Serena Williams and big sister Venus may be the most well-known of the Williams children, but they’re certainly not the only kids their parents have. Their mother, Oracene Price, had late sister Yetunde, as well as sisters Lyndrea and Isha from a past marriage. As for father Richard Williams, he has quite a few children outside of just Serena, 38, and Venus, 39 that he had outside of Oracene. Before meeting and marrying Oracene, he was married to a woman named Betty Johnson and they had five children together. The couple, married in 1965, also shared a child from a previous relationship of Betty’s before they split in 1973. One of those kids, eldest child Sabrina Williams, is now speaking out about the indiscretions of her dad, and about the tennis ace sisters she barely knows.
“I know there’s more siblings, I was told between fifteen and nineteen all over the place, from LA to Louisiana,” she said in an interview with the UK’s SunOnline about all of her brothers and sisters. “My mom always argued with my dad about his affairs, he was a serial cheat. I remember that was always the main thing they’d talk about.”
“He is a selfish man, lives only for himself, he just uses his kids to get what he needs,” she added. “He’s not a dad, he was just a sperm donor.”
Sabrina, 55, who is estranged from her father, claims he said he was going out to run an errand and never came back to care for her or her five other siblings when she was young.
“I was eight when my dad left and said he was getting a bike for me and that’s the last I saw of him,” she said. “My mom told me later that he’s never coming back. We went from having everything to nothing. The best dresses, parties, we’d go places. Now there was no new shoes or clothes. I thought I was dad’s favorite and he loved me to death.”
“But once he left, within a year, we became very poor,” she added. “There wasn’t always meals on the table. We went downhill.”
Her mom struggled with six kids and allegedly took out her stress and anger on those children. Sabrina claims that her mother would beat her over small annoyances. She eventually moved out once she became a young adult and was sick of the abuse. She lived in her car for months. As for her relationship with Richard, she claims she saw him once when she was 10 and they spoke again one other time when she was in college.
“Somehow I got hold of my dad through a relative and asked for $1,000 to pay some of the college bill at Hope Christian University,” she told the publication. “He said he’d only give me the money as a loan. That’s when I knew he was an a–hole.”
“After college, I was done with my dad,” she added. “He had never paid any child support and all he wanted to give me was a loan.”
After years of estrangement, she heard that her baby sisters Venus and Serena were blowing up on the tennis scene as junior players. The then young adult had no connection to them but pretended that she did.
“Everything around them was always hush-hush. If ever I was round at a relative’s house, it would be all quiet, like I was a spy,” she said. “I think they did that as I was my dad’s first child, they didn’t want me to know what was really going on.”
“I’d say I was still in contact with my dad, we went on vacations, but it was a lie,” she added. “The unwritten law in our family: you don’t speak bad about the girls, who were then living in Compton.”
Sabrina would end up meeting her sisters by accident when they were teenagers, bumping into her father at the same time for the first time in a very long time.
“I didn’t meet Serena and Venus until I bumped into them by complete chance at Knott’s Berry Farm, a theme park in California, when they were teenagers. I was with my work colleagues and I saw him and thought: ‘Hey, that looks like my dad,'” she said. “I went over, we exchanged hellos, and we hung out for an hour, that was it. He gave me his number and told me to call him, then guess what? The number he gave me was [out] of order.”
Things between the two continued to sour after her mother died of cancer. She claims that she tried to get in touch with Richard when her mom needed help paying for treatments but couldn’t get a hold of him, this while Venus and Serena were having success playing professionally. To this day, while she doesn’t hold any of the estrangement she has from her famous baby sisters against them, sometimes she’s hurt that they aren’t connected to her father’s first family in the way they are connected to her mother’s kids.
“I think they’ve done fantastic, they have a lot of pressure from the black community to be role models. I love them as the blood in my family, but I don’t respect some of their decisions,” she said. “If you were about the family, what about your other siblings?”
“If you cared about the world and everything you stand for, then why is your other half-siblings on the cover of Vogue with your baby – and the Williams side of the family aren’t?”
Nevertheless, she says she will never stop loving her father, and also says she’s proud of her sisters.
“In the last year and a half, I’ve now started watching my sisters on TV,” she said. “As their eldest sister I’m proud of them, it’s a mega-feat what they’ve done.”
“I truly believe that because I’ve never been bitter, tried to go for the money, that we can meet somewhere,” she added. “I believe we have time to do that, I hold onto that hope.”