Babe Ruth - Personal Life

Personal Life

Ruth married Helen Woodford in 1914. Owing to his infidelities, they were reportedly separated around 1926. Helen died in a fire in Watertown, Massachusetts, on January 11, 1929, in a house owned by Edward Kinder, a dentist whom she had been living with as "Mrs. Kinder". Kinder identified her body as being that of his wife, then went into hiding after Helen's true identity was revealed; Ruth himself had to get authorities to issue a new death certificate in her legal name, Margaret Helen Woodford Ruth.

Ruth had two daughters. Dorothy Ruth was adopted by Babe and Helen. In her book, My Dad, the Babe, Dorothy claimed that she was Ruth's biological child by a girlfriend named Juanita Jennings. She died in 1989.

Ruth adopted Julia Hodgson when he married her mother, actress and model Claire Merritt Hodgson. Julia Ruth Stevens currently resides in Arizona, and threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the final game in the original Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2008.

By one account, Julia and Dorothy were, through no fault of their own, the reason for the seven-year rift in Ruth's relationship with teammate Lou Gehrig. Sometime in 1932 Gehrig's mother, during a conversation which she assumed was private, said, "It's a shame doesn't dress Dorothy as nicely as she dresses her own daughter." When the remark inevitably got back to Ruth, he angrily told Gehrig to tell his mother to mind her own business. Gehrig in turn took offense at what he perceived as Ruth's disrespectful treatment of his mother. The two men reportedly never spoke off the field from that moment until the famous "bear hug" in Yankee Stadium on Lou Gehrig Day in 1939.

Ruth and Claire regularly wintered in Florida, frequently playing golf during the off-season and while the Yankees were spring training in Tampa, Florida. After retirement, he had a winter beachfront home in Treasure Island, Florida, near St. Petersburg.

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