Who is Veronica Porché Ali?
Veronica Porché Ali is an American psychologist who was once married to boxing legend Muhammad Ali from 1977 to 1986. After her divorce from Ali, she married singer and film and theatre actor Carl Anderson in 1992. They remained married until his death in 2004. A native of California, she briefly lived in Louisiana before returning to California. Porché Ali studied at the University of Southern California and currently has a psychology practice in Los Angeles. In 1974, she began dating Ali while they were in Kinshasa, Zaire. At the time, Porché Ali was 18 years old. They married three years later, in 1977, and went on to have two children together, actress and undefeated professional boxer Laila Ali and author Hana Yasmeen Ali. Besides being a psychologist, Porché Ali is also an actress. She initially learned the craft at the Beverly Hills Playhouse to master her shyness. In the 1986 crime horror film ‘Terror on Alcatraz’, she portrayed the character of a tour guide. She also had a small role in the historical TV drama ‘Freedom Road’. Over the years, Porché Ali has been featured in several documentaries on Ali’s life.
Childhood & Early Life
Born on December 16, 1955, Porché Ali is the daughter of Ethel and Horace Porche, both of whom were descendants of Louisiana Creole people. Some sources claim that she was born in Los Angeles, California whereas others state that she was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana. According to the former sources, she studied at Holy Rosary Catholic boarding school in Lafayette, Louisiana for two years and then came back to Echo Park, California. After graduating from Belmont High School in Los Angeles in 1973, she enrolled at the University of Southern California.
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Porché Ali reportedly worked as a model in her younger years. She decided to take acting classes at the Beverly Hills Playhouse to get over her shyness and accumulated some experience as an actress. In the 1986 crime horror movie ‘Terror on Alcatraz’, she was cast as Ranger Emily, a tour guide. Directed by Philip Marcus and Marvin G. Lipschultz, the film tells the story of Frank Morris (Aldo Ray), a real-life criminal, who makes his return to Alcatraz from where he had escaped decades earlier. Besides Porché Ali and Ray, the film also stars Sandy Brooke, Bea Marcus, Lisa Ramirez, and Scott Ryder.
She also had a small role in the 1979 historical drama miniseries ‘Freedom Road’, which also stars Ali and Kris Kristofferson. Based on the 1944 novel of the same name by Howard Fast, the film revolves around a former slave named Gideon Jackson (Ali), who fights for the Union Army during the American Civil War and comes back to his home in South Carolina to become a senator in the later years of his life.
Porché Ali has served as a co-host on a segment of the TV show ‘Good Morning, New York’. She has also appeared in various documentaries on Ali, including ‘This Is Your Life’ (1978) and ‘I Am Ali’ (2014). After her and Ali’s daughter, Laila, followed in her father’s footsteps and starting boxing, she made appearances on documentaries on her as well. In 2001, she was featured in the made-for-television documentary ‘Intimate Portrait: Laila Ali’ (2001).
At present, she is a psychologist who reportedly still practices in the Los Angeles Area. In 2007, she was featured alongside her two daughters on ABC’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’.
Relationship with Muhammad Ali
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Ali won the light heavyweight gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. A year later, he began his career as a professional. That year, he also became a Muslim. In his professional career, Ali fought 61 opponents and defeated 56 of them. He was a three-time lineal champion in the heavyweight division, won 14 unified title bouts, and did not lose a fight for 35 years. Ali garnered both criticism and praise for his political activities. He refused to be drafted in the United States military during the Vietnam War. He was subsequently imprisoned but the US Supreme Court later overturned the conviction. Brash and talented, Muhammad Ali radically changed the sport and is considered one of the greatest athletes of all time.
Veronica Porché was 18 years old when she got into a relationship with Ali. In 1974, they both were in Kinshasa, Zaire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She served as one of the four poster girls, who were promoting the Rumble in the Jungle fight in Zaire between Ali and George Foreman.
Porché Ali soon became pregnant with her and Ali’s first child. Author Hana Yasmeen Ali was born on June 15, 1976. The couple married on June 19, 1977. At the time, she was pregnant with their second child. She gave birth to Laila on December 30, 1977. Porché Ali and Ali divorced in 1986.
In 1992, Porché Ali married singer and film and television actor Carl Anderson. That union lasted 12 years, until Anderson’s death on February 23, 2004, due to leukaemia. In the 2001 Oscar-nominated biopic ‘Ali,’ she was portrayed by American actress Michael Michele. According to both Ali and Porché Ali, the film did not depict their relationship accurately.