Norman stole my wife, says former mate

August 19, 2007 01:00am

THE devastated ex-husband of tennis champion Chris Evert has launched a bitter attack on Greg Norman, accusing his former best friend of stealing his wife and destroying their 18-year marriage.

Andy Mill, a US Olympic ski champion, yesterday told The Sunday Telegraph he was broken-hearted by Norman's betrayal.

"Greg Norman at one time was my best friend and a year and a half ago I would have taken a bullet for this guy," he said yesterday.

"I didn't realise he was the one that was going to pull the trigger."

Evert filed for divorce from Mill on November 13 last year, citing "irreconcilable differences".

She and Norman had been romantically linked in media reports in Florida since late October, around the same time Evert revealed she had separated from her husband.

Mill, 53, said he had been emotionally wrecked by the split and described December 4 - when their divorce and their multi-million dollar settlement was finalised - as "the worst day in my life".

"I wouldn't wish divorce on anyone," he said.

"But it happens and you can't make somebody love you - in the case of my ex-wife.

"You have to move on and so I'm moving on - it (recovering from the split) is a work in progress."

Evert, 52, agreed to give Mill cash and securities worth $8.7 million, as well as their $5 million holiday home in the ritzy Colorado snow resort town of Aspen, where he now lives.

The settlement also saw Evert named the primary caretaker of the couple's three sons - Alexander, 15, Nicholas, 13, and Colton, 11 - but with Mill granted "reasonable" visitation rights.

But Mill said he'd have given anything to keep his family and marriage together.

"Regarding the money and the settlement, I would have paid twice that to keep my family in place," he said.

"My main concern is just trying to get everything on level ground as far as my family is concerned.

"The most important thing for me is my family and my kids, and just trying to keep them grounded.

"Chris understands that they (the boys) need me as much as they need her."

When rumours of marriage trouble surfaced in October, Evert's spokeswoman Tammy Starr said her boss appeared to be coping well with the split.

"Chris isn't known to show much emotion - and that's how she's been handling this," she told The Miami Herald newspaper.

"He (Andy) loves Chris, but he knows they can't be married. They were in therapy.

"Andy is the kind of guy who used to cry when he talked about her."

Mill, who has starred in his own television series on skiing and is currently working on a book about fishing, said his friends and neighbours in Aspen had helped him move on from the painful split.

Mill and Evert had been close friends with Norman, 52, and his soon-to-be ex-wife Laura for years.

The four regularly socialised together in Florida, where both couples had homes.

Mill would not comment on whether he had been in contact with Laura, 57, to offer support to her during the increasingly nasty, epic divorce battle, which culminated this week with Norman threatening to sue her for defamation over claims in an emergency court order filed by her lawyers on Monday.

He said: "I don't have anything to say regarding Greg and Laura and the dissolvement of their marriage and their finances ... I would just rather not say anything."