WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange secretly fathered two sons while living inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, his partner, lawyer Stella Morris, has revealed.
Stella Morris, 37, says she has been in a relationship with Julian Assange since 2015 and has been raising their two young sons on her own.
The South African-born lawyer spoke out amid fears over the spread of Covid-19 in Belmarsh Prison.
Julian Assange, 48, has been held there since being dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy a year ago.
The Australian is now seeking bail amid concerns over his health.
Stella Morris told The Mail on Sunday she was revealing their union for the first time because his “life is on the brink” and she does not believe the WikiLeaks founder would “survive infection with coronavirus”.
In a video posted on Wikileaks’ YouTube account, Stella Morris says she met Julian Assange in 2011 when she joined his legal team.
Julian Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over an assault case that has since been dropped.
The Australian is also fighting extradition to the US on espionage charges.
Stella Morris says she visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy almost every day and “got to know Julian very well”. The couple fell in love in 2015 and got engaged two years later.
The lawyer told The Mail on Sunday that Julian Assange had watched both boys being born via video link and they had visited their father at the embassy.
She said that 3-year-old Gabriel and one-year-old Max speak to their father via video calls.
In the WikiLeaks YouTube video, Stella Morris says: “Forming a family was a deliberate decision to break down those walls around him and imagine a life beyond that prison.
“While for many people it would seem insane to start a family in that context, for us it was the sane thing to do, to keep things real.
“It grounds me and when Julian sees the children it gives him a lot of peace and nurture and support. They are very happy children.”
Julian Assange was arrested on April 11, 2019 at the Ecuadorian embassy and detained for “failing to surrender to the court”.
He was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail conditions.
Julian Assange was due to be released from HMP Belmarsh in September 2019 after serving the custody period of his jail term.
However, a judge ruled that the WikiLeaks founder should remain in jail until his extradition hearing because of his “history of absconding”.
Details about the children with Stella Morris were seen by the Mail in court documents as part of his US extradition case.
Julian Assange is believed to have other children, although little is known about them. He has an adult son, Daniel Assange, who is reportedly a software designer in Australia.