- Serena Williams posted a touching statement to show support for her friend Meghan Markle after her interview with Oprah Winfrey.
- Markle and husband Prince Harry sat down for a tell-all interview with Oprah on Sunday.
- "She teaches me everyday what it means to be truly noble," Williams said.
Speaking with Oprah alongside Prince Harry in an interview broadcast on Sunday, Markle opened up about her experiences with the British royal family and the media, which ultimately led the couple to step back from the monarchy in January 2020.
Markle told Oprah that during her pregnancy, some members of the royal family had expressed concerns about "how dark" her son's skin would be when he was born.
She also said that stories about her in the British tabloids following her marriage to Harry left her feeling suicidal, but that she was told not to seek help for her mental health because it would reflect badly on the royal family.
Soon after the interview aired, Williams, a long-time friend of Markle's, praised the 39-year-old for speaking up in a heartfelt statement posted on Instagram, in which she hit out at media treatment of the former actress.
"Meghan Markle, my selfless friend, lives her life — and leads by example — with empathy and compassion," Williams said on Instagram.
"She teaches me everyday what it means to be truly noble. Her words illustrate the pain and cruelty she's experienced.
"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 then used her statement to call on people to call out "systemic oppression and victimization" to help create a better world.
"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.
"I want Meghan's daughter, my daughter and your daughter to live in a society that is driven by respect.
"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."
You can see the full statement below:
In a caption below her statement, which has over 340,000 likes early Monday morning, Williams wrote: I am so proud of you for being so brave. I know it is never easy. You are strong — both you and Harry. I love you. I adore you. Your friend S."
Williams' and Markle's friendship first began in 2014 when they both took part in a celebrity beach football game ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII.
"We hit it off immediately, taking pictures, laughing through the flag football game we were both playing in, and chatting not about tennis or acting, but about all the good old fashioned girlie stuff. So began our friendship," Markle later said.
In 2018, Williams and her husband, Alexis Ohanian, attended Markle's wedding to Harry, as well as the couple's intimate evening reception at Frogmore House, where the tennis star dominated in beer pong.