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Serena Williams shares message in support of 'selfless friend' Meghan Markle

The tennis superstar wrote that she knows "first hand the sexism and racism institutions and the media use to vilify women and people of color."
/ Source: TODAY

Serena Williams has shared a message of support for her "selfless friend," Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, in the wake of her bombshell interview alongside husband Prince Harry about their conflicts with the royal family.

The tennis superstar and the former Meghan Markle have been friends for years, with Williams attending her royal wedding in 2018, and Markle supporting Williams in the crowd at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon.

"Meghan Markle, my selfless friend, lives her life - and leads by example - with empathy and compassion," Williams wrote on Instagram Monday. "She teaches me every day what it means to be truly noble. Her words illustrate the pain and cruelty she's experienced."

Meghan and Harry's interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired on Sunday night included claims that her sister-in-law Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, once made her cry leading up to their wedding, even though it was portrayed as the opposite in the media. Meghan also said she had suicidal thoughts in 2018 during an onslaught of negative press.

Meghan, who is half Black, also told Winfrey there were "concerns and conversations" among the royal family ahead of her son Archie's birth about "how dark his skin might be."

"I know first hand the sexism and racism institutions and the media use to vilify women and people of color to minimize us, to break us down and demonize us," Williams wrote. "We must recognize our obligation to decry malicious, unfounded gossip and tabloid journalism. The mental health consequences of systemic oppression and victimization are devastating, isolating and all too often lethal."

Meghan and Harry also shared that the second child they are expecting will be a girl, which Williams, a parent of a 3-year-old daughter herself, referenced on Instagram before concluding with a Bible reference.

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"I want Meghan's daughter, my daughter and your daughter to live in a society that is driven by respect," she wrote. "Keep in your memory the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law."

She also wrote a message of support for Harry and Meghan in the caption.

"I am so proud of you for being so brave," she wrote. "I know it is never easy. You are strong - both you and Harry. I love you. I adore you. Your friend S."