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  • Alina Kabaeva, 39, is a retired rhythmic gymnast and former member of Russia’s lower parliament.
  • She is rumored to be Vladimir Putin’s longtime girlfriend, but the Kremlin has denied the claims.
  • Reports also say the two had a daughter in 2015.

Alina Kabaeva has earned notoriety as a decorated rhythmic gymnast, as a politician, and as a top executive of Russia’s largest media company.

But no facet of the 39-year-old’s life has put her in the international spotlight more than her long-rumored, never-confirmed relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Friday.

The Kremlin has put up a smoke screen in front of the alleged relationship, which dates back at least 14 years. In 2008, rumors began to circulate that Putin secretly divorced his wife to pursue a relationship with a gymnast almost half his age, according to The New York Times.

“I have always disliked those who, with their infected noses and erotic fantasies, break into other people’s private affairs,” Putin told reporters in 2008 when denying the rumors, according to The Times.

Still, the majority of the western order acknowledges Kabaeva’s ties to Putin.

In August, seven months after Russia invaded Ukraine, the US Treasury Department joined the UK, Canada, and European Union in sanctioning Kabaeva for her “close relationship” to Putin.

Here’s what we know about Kabaeva. 

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