Serena Williams is speaking out in support of her friend, Meghan Markle. During the debut episode of Stuart Weitzman’s Shine Series, the 39-year-old tennis pro called the Duchess of Sussex “the strongest person I know.”
Serena’s comments come after Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, sat down for a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey. During the sit-down, the couple claimed that one royal family member expressed “concerns” over their son, Archie’s, skin color before he was born, Meghan revealed she had been suicidal, and Harry alleged that his father, Prince Charles, had stopped taking his calls.
“Meghan is a great person and I think the epitome of strength, the epitome of confidence, the epitome of just selflessness, and the epitome of everything is just her and everything that she’s gone through,” Serena said. “I know it’s not easy, and you can see from the interview that it wasn’t easy, but she had so much poise and she still had so much class.”
Serena added that she doesn’t “know anyone else that could handle everything on such a global scale the way that she’s had to handle things that are just untrue — minute after minute. Not even day after day. Just minute after minute, just another untrue allegation being thrown at her.”
Following the interview, Serena expressed support for Meghan on Instagram, something she chose to do because “I think it was important for me to say something because I’m tired of sitting back and seeing all this negativity that’s just not true.”
In Serena’s post, the athlete wrote a note to Meghan directly, saying, “I am so proud of you for being so brave. I know it is never easy. You are so strong — both you and Harry. I love you. I adore you.”
She also shared a lengthier statement, writing, “Meghan Markle, my selfless friend, lives her life — and leads by example — with empathy and compassion.”
“She teaches me every day what it means to be truly noble,” Serena wrote. “Her words illustrate the pain and cruelty she’s experienced. I know first had the sexism and racism institutions and the media use to vilify women and people of color to minimize us, to break us down and demonize us.”
“We must recognize our obligation to decry malicious, unfounded gossip and tabloid journalism. The mental health consequences of systemic oppression and victimization are devastating, isolating and all too often lethal,” she continued. “I want Meghan’s daughter, my daughter and your daughter to live in a society that is driven by respect.”
Watch the video below for more on Meghan and Harry.