Today Show: Jimmy Connors Memoir & Chris Evert Abortion Controversy

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Kathie Lee & Hoda: Jimmy Connors Memoir

Tennis legend Jimmy Connors stopped by the show on May 10th to speak with Kathie Lee and Hoda about his memoir The Outsider. He made headlines for his abilites on the court, and his personal life. In his memoir The Outsider, he wrote very candidly about his life on and off the court. Jimmy won Kathie Lee and Hoda’s affection by bringing each a bottle of wine and wishing them a happy Mother’s Day.

Kathie Lee & Hoda: Jimmy Connors’ Mother Inspired Him

Today Show: Jimmy Connors Memoir & Chris Evert Abortion Controversy

Jimmy Connors caused a stir when he wrote candidly about his life. (s_bukley / Shutterstock.com)

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They began the interview by talking about his mother, Gloria Conners, who took some heat for being his coach back in the day. As opposed to other athletes who had their fathers support, it was a bit controversial for a mother to be her son’s coach. It was the first time that many people had seen that, and she was a pioneer in that way.

Early in the book, his mother’s dedication is showcased when she got assaulted while she was teaching Jimmy, only eight at the time, and one of his brothers. The very next day after the assault, she was back to teaching tennis. “She set a very good precedent at the very beginning,” Jimmy said of his mother. “That kind of set the stage for me and how I continued to live my life…She got up the very next day and played tennis with her sons.”

Kathie Lee & Hoda: Jimmy Connors & Chris Evert

In the memoir, Jimmy reveals, albeit subtlely, that his ex-fiancee, Chris Evert,  had an abortion very early on in their relationship. Hoda defined it as very controversial. Jimmy describes the situation in his book as “…an issue had arisen as a result of youthful passion  and a decision had to be made as a couple.” He wrote that he was willing to let “nature take its course,” but Chris was not willing to carry the pregnancy to term.

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He didn’t use the word abortion, but it was very clear what he was talking about. On the choice to include it in the memoir, Jimmy said “we were young and we had a decision to make…I’m happy to stay by that decision…It was part of my life.”

Kathie Lee & Hoda: Chris Evert Abortion?

Chris, however, made her displeasure at the inclusion of this detail known. In response to this part of the book, Chris Evert made a statement, saying “I am extremely disappointed that he used the book to misrepresent a private matter that took place more than 40 years ago, and made it public without my knowledge.”  Jimmy said about her statement, that he could understand why she would be upset at this.

“I can understand her disappointment,” he said.

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