Jeanette Lee “The Black Widow”
Black Widow Profile
- Name: Jeanette Lee — “The Black Widow”
- Birth Date: 07/09/71
- Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
- Height: 5’8″
- Hair Color: Black
- Eye Color: Dark Brown
- Husband: George Breedlove
- Children: Morgan, Olivia, Cheyenne, John, Chloe, and Savannah
Jeanette Lee, known throughout the world as “The Black Widow,” has enjoyed one of the most illustrious careers in billiards history. Repeatedly recognized by Billiards Digest as one of the sport’s most powerful people, Jeanette has claimed more than 30 national and international titles. Formerly ranked as the #1 player in the world, she has received the greatest honors in her sport with her inductions into the WPBA Hall of Fame (2012) and BCA Hall of Fame (2013). Jeanette currently ranks #3 in the world, making her the top American player.
Jeanette was named the WPBA Sportsperson of the Year in 1998 and has also earned Player of the Year honors from both Billiards Digest and Pool & Billiards Magazine. In 2001, Jeanette was the gold medalist for the United States at the World Games in Akita, Japan – the first time the sport of billiards was ever included – and she participated again in the 2013 World Games held in Cali, Colombia. Jeanette has also captured silver twice at the World Championships during her 14-year professional career. In 2004, Jeanette won the World Trick Shot Championships and BCA Open. In 2005, Jeanette won the China Invitational and, more recently, in 2007 won the World Team Cup, Empress Cup and International Skins Billiard Championship with her doubles partner and husband, George Breedlove “The Flame Thrower.” She went on to successfully defend her Empress Cup title in 2008 and 2009.
Born on July 9, 1971, Jeanette was raised in Brooklyn, NY. At the age of 13, Jeanette was diagnosed with scoliosis, a disorder in which there is a curve, often S-shaped or C-shaped, of the spine or backbone. To alleviate the progression of the debilitating condition, Jeanette underwent scoliosis surgery. The surgical procedure involved techniques to fuse or join the vertebrae along the curve of her spine. Metal “Harrington” rods and other instrumentation were attached to her spine in order to hold her vertebrae together during the months after her surgery while the bones in her spine eventually fused together. Scoliosis surgery is one of the longest and most complicated orthopedic surgical procedures performed on children due to the long operation time and hospitalization for recovery. Her surgery at the time was thought to be a success, but Jeanette’s affliction with scoliosis was not yet at an end.
As an adolescent, Jeanette excelled in scholastics and was accepted into the prestigious Bronx High School of Science. Jeanette expected to attend college and pursue a more conventional career after graduating high school. She completed two years of college while pursuing a bachelor degree in early childhood development and elementary education. However, around this time period in her young life, Jeanette was introduced to the game of pool, a discovery that would change the course of her life. Jeanette immersed herself in all facets of the game and began to practice pool incessantly, regularly playing 20-30 hours at a time. Additionally, Jeanette began studying literature on the game and even befriended “old-time” pool professionals.
During this time of her billiards immersion, Jeanette suffered immensely from pain caused by the steel rods implanted in her back. Her intense pursuit to perfect her new passion consequently aggravated her spinal condition. Regardless, Jeanette relentlessly continued to exert herself physically and mentally. According to one account, she once played pool for 37 straight hours, to the point of unbearable pain and physical exhaustion, and she literally had to be lifted and carried back home by her friends.In 1993, Jeanette’s hard work and unrelenting pursuit of excellence in the game of pool resulted in her professional debut at the age of 21. She turned pro as a full-time member of the Women’s Professional Billiards Association (WPBA) only three years after picking up the sport at age 18. In only her first year as a pro, Jeanette rocketed into the ranks of the top ten in the WPBA. Less than six months later, she was ranked the #1 women’s professional pool player in the world.
Jeanette entered the professional pool world with fury. Her reputation grew to legendary proportions as the world came to know her as “The Black Widow,” a persona she acquired through her ability to overwhelm and almost devour her opponents with a dominant game and a fierce glare, while also exclusively wearing black attire during tournaments.
Jeanette’s first victory came in 1994 at the Baltimore Billiard Classic, the debut event of the WPBA season. She followed up her first professional title with another win at the tour’s next event, the Kasson Twin Cities Classic, and went on to claim two more titles at the BCA San Francisco Classic and U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships. She capped off her sophomore campaign with a win at the Connelly WPBA National Championships in the tour finale for five victories and was named Player of the Year by Billiards Digest and Pool & Billiards Magazine.
