By Alberto Amalfi
© Natasha Peterson
(October 14, 2010) Gavin Rossdale is not just an aspiring tennis player. He's a player.
He is one of the world's most well-known tennis fans, a constant presence in Roger Federer's support box and a consistent competitor on the celebrity tennis circuit. It seems rock star Rossdale gets around off the court as well.
The Bush front man and pop-star wife Gwen Stefani are rock royalty and good friends with Federer and wife Mirka — both Rossdale and Stefani were in Federer's box at the US Open and Wimbledon — and now rumors of Rossdale's status as a player off court are coming out in recent media reports.
Rossdale was long rumored to have had affairs with British pop star Marilyn, who is a man, as a teenager and American rocker Courtney Love, who is wild, and while Rossdale recently confirmed he had a relationship with Marilyn when he was a teenager, he reportedly asked Details Magazine to leave his admission out of the magazine because he had not told Stefani of the affair, the New York Daily News reports.
Rossdale, who had denied the affair with Marilyn since 1995, said he did so out of fear.
"I think at the outset there was a sort of fear — that was right at the beginning of Bush, and I didn't want it to be part of it. It felt like a cheap shot, so I was like, ‘I'm not getting involved,'" Rossdale told Details in its November issue. "I've never wanted to appear closed about it. It's not something I've talked about really because it's always been in the glare of a tabloid world. It's just one of those things: Move on."
After his admission, Rossdale "pleaded with" Detail editors to leave his confession out of the interview because he had not informed Stefani, the New York Daily News reports.
"Gwen didn't know that Gavin and Marilyn were actually involved. Gavin always said before that they were just friends," an unnamed source told the News, "and that's what she believed, until Gavin had to tell her" before she read it in the magazine herself."
Meanwhile Marilyn, who initially denied reports of the affair that first surfaced in Boy George's book, said he did so only to protect Rossdale's reputation.
"I agreed to lie against every grain of my being," Marilyn told In Touch Magazine, adding he wishes Rossdale "could have come to terms with this 15 years ago."
Rossdale is an accomplished recreational player who has hit with Federer, Sam Querrey, Justin Gimelstob, Vince Spadea and Mark Philippoussis, regularly plays pro-ams at the Farmers Classic in L.A. and Chris Evert's annual charity event.
During last month's US Open, Gavin Rossdale told tennis journalist Scoop Malinowski he became a tennis nut watching Wimbledon :
“I grew up playing tennis and just loving it. I used to get a kick out of watching Wimbledon. I think that Wimbledon is a big deal for most British kids. I never thought that I’d end up one day watching a friend of mine play in the final on Centre Court, but that’s exactly what happened. I first met Roger through a mutual friend in New York about six or seven years ago and we’ve since become good friends. Roger is super cool and he has so much respect for everyone. I think that people connect with that quality in him.”
“I like to watch players with flair. Roger, obviously, but almost everyone in the top 100 is pretty good. There are no duds. The athleticism of the top guys is phenomenal. You get the feeling that they could excel in any sport. There’s a real intense artistry in tennis though, and there’s so much passion and commitment. I enjoy the game and appreciate it for what it is.”
“Of the younger players, I like to watchl Ernests Gulbis. Gulbis is a particularly striking player – a crusher. And I think Gael Monfils has lots of potential. I like Andy Murray too. He reminds me a little of John McEnroe. He’s got such great hands and he just sweeps up everything with his returns. He’s an incredibly gifted tennis player and I like his attitude too. Also, the fact that I’m half Scottish makes me especially happy when he does well.”
Interestingly, while tennis has its share of gay women players, including Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, no top 25 male player has ever come out as openly gay during his career.
How would tennis players — and fans — react to an openly gay or bi-sexual top male player?
What are your thoughts?