Photo: Steven Ferdman (Getty Images)

A thing I’d like to impress upon you is how difficult it can be to get the Patriots to comment on a story. Let alone on a story that could be characterized as gossip. Let alone on the record. Trust me, I know. That said, here’s a statement from the Patriots, via the Boston Globe:

“Last fall, Ricki Noel Lander became the proud mother of a beautiful, healthy baby,” the Patriots spokesperson wrote in an email early Thursday. “While Robert Kraft is not the biological father, he is thrilled with Ricki’s blessing of having a healthy child. With respect to her family’s privacy, we will not be commenting any further.”

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It’s been a strange few hours, from the late-night publication of a Page Six report that Lander, 38, had secretly given birth to a child last year, and that Kraft, 76, is the father, to the even later-night response from the Patriots. (The Post has since updated its story with the statement.) But it’s not much of a stretch to assume that the child’s paternity is something Kraft would like sorted out publicly—to say nothing of the interest of his four sons in clearing that up.

Kraft and Lander first got together in 2012—he would only refer to her as his “pal,” which was kind of weird. Lