‘Totally destroyed me’: Star’s sad secret
FORMER Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli has revealed that an abusive ex-partner left her "close to death".
The 33-year-old struggled with weight issues and illness after retiring from the sport following the her grand slam victory at Wimbledon in 2013, The Sun reports.
Bartoli also revealed banned from playing at a legends event in 2016 over fears she could suffer a heart attack.
Now planning a comeback, Bartoli says stepping back on the court is "revenge", to "prove that I am alive."
Bartoli will play an exhibition match in New York on March 7 before entering the Miami Masters.
"I had lost a lot of weight before the virus because of my ex who made me live a life of hell," she told French newspaper L'Equipe.
"When I stopped my career, I was the happiest person in the world.
"Then I met again with my ex-boyfriend again in May 2014 and every day he told me I was fat. Every day.
"He would see a thin girl in the street and he would say to me: 'Did you see how pretty and thin she is?' It didn't help.
"He was such a dickhead. I let someone destroy me and I didn't think that was possible. I let him swallow me.
"On that front, I learned a lot as well. Because of my personality, I accepted things that were unacceptable. I used to tell myself: 'It is not a big deal, not a big deal', but it totally destroyed me. I can no longer live like that.
"It is true I had lost a lot of weight, I had a weakened immune system, I caught something in India that finished me. I was already extremely thin, not to say skinny, but I could not see it.
"Once you have start, it is not easy to stop. After I had stabilised my weight, which was low but stable. But at Wimbledon, it was the lowest of the low. I could not swallow anything.
"At Wimbledon 2016, I will never forget. When the doctor said to me I could not play in the legends event because my heart was so weak and I risked having a heart attack on the court."
She added: "I am so happy when I am on a tennis court and I refound moments of happiness, every day.
"The return is a double process and because of that, it gives me strength and energy. Firstly, it is to leave behind this illness and prove that even though I was close to death, I can again be on the tennis court and fight for three hours to win a three-set match.
"And the second reason, for everything that made me lose my self-worth. Every day, insidiously, he put me down lower than low. I want to prove that I can rise again. Is it a form of revenge. Whatever the result, I will have won when I return to court."
- This story originally appeared on thesun.co.uk