We know plenty about Vladimir Putin when it comes to politics and business. But far less is known about his family. Such is the case for Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, Putin’s estranged ex-wife. However, the Russian dictator’s former spouse has been making headlines over the last couple of years. And more information is being revealed about their marriage.
For starters, Lyudmila has moved on
Part of what has brought the former Mrs. Putina into the limelight is that she remarried. Reports came out in 2016 that 57-year-old Lyudmila had married businessman Artur Ocheretny, who is 20 years her junior. The story of their marriage was accompanied by news that the two own a very expensive French villa.
Her divorce from Putin was announced during a ballet
Vladimir and Lyudmila announced their split in a very bizarre way in 2013. The two made a rare public appearance together to see the ballet La Esmeralda at the State Kremlin Palace. When the two addressed the media during the intermission the performance, they confirmed that they had decided to divorce.
She was rarely seen while she was married to Putin …
As previously stated, Lyudmila made very few public appearances in the latter part of her marriage to Putin. However, it has been reported that this idea was primarily Putin’s. Business Insider reports that Putin’s reasoning was that he didn’t think a wife should “stick out”. It was also reported, however, that Lyudmila may have had other ambitions. (More on that in just a minute.)
… and was rumored to have been shipped off to a monastery
Since Lyudmila was so rarely seen, rumors swirled about whether or not she and Putin even lived together. There was even speculation by local Russian media outlets that Putin had shipped her off to a monastery. Although, there doesn’t appear to be any proof that she was ever sent anywhere.
She didn’t enjoy being the first lady
While Lyudmila kept a very low profile, it was known that she did not like being Russia’s first lady. “She was not ready for this role,” Russian designer and confidante, Slava Zaitsev, reportedly told Reuters back in 2103. “Being a president’s wife came down on her unexpectedly.”
There was a lack of romance
It’s unclear if there was always trouble in paradise, but the Putins clearly didn’t get along very well during their marriage — at least not towards the end. In 2013, The Moscow Times reported that Lyudmila told German author Irene Pietsch her husband was “a vampire.” Putin retorted that if Pietsch “would deserve a monument if she could bear to spend three weeks with Lyudmila.”
There were affair rumors
Surely, Vladimir and Lyudmila’s marriage was also tarnished by rumors that he was unfaithful. Among the rumored mistresses is former gymnast Alina Kabaeva, who was first linked to Putin in 2008, before Vladimir and Lyudmila were divorced. Kabaeva has denied the relationship, however the rumors have continued that the two are already married and even have a secret family together.
Lyudmila isn’t the only one shrouded in secrecy
Vladimir and Lyudmila have two adult daughters, Maria and Katerina, who were born in the 1980s. The two have been kept even more of a secret than Lyudmila was. Both daughters attended a university in Russia under fake names so as to fly under the radar.