Lindsey Vonn begins divorce proceedings with her husband

Chris Chase

Lindsey Vonn, an Olympic gold medalist and one of the top American skiers of all time, confirmed Sunday night that she has started divorce proceedings with her husband and chief adviser, Thomas Vonn.

The couple grew to fame at last year's Vancouver Olympics, when Vonn won a gold medal and excitedly embraced her husband at the bottom of the slope. He has been at her side through her three World Cup titles, often wearing a radio to communicate with his wife at the top of the hill.

They married Sept. 29, 2007.

Lindsey's relationship with Thomas caused a rift with her father, due to the nine-year age difference between the couple and because Thomas replaced her dad as a coach and mentor. Alan Kildow wasn't invited to his daughter's wedding and the two remain estranged.

"This is an extremely difficult time in my personal life and I hope the media and my fans can respect my need for privacy on this matter," Vonn wrote in a statement.

In defense of a media that almost certainly won't respect Vonn's need for privacy on this matter, Lindsey and Thomas made their relationship a story at every opportunity. They posed for cute pictures, she gave countless interviews about his influence, he mugged for television time so much that his friends called him by his initials "TV." The couple embraced the fact that he was a sort of Svengali figure in her life and played it up for the press. The ending of a marriage is nothing to take lightly. But when you invite the spotlight during the good times, you have to put up with its glare during the rough ones.

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