In the mid-20th century, the Heldmans were tennis royalty. Julie was a volatile and gutsy tennis star, twice ranked number 5 in the world. Her mother Gladys was broadly admired for her unique magazine, World Tennis, and for engineering the women’s tennis revolution. No one guessed that Gladys’s hidden emotional abuse was the source of Julie’s powerful drive.

Driven is a highly readable insider’s account of a pivotal time in women’s tennis history; an in-depth look at Gladys’s complex character; and the revealing story of Julie’s interior journey, both on and off the court.



Or preview the first two chapters.





This lyrical book is beautifully written with style, elegance and clarity by Julie Heldman. I found her story riveting, evocative and profoundly insightful. The book kept me up late at night; I could not put it down no matter how hard I tried. It is primarily the story of the relationship between Julie and her brilliant yet complicated mother Gladys. We read about their trials and tribulations, their triumphs and failures, and Julie’s painful and elusive lifelong quest to connect with a parent who was, ultimately, unavailable. The author is a woman of courage, candor and unmistakable sensitivity. I unequivocally urge you to read her book, which is for people of all ages and backgrounds.
— Steve Flink, Member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHF) and author of The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time

Meet Julie Heldman, the tenacious survivor of a remarkable journey. This is the compelling story of a young girl’s quest to connect with her charismatic but complicated mother, Gladys, a windmill-tilting tennis zealot who founded the influential magazine, World Tennis, and led the charge to make women’s tennis a full-fledged professional sport. Yet at home, Gladys raged at Julie and humiliated her, leaving her feeling constantly under attack and powerless. Julie’s drive to succeed and to find her own path form the basis of this terrific book.
— Joel Drucker, Tennis Channel and historian-at-large, ITHF

Julie Heldman is truly a multi-talented individual. In addition to being a TV commentator, lawyer, business woman, and author, she was the fiercest competitor I ever played on the tour.
— Nancy Richey, Former U.S. Number 1, grand slam winner, and member ITHF

Driven is brilliantly written! I know few people who would bear their soul and their inner-most feelings with Julie’s candor, courage, and competence.
— Alan Schwartz, Chairman Midtown Athletic Clubs, former USTA president

Julie Heldman has written a fascinating book, Driven: A Daughter’s Odyssey, about growing up as the daughter of the extraordinary Gladys Heldman, founder of World Tennis magazine and a driving force in the foundation of the Virginia Slims Tour, precursor of today’s WTA Tour. Unfortunately for Julie, the Gladys who bore and raised her was not the same Gladys the tennis world knew and loved. Instead, Julie describes her as a highly narcissistic perfectionist with a cruel streak that she took out on Julie.
Instead of dealing with Julie’s tennis career in a kindly, supportive manner, Gladys undermined her. (Despite this, Julie was ultimately ranked number five in the world.) Julie never knew what to expect from her mother—abusive fury, unrealistically extravagant praise, or humiliating humor. Julie’s shaky underpinnings left her with a lifelong curse of extreme insecurity and a constant need to try to fill her inner emptiness with successes. Yes, Julie became a highly driven achiever, but at quite a cost.
Julie’s honest and beautifully written account of her life and emotional journey makes for a compelling read.
— Allen Fox, Received his Ph.D. in psychology from UCLA while reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and playing Davis Cup for the United States

As a friend, doubles partner, and teammate of Julie Heldman, I thought I knew so much about her. But once I started reading some of the chapters of her book, I became amazed at how much I was learning about her, and how much of her inner turmoil she had previously kept hidden. As I consumed each new batch of chapters, I kept craving more.
Thank you, Julie, for sharing your remarkable journey. Your book touched me on so many levels.
Whether or not you’re a tennis player, you will surely be captivated by Julie’s path through life.
— Peaches Bartkowicz, Winner of a record 17 U.S. national junior tennis titles, and former World and U.S. Top Tenner



Julie Heldman won 22 women’s tennis tournaments, with victories over all the top stars of her era, including Billie Jean King, Margaret Court, Chris Evert, and Martina Navratilova. Julie represented the U.S. on two winning Federation Cup teams and at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, where she won three medals, a gold, a silver, and a bronze. Her highest women’s rankings were number two in the U.S. (twice) and number five in the world (twice).

Julie has been inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame, the Intercollegiate Tennis Hall of Fame, the Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame, and the Dalton School Hall of Fame.

Julie graduated from Stanford University in 1966. After retiring from competitive tennis in 1975, she worked for several years as a journalist and a tennis commentator on network TV. In 1981, at age 35, she graduated from UCLA Law School with honors and then practiced law for four years. 

After law school, Julie married Bernie Weiss, and in 1985, at age 39, Julie joined Bernie’s startup eyewear business, eventually called Signature Eyewear. Twelve years later, they took the company public. 

In 1987, Julie gave birth to their daughter Amy.

In 1996, Julie was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Four years later, she suffered a cataclysmic breakdown that lasted 15 years, with only one eight-month respite during 2011-12. 

Driven: A Daughter’s Odyssey is Julie’s first book.