In 2012, American cyclist Lance Armstrong was banned for life for doping.
The scandal surrounding him will forever remain one of the biggest in the history of sports. But just a few years earlier – in the middle of the first decade of the new century – no one could have guessed that something like this would happen. Armstrong is at the height of his fame, signing multi-million advertising contracts and planning to spend his life with the famous singer Sheryl Crow.
In sickness and in health
At the time of his acquaintance with Cheryl, Lance was already married. His wife, Christine Richard, a public relations manager for a cancer fund, played a huge role in the cyclist’s life. Christine has been by Armstrong’s side as he recovers from surgeries and chemotherapy, motivating him to return to cycling after cancer and following him to all the races. “I have an angel by my side, she saved me from the disease,” Lance said at the time.
In 1999, when Armstrong won the Tour de France for the first time, he and Christine welcomed their first child, Luke. In 2001, the twins Grace and Isabelle were born. But apparently the life of an exemplary husband and father of three children at one point bored the champion. He changed beyond recognition and pushed his wife into the background, and stories about his flirtations with Hollywood celebrities, including Sandra Bullock, appeared more and more often on the pages of the tabloids.
In 2003, already a five-time winner of the Tour de France, Lance attended a charity concert that also featured Sheryl Crow. The two met after the event, and the athlete fell in love with her so much that only two months after this meeting, he divorced his wife, leaving her alone with their three children. Luke is four and the twins are just two. Perhaps genes also played a part in the move, as Lance’s father, Eddie Gunderson, also left the family when the future champion was two years old. Armstrong is the cyclist’s stepfather’s surname.
Sheryl Crow is nine years older than him, but that doesn’t matter. She is already a huge global star with several platinum albums and a solid bank account. However, fame and money are not enough for her happiness. Cheryl wants to be a wife and mother. Things with the actor Owen Wilson, with whom they are boyfriends, do not start, and the meeting with Lance Armstrong and his attitude give her hope. The fact that he abandoned his three children does not bother her in the least, and she thinks that with her, Lance will not fail as a father.
The quick parting
At the beginning of the relationship, Armstrong was very happy and stated that the singer gave him “the love he never dreamed of”. Crowe also enjoyed their romance and recorded the album Wildflower dedicated to the cyclist. In 2005, after winning the Tour de France for the seventh time, Lance announced his retirement from the sport, and a few months later he and Crowe revealed that they were engaged.
Cheryl poses for magazines in wedding dresses and shows off the ring that Lance gave her. Her dream of having a child seems to be about to come true and it looks like she will catch the last train as she is already 43. However, Armstrong is not ready to become a father for the fourth time. Still only 34, rich and famous, the champion does not want to return to the atmosphere of formula, diapers and night crying. Lance takes the constant talk of the subject as hand-wringing, and five months into their engagement, the stars split.
Just a few weeks later, Crowe was diagnosed with breast cancer and immediately began treatment, which turned out to be successful. After its completion, the singer adopted a child, as she was already aware that she would not become a biological mother. In 2007, she took two-week-old Wyatt Steven under her wing, and in 2010, she adopted a second boy named Levi James. Against the background of family happiness, however, new health problems pressed on her and she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Happily, it turns out to be benign.
Cheryl’s career continues successfully, and in parallel with music, she publishes a book of recipes for healthy eating. Crowe is raising her children and trying not to remember the relationship with Lance Armstrong. She also rejects all journalistic questions about what happened between her and the cyclist. Probably the reason for her even greater dislike for him is the fact that a few years after the separation, Lance already has two more children – five in total.
During the doping trial, Cheryl testified against him, recounting how she had witnessed blood transfusions that were prohibited under anti-doping rules.
After the scandal dissipated
For a while, life became a nightmare for Armstrong, who lost all his major titles and paid over $20 million in fines.
He was even removed from the post of chairman of the foundation he founded to help cancer patients.
Gradually, however, he managed to get back on his feet and develop a private business, the proceeds of which go to cancer research. Lance Armstrong also published several candid books that continue to bring him income.
He does not hide that he regrets many things in his life, and that Sheryl Crow was the woman of his dreams. However, at the moment when fate brought them together, he simply did not want any more children.