By People Staff
November 06, 2006 12:00 PM

To the public and even to many close friends, it was a bolt out of the blue: After 18 outwardly happy years together and three kids, tennis great Chris Evert, 51, and her husband, former Olympic skier Andy Mill, 53, announced Oct. 20 they were getting divorced. Tennis commentator Bud Collins, a longtime pal, was stunned. “This is a bombshell,” says Collins, recalling his visit with the pair last November in Boca Raton. “They seemed so happy, they had a new home. I don’t think anyone would have ever suspected this.”

One hint of trouble in the marriage, the second for both, appears to have been the amount of time the couple spent apart. Though devoted parents to their boys—Alex, 15; Nicky, 12; and Colton, 10—”he was always fishing, and she was doing her tennis camps,” says an Aspen source who knows them. This past June, after Mill won the triple crown of tarpon fly-fishing titles, he said he was going to retire. “I just don’t want to be away from my kids,” he told South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel. For her part, Evert was often on the road for tennis and charity functions.

“Any time people get married and have children, you always want to hear the great news that they live together forever,” says former tennis star Andrea Jaeger, who would often run into Evert in Aspen. “I’m disheartened because you know that their entire family all love each other so much.”