Richard Williams was only a king in his head… he walked out on his family & became a millionaire but we lived in poverty
RICHARD Williams walked out on his family to become a millionaire, leaving them in poverty, his daughter has said.
Sabrina Williams – the half sister of Serena and Venus – has slammed the new Hollywood biopic 'King Richard' saying he was "only a king in his head".
Richard, 79, married Sabrina's late mom Betty Johnson in Los Angeles in the early sixties and they had four other children – Richard III, 56, Ronner, 55, Reluss, 54, and 49-year-old Reneeka.
He dumped his wife and five kids, allegedly walking out of the door to buy her a bike – and never returning – then went onto marry Serena and Venus's mother Oracene
In an exclusive interview with The Sun, Sabrina said of the new film, which stars Will Smith as Williams: "I think the title is completely over the top.
"He thinks he's the king of the world, but no one that's ever been around him thinks he's King Richard. It is an outrageous title, but to truth be told, it fits him.
"He's not the king of the world. If you look at him psychologically, it's something he's never achieved apart from in his head – he’s lived only through two of his daughters forsaking all his other children.
"Truth be told, those girls rose to the top while his other children had to suffer because of the choices my dad made, we were raised in poverty after he left.
"He choose tennis for them, as he knew it could also make him a millionaire."
Williams left when Sabrina was just eight and another sister eight weeks old.
He made it his number one priority for his daughters to become tennis professionals, even writing a 78-page manifesto outlining his blueprint for success.
Sabrina says she had "two childhoods" – before and after Williams left.
"The first was OK because we had money, but the second period was very difficult," she said.
"It was like an instant change. If it wasn't for the churches that we belonged to, I don't think my mom would have made it."
She laughs out loud that his first thirty years have been ignored by King Richard director Reinaldo Marcus Green.
He hasn't cast a single family member from her dad's first marriage, according to movie directory IMDb.com.
He choose tennis for them, as he knew it could also make him a millionaire
"It's a comedy, no? How can you make a movie by telling half the story?," said Sabrina, a 57-year-old hospice chaplain.
Sabrina said that despite being estranged from her dad, she still believes he still thinks about his first family.
"I think it's just sad, because there's no way that my dad doesn't think about me, or my other brothers and sisters.
"There's just no way in your life that you can put that to the side and not think about it. I feel sympathy for him like, dude, you need to come to terms with this.
"He hasn't forgotten us, he’s just put us in a compartment. You know that part of your world exists, but you just don't want to deal with it – and that's a sad thing.
RAISED IN POVERTY
"I can chase my dad around for the rest of my life in my head, or I can come to terms that I believe my dad loves me in his own way. That's all I can do."
Since he walked out on Sabrina and her siblings, she has seen her father just a handful of times.
She said it's unlikely she'll see her dad again – and won' be going to his funeral.
"I don't think I'll see him alive. I've even buried my dad in my head because I know I won't be able to attend his funeral.
"That's just not going to be an option, they’re not going to let me, they won't even tell me. I’ll find out from the media reports or a friend.
Richard Williams is now being looked after by another son – Chavoita LeSane – who has a lengthly rap sheet,as he's "incapacitated" and barely able to talk after two strokes.
The Sun has reached out to Smith's production team and Richard Williams' son, who has power of attorney, for comment.
Sabrina alleges he also snubbed the family during the worst times in her life – including when her mother was battling cancer in 1998 and couldn't afford vital medical care before she died.
"My sister Reneeka was a baby eight weeks old when my dad left," she said.
"How do you leave a baby? I was eight years old, and he left under the pretense 'I'm gonna get you a bike?' I can laugh about it now."
She says: "If my mom was still alive, she'd laugh: 'That rat b******' – she had a great sense of humor.
"She stopped giving a damn about my dad a long time before she died."
She also said that actor Will Smith should be "ashamed of himself" for starring in the movie, and
"They say Will Smith is probably getting an Academy Award for this, I held him in a deep regard, but, as a black American, he should have wanted to tell the full story.
"Will Smith is not dumb. They got to grow up better, and didn't have to harvest for food, or worry about their next meal. It would have been nice to have a backstory."
'NOT A GOOD DAD'
She's met her tennis playing half-siblings only once, by chance, at Knott's Berry Farm, a theme park in California, when the pair were teenagers.
"I wouldn't swap places with Venus or Serena. I was just driving now, listening to music and thinking, would I change anything about my life? No, I wouldn't, I'd go through all the struggles I went through again," she said.
"I don't think I will ever meet Serena or Venus another time. I'd love to be able to meet my niece [Serena’s daughter Olympia, four] because she's so cute and adorable, I love kids."
Most of the barbs against her father are punctuated with laughter and self-reflection, as Sabrina feels she's finally found contentment after spending her younger years with unresolved anger issues.
"How many times are we going to blame our parents for everything?" she said.
"My dad is not a good dad, he was never a good dad and that's the truth. But, at some point, you have to take responsibility.
"That's why I went to counseling – I'm a better person because I realize I can't just blame my dad."
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