BERLIN (Reuters) - Tennis champion Boris Becker startled viewers of a Saturday night game show when he said he would marry former girlfriend, Dutch model Lilly Kerssenberg, in June.
Some 9.7 million viewers in Germany watched the unexpected announcement on the show “You Bet ..?” in which both Becker, 41, and Kerssenberg, 32, were guests.
Later in the program, Becker had to jump through a burning heart of fire, his antics upstaging other guests, including Hollywood star Jennifer Anniston.
Becker and Kerssenberg had split up at the end of 2007 after a roughly two-year long relationship and last year Becker announced his engagement to glamorous jewelry designer Sandy Meyer-Woelden after seeing her for only a few months.
“Last summer I went a bit off track but she took me back. Now I don’t want to let her go,” Becker said on the show. The program’s presenter, Thomas Gottschalk, looked astonished and said: “No, not again?”
German papers and society magazines lap up stories on the red-haired champion’s love life, not least as many of his girlfriends, including Kerssenberg, bear a striking resemblance to his ex-wife Barbara with whom he has two sons.
“Will Boris keep his word this time?” was the headline on the front page of top-selling Sunday paper Bild am Sonntag, with a picture of the couple kissing.
The wedding is to be in exclusive resort of St. Moritz, Switzerland.
“Boom boom” Becker, who earned the nickname for the thud of his powerful serve, won over the crowd at Wimbledon’s center court in 1985 when he won the tournament at 17.
He stacked up six grand slam titles but in recent years, his life has been a roller coaster. He lost much of his fortune, had a messy divorce and became the butt of jokes for his flings.
He fathered a child with a Russian model after a brief sexual encounter in the laundry cupboard of a Japanese restaurant in London after his final Wimbledon match while his wife was pregnant.
In 2002, he was found guilty of tax evasion, but not jailed.
Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Matthew Jones