Sports

Serena Williams’ dad played by Will Smith in new biopic is being cared for by criminal son


SERENA Williams’ legendary tennis coach dad – who’s being portrayed in the new film King Richard starring Will Smith – is “incapacitated” and being cared for by his wayward son.

Smith has been on the promotion trail all week, alongside the sports star and her sister Venus, but there’s been no sign of their father, who pushed them to greatness. 

Richard Williams is now incapacitated and being looked after by his son, according to court records seen by The Sun

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Richard Williams is now incapacitated and being looked after by his son, according to court records seen by The SunCredit: Getty
Chavoita Lesane, who has an extensive rap sheet, has been given power of attorney

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Chavoita Lesane, who has an extensive rap sheet, has been given power of attorneyCredit: Instagram

Richard is a victim of two strokes which has left him barely able to talk, Daily Mail reported in 2018.

He has a son, Chavoita Lesane, through an unknown relationship, who has been involved in court proceedings 61 times in the last 23 years. 

Lesane, 48, has been given power of attorney while the 79-year-old goes through a messy divorce battle with his estranged third wife Lakeisha, 41, according to court documents seen by The Sun.

It’s unknown how much the sisters know of their half-sibling’s background while he has control of their father. 

From Instagram, Lesane appears to have direct access to Serena and Venus, with his children posing with the girls and attending their tennis matches with his father.

In the most recent post from October, he’s stood next to his dad as a camera crew is filming. 

Lesane – according to his Facebook page – now lives in Atlanta, Georgia – and has a long rap sheet dating from 1998 up to the present day. 

Instagram shots show Lesane with his elderly father Richard Williams

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Instagram shots show Lesane with his elderly father Richard Williams

According to St Lucie County Court, Florida, records, he’s faced either civil, domestic relations or criminal proceedings 61 times, with five cases still open. 

A check on his Florida State criminal record shows Lesane was first charged with aggravated battery on a pregnant female in 1998, with the case being dropped/abandoned. Three years later, he was charged with battery and pleaded no contest. 

In 2007, the report states him being a ‘habitual offender’ of traffic offenses and was given four years probation for driving with a suspended license. 

Over the next seven years, he was charged with disturbing the peace and brawling, several traffic felonies, resisting arrest and domestic violence, but was never convicted. 

There were several cases, which were either ‘dropped or abandoned’, and can happen when a victim refuses to give evidence, although it’s unknown in Lesane’s cases. 

He has a number of companies, including ChaVam Enterprises, a music, film and entertainment firm.

In 2015, ChaVam was sued by former employee Nerkein Campos for working upto 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and regularly not being paid.

LONG RAP SHEET

The judge awarded Campos just under $10,000 in unpaid wages and damages. 

Will Smith portrays his father Richard in the new movie directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green and released Friday in theaters and on HBO Max, with the Williams family having been heavily involved.

The film will follow Richard’s story as a “trailblazing and inspiring parent whose vision for his daughters led them from Compton, California, to a global stage,” according to online reviews.

Meanwhile, even Serena herself isn’t above the law – according to her home city Palm Beach court records, she was caught speeding in December 2017, which resulted in the sports star having to complete a four-hour ‘Basic Driving Improvement’ course. 

Two years later, Venus was fined for driving while suspended after a collision in 2017, which resulted in the death of 78-year-old Jerome Benson, and the tennis ace settling a lawsuit brought by his family. 

Lesane isn’t the only Williams family members to be a regular in criminal courts – Richard’s first two sons, Richard III and Ronner, have faced gun and assault charges, resulting in prison sentences. 

The younger years of Williams’ sons, Richard III and Ronner, from his first marriage to Betty Johnson, were blighted with crime, after their father abandoned the family when they were small boys in 1973. 

He embarked on a new relationship with Serena and Venus’ mother Oracene making it his mission that they’d make it to the top of the tennis ladder, even composing a 78-page manifesto on how to succeed.

Their sister Sabrina contributed to the 2001 book about the Women’s tennis tour, ‘Venus Envy’, by Sports Illustrated executive editor and author Jon Wertheim, which goes into more detail about their broken childhood with an absent father, and goes some way to explain their turbulent youth.

TOUGH UPBRINGING

Wertheim writes: “While Richard moved on to start a new life with Oracene, Betty worked two jobs to support the family; and yet the household still required public assistance.”

In Richard’s absence, two of his sons spent time in prison in California.

According to California Department of Corrections records, Richard Jr. received a thirty-two-month sentence for a firearms offense and Ronner received a sixty-eight-month sentence for second-degree robbery. 

Venus and Serena were pushed to the limit by their dad’s punishing regime on the way to world domination of women’s tennis, the new movie shows.

It includes Richard smashing up bottles on the back of the court to stop the then schoolgirls from stepping too far back when playing.

The biopic reveals the racism, violence and hardship the Williams family had to overcome to get to the top of what has traditionally been a sport for wealthy white people.

Richard was beaten up by gangs in Compton in Los Angeles when he tried to defend his daughters. And he faced down social services who were worried about his two girls training for hours on a potholed court.

But both Venus and Serena, played by Saniyya Sidney, 15, and Demi Singleton, 14, in the movie, have given it their support.

Venus said: “This film gives a glimpse into our lives that no one knows about. Our dad is amazing.”

Richard is being portrayed in the new movie starring Will Smith as the tennis coach

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Richard is being portrayed in the new movie starring Will Smith as the tennis coachCredit: Alamy
His trained both of his daughters, Serena and Venus, from a young age

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His trained both of his daughters, Serena and Venus, from a young ageCredit: Reuters
Smith is being tipped for an Oscar for his role in the new film King Richard, out Friday

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Smith is being tipped for an Oscar for his role in the new film King Richard, out FridayCredit: AFP





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