Muhammad Ali may have had many women in his life but Yolanda Williams, who goes by the name of Lonnie, was the one who stayed with him at the toughest times of Ali’s life.
Muhammad Ai had suffered from Parkinson’s disease since the age of 42. As his health conditions started deteriorating due to the respiratory disease, he became fully dependent on his wife Lonnie.
Lonnie was only 6 when she first met Ali. They were really good friends since 1964 as they both belonged to the same town of Louisville, Kentucky. After Ali’s divorce with his third wife, Veronica Porsche, he went on to marry Yolanda Williams in November of the year 1986.
After their marriage, Yolanda went from a Catholic to Islamic in her 20s. In an interview with Boxing.com, she talked about how her husband was an inspiration behind this decision of hers.
“He is an absolute trooper about everything. He never complains and has such a positive attitude about life, the human condition, other people and our ultimate reward. Muhammad always rises above."
The loved-up couple,Muhammad Ali and Yolanda Williams. Source: Boxing.com
In the same interview, she talked about her husband being the greatest and how she felt about Muhammad’s medical condition back then,
“The Greatest. Muhammad is still thought of as 'The Greatest' because of what he represents to so many people around the world. Simply put, it’s humanity toward others that makes him the greatest in the hearts and minds of many.”
About his health, Williams added,
“I do believe that I have gotten stronger despite the challenges of being a care partner and caregiver. I’m one who believes that God never gives you a burden to bear that you can’t bear.
It might get difficult at times, but that’s how inner strength is developed. Also, there is wisdom to be gained in the struggle that we would not acquire otherwise. And sometimes burdens make us realize we are human and need the help of a higher power.”
In spite of all the intense love and care she provided for her dear husband, 2013 was a nasty year for her as Ali’s younger brother, Rahman Ali accused her of mistreating Muhammad. As Daily Mail reported Rahman Ali told National Enquirer of his sister-in-law,
“I think [Lonnie] married my brother just for the money. She talks to him bad. He doesn't even get fed properly. The last time we were together [for a July gala in London honoring Ali], he was so dehydrated. You could tell from his lips.”
However, daughter Maryum Ali stepped into the scene at the time who could attest to the fact that her father was fine and not mistreated.
'He's fine, in fact, he was talking well this morning,' she cleared it out all in a telephone interview with CBS this week. 'These rumors pop up every once in a while but there's nothing to them.'
Muhammad and Yolanda with their son Asaad Amin. Source: Mirror UK
Lonnie and Muhammad had no children until they adopted a son named Asaad Amin. After Muhammad’s sad demise on 3rd June, Lonnie took some time before making the news official.
Must’ve hurt to lose the greatest from her life. Muhammad’s funeral took place in Louisville, Kentucky on Thursday. Ali’s final ceremony will be done on Friday following an Islamic ritual.