Oracle president Charles Phillips has admitted he had a "serious" eight-and-a-half-year relationship with the woman who appears beside him in billboards littering New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta.
In a statement released by his PR agency, Phillips said his relationship with the woman, YaVaughnie Wilkins, has now ended. The statement also said that Phillips began divorce proceedings from his wife, Karen, in 2008.
According to a woman claiming to be Wilkins' cousin, Wilkins paid for the billboards, which went up three months after she ended her relationship with Phillips. Similar claims are made by someone using a similar name to comment on the gossip site Gawker and by a story in The Daily Mail.
Speaking with The Reg, a woman calling herself Misha and claiming to be Wilkins' cousin said that Wilkins ended her relationship with Phillips in October 2009 after she discovered that Phillips had still been married to his wife Karen for a majority of the relationship.
Phillips told Wilkins his divorce was finalized in 2003, according to Misha. Misha also said that Phillips and Wilkins lived together for eight years and bought a house together two years ago.
Oracle would not comment despite repeated email and phone requests from The Reg. A spokesperson at public relations agency Rubenstein handling Phillips' personal PR declined to go into detail, but issued a statement attributed to Phillips.
"I had an 8 1/2 year serious relationship with YaVaughnie Wilkins. My divorce proceedings began in 2008. The relationship with Ms. Wilkins has since ended and we both wish each other well," the statement read.
According to Misha, the billboards were designed to prove to close friends and family that her relationship with Phillips - which began in 2001 after they met at his former employer, Morgan Stanley - was "significant."
The billboards began appearing in major US cities on Tuesday. "She never knew he was married," Misha said. "[She] had them placed where family and friends lived to let people know this was a significant relationship - that she was not just a mistress."
The billboards featured the couple with a message apparently from Phillips that read: "You are my soulmate forever."
Beneath the picture of the couple was a URL that linked back to a web site of photos showing them enjoying themselves on holiday, at home, and at political and social events going back to 2001. The site also contains memorabilia including love notes.