Jeanette’s success continued in 1995 as she captured titles at the Olhausen Los Angeles Classic and the Brunswick New York Classic and was nominated by the WPBA for the Sports Person of the Year award, a nomination she would receive again in 1997, before winning the award in 1998. Jeanette would win the 1996 World Bar Table Championships and claim three more tour stops during the next two seasons, winning the BCA Charlotte Classic in 1996 and posting back-to-back victories at the Hubler Cues Nashville Classic and the Olhausen San Diego Classic in 1997. Her spectacular performance in 1997 again earned her Player of the Year honors by Pool & Billiards Magazine.
In 1998, Jeanette would post three more victories en route to being named the WPBA Sportsperson of the Year. She claimed another trio of wins during the 1999 season, including the Tournament of Champions. In 2001, she not only won the BCA Open Championship, but also took home the gold medal for the United States at the 2001 World Games. She also won her first three cushion tournament title at the NYC Women’s Three Cushion Championship in 2011. Jeanette claimed the Tournament of Champions again in 2003 and added two more titles in 2004, with wins at the Cuetec Cues Florida Classic and the Women’s Trick Shot Magic World Championship.
Yet, throughout Jeanette’s flourishing career and unprecedented success, she suffered from chronic pain, which stemmed from her scoliosis. To date, Jeanette has undergone a total of 11 surgeries to the back, neck, and shoulder. She suffers from arthritis, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, four deteriorated discs in her neck and back, and bursitis in both shoulders and both hips. Yet, in spite of her medical challenges, she continues to achieve in the game of pool and other endeavors outside of the pro billiards tour. Jeanette is celebrated as an inspiring leader for her dedication to supporting the Scoliosis Research Society and Women’s Sports Foundation, as well as serving as the National Spokesperson for The Scoliosis Association for almost two decades.
Jeanette’s beautiful and deadly game, underscored through her nickname, “The Black Widow”, has attracted attention away from the pool table as well. She was ranked third on ESPN’s list of Sexiest Female Athletes in the World, featured in Esquire’s Ten Women We Love and among Aloette Cosmetics Dozen Most Attractive Women Athletes. Jeanette has made television appearances on Arli$$, Best Damn Sports Show Period, Entertainment Tonight, Extra!, Hard Copy, HBO Real Sports, Late Show with Craig Kilborn, Today, The Late Show with David Letterman and Live with Regis & Kelly. She has also been featured in commercials for ESPN’s SportsCenter, Ford, Bass Pro Shops and the American Poolplayers Association, and made a cameo appearance in the Walt Disney Pictures’ The Other Sister. Rolling Stone has called her “one of the truest stars anywhere on television.”
The combination of Jeanette’s pool prowess, engaging personality, beauty and mystique has led to her renowned reputation as the most famous pool player of her generation. In addition to dominating opponents in tournaments, Jeanette dazzles audiences with her pool artistry and arsenal of trick shots at corporate and public appearances. David Brenner, an actor, comedian and owner of Amsterdam Billiards, NYC, says “Jeanette Lee is a natural, like Wayne Gretzky, Babe Ruth or Michael Jordan.” She is unmistakably a fan favorite, prompting Golf Digest to proclaim Jeanette “an absolute show stopper,” noting that “she was the star at our U.S. Open party filled with Donald Trump, Carson Daly and other celebrities.”
A world champion pool player, celebrity, public speaker and philanthropist, Jeanette has also been successful in other ventures. In 2000, she co-authored The Black Widow’s Guide to Killer Pool. Jeanette opened the Black Widow Parlor in Bass Pro Shops in Altoona, Iowa, has her own sleepwear line in the Bass Pro Shops stores, and is the face of the American Poolplayers Association. Jeanette also leads the Black Widow Experience, a group clinic she teaches in Indianapolis, Ind., as well as locations around the country during her various travels.
Jeanette Lee currently resides in Indianapolis, Ind. with her husband George Breedlove, a top-ranked men’s pro billiards player and business owner, and they have six kids. They live with their adopted daughter Cheyenne Lee, whom they have had since her birth; their daughter Chloe Angelee, who was born through a kind surrogate; and a little surprise miracle baby Savannah Lee, who was carried by Jeanette herself after 17 years of trying. Jeanette and George are the definition of raising a modern blended family, as they also adopted a foster at 14 years old, John, now in his senior year of college, and Jeanette and George have two daughters from George’s previous marriage. Morgan is married to Jason with a beautiful daughter Elliette in South Dakota. Olivia is a student and has her own custom craft gifts business, Olivia Sue Designs.