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Unlike Her Sister, Laila Ali Was Not Devastated by Parents’ Heart-Wrenching Divorce

Published 01/20/2023, 11:21 AM EST

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Laila Ali enjoys a huge fan base on social media. The former Middleweight and Light Heavyweight title holder takes care in turn by sharing remarkable and exciting stories and incidents. She often joins them in happiness and at times of sorrow.

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After leaving her nearly decade-long boxing career, today, she is a successful television host and an entrepreneur. Happily settled down with her husband, Curtis Conway, and two kids, Laila Ali seems to have left behind the demons of her childhood. 

As Muhammad Ali‘s daughter, a life of luxury and fame was hers to cherish. But that was not the case as she revealed the details in her book Reach! Finding Strength, Spirit, and Personal Power. Co-authored with New York-based author David Ritz, the book hit the stands in 2002.


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When Laila Ali’s parents decided to go in different directions

Laila Ali was nine when her parents, former world champion and the greatest in boxing’s history, Muhammad Ali, divorced. Her mother, Veronica Porche, an actress, was the third wife of “The People’s Champion.”

On the twenty-first page of the book, she recounts how the world accepted her parents and cherished them. So much so that Muhammad Ali and Veronica, despite their surging differences, played out a perfect couple outside the home. 


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The estranged husband and wife were unwilling to risk looking foolish in front of each other. But, eventually, Porche realized it was time for her to leave. Laila Ali says, “She decided to leave-and divorce-my father. Their long live-in separation no longer made sense. He hadn’t been faithful, and she hadn’t been able to play the part of subservient Muslim wife…”

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Veronica Porche was fed up with everything that had happened. Laila Ali continues further that her parents were strong individuals who chose to forge their paths. However, she still doesn’t hold either of them responsible.

Laila Ali cared deeply for her mom


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Fully cognizant of her mother’s resolve, she writes, “When the final split came, though, I had no understanding of this. What nine-year-old does? All I knew is that Mom, Hana, and I were moving to another house.”

Towards the end of the page, “Madame Butterfuly” narrates that the entire episode broke her sister Hana’s heart. Especially separation from their father was too much for her. But for Laila Ali, the world as a whole revolved around her mother.

At age eighteen, “She Bee Stingin” found her calling in boxing. Reportedly her legendary father opposed the idea vehemently, but she persisted. Finally, on August 22, 2002, roughly four months short of her twenty-fifth birthday, she won her first title.


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Watch Out for More: Laila Ali described how she gained footing in a male-dominated sport despite opposition from her father, Muhammad Ali, and others.

Now that you’ve come through this phase of former world champion Laila Ali’s life don’t forget to share your thoughts and views with us in the comments below.

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Written by:

Jaideep R Unnithan


One take at a time

After completing 18 years in the corporate sector, Jaideep decided to make a move out of the comfort zone and follow his heart's calling to becoming a writer. His understanding of Boxing began with Iron Mike's debut as an 18 year old in 1985. Like anyone and everyone else, he holds Muhammad Ali as the greatest, though his personal favorite remains the 'PacMan' Manny Pacquiao for his speed and sheer toughness.
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Edited by:

Arijit Saha