and $1.5 million as of 2024. Meanwhile, before his death, her husband had a net worth of $4 million. 

Moutoussamy built her fortune from her career as a photographer and activist. She also works as an advocate for injustice and is an AIDS activist. Over the years, Jeanne has given quite a lot to the photography world.

She was born into a family where her parents, John Warren Moutoussamy and Elizabeth Rose Hunt Moutoussamy, were in art-oriented fields. While her mother was an interior designer, her father was an architect. They were the ones that encouraged her from an early age to pursue art. 

Jeanne, therefore, started her formal training at the Art Institute of Chicago at eight and later bagged a degree in Photography from The Cooper Union School of Art.

She graduated in 1975 and landed her first job as a graphic designer, artist, and photojournalist for WNBC-TV. In October 1976, she was hired to take photographs at the United Negro College Fund tennis event, and that was where she met Ashe. Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe also taught photography courses at high schools, colleges, and other educational and cultural institutions.

Jeanne was inclined towards African and African American art thanks to her career, and her photographs contain strong narrative elements. As an activist and civic leader, Arthur Ashe’s wife has served as a former trustee of her alma mater, a one-time Alternate Representative of the United States to the United Nations, and the director of the Arthur Ashe Endowment for the Defeat of AIDS.

Where is Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe Today?

Jeanne Moutoussamy currently lives in New York City, United States. She keeps her personal life private, so nothing much is known in that regard, including whether or not she remarried after the death of Ashe. Jeanne is advanced in age now and is no longer very active in her career. 

Regardless, her impact on photography has been felt and can never be forgotten.

Was Arthur Ashe Gay?

No, Arthur Ashe was not gay. His sexual orientation was straight. The fact that he was married to a woman until his death also defies the rumors of him being gay. However, some people claim that he only got married in a bid to hide his true sexual identity. Exactly how, when, and what started his gay rumors has remained a mystery.

However, one seeming evidence cited to support that Ashe was gay was in the book Days of Grace, which he co-authored with writer Arnold Rampersad. In the book, although he did not mention his sexual orientation, Ashe talked about some personal issues and his battle with AIDS, which many people went on to interpret to suit their claims.

Again, rumors about Ashe’s relationship with other men also made rounds. The late tennis player had a very close relationship with Doctor Walter Lob, who was openly a gay man, leading to further speculations about his sexuality. However, despite all the rumors, there is no substantial evidence to prove that Arthur Ashe was gay.

Meanwhile, Ashe was a strong supporter and advocate of the LGBTQ+ community and was very vocal about it. This seems to contradict the rumors, as many are of the thought that it is unlikely for someone who is secretly gay to be openly supportive of LGBTQ+ rights. Ashe never addressed this rumor, but his wife, Jeanne, believed he was heterosexual and that their marriage was genuine.

How Did Arthur Ashe Get AIDS?

According to records, Arthur Ashe contracted HIV/AIDS from a blood transfusion for an open-heart surgery. He learned about it in 1988, and at that time, AIDS was still heavily stigmatized. So, he kept his diagnosis a secret until 1992, when USA Today reached out to him, saying it was about to break the story. Eventually, on 8th April, Ashe, alongside his wife, came forward at a press conference. Sadly, he died barely one year later, on 6th February 1993, from AIDS-related pneumonia.


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