Who Was Thais Baker?

Thais Baker was professional golfer Fred Couples’ estranged second wife. Baker passed away in 2009 after a long battle with breast cancer, leaving two children behind from a previous marriage: 18-year old Gigi and 16-year old Oliver. At the time of her death, son Oliver and Couples remained close, though daughter Gigi and the golfer were not on speaking terms.

Baker married Couples in 1998, not long after being diagnosed with the disease. The pair eventually split up in 2005, and tried to reconcile in 2007, though the attempt lasted just six months. Baker’s condition returned in late 2008 and took a turn for the worse. While the couple was separated, they never legally split. Although they had been undergoing divorce proceedings for the previous three years, Baker continued to live in the couple’s sprawling Santa Barbara, California, estate up until her death.

Couples learned of Baker’s death while competing in the Northern Trust Open, just two hours south of their home. He considered dropping out, but decided to finish the event.

Baker’s passing was not the first time Couples experienced hardship; the pro lost his mother at 34 to cancer and his father two years later to leukemia, and his first wife took her own life in 2001.