Alina Kabaeva, a former gymnast and alleged girlfriend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, sparked renewed pregnancy rumors in domestic and social media outlets this week when she wore a “billowy” dress to a youth gymnastic event, a report said Thursday. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied persistent speculation that Putin and Kabaeva are in a relationship, as well as rumors the pair have children together.
“Comments on Russian social media point out that 32-year-old Alina Kabaeva, the former champion gymnast-turned-politician, appears to have gained a few pounds,” CNN reporter Matthew Chance said. “The contrast with her athletic and glamorous youth is hard to miss.”
Shortly after the youth gymnastic event, which was attended by Russian veterans of World War II, local media outlets suggested Kabaeva looked “tired,” “overweight” and “older,” the New York Post reported. But neither Kabaeva, Putin nor the Kremlin have addressed the pregnancy rumors.
This isn’t the first time that rumors have swirled that Kabaeva was pregnant with Putin’s child. When the normally media-friendly Russian president disappeared from the public eye for more than a week last March, various outlets posited that Putin had eschewed appearances to support Kabaeva as she gave birth. The rumors gained momentum when a report by Swiss newspaper Bild said Putin was journeyed to Switzerland to be at Kabaeva’s side, the New York Daily News reported.
The Kremlin categorically denied that Putin’s absence was due to the birth of a child. “Information that a child has been born to Vladimir Putin is not true,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Forbes Russia in March, as quoted by Agence France-Presse. “I am planning to appeal to people who have money to organize a competition for best journalistic hoax,” he joked.
Putin finalized a divorce from Lyudmila Shrebneva, his wife of 30 years, in April 2014, the BBC reported. He has two adult daughters with Shrebneva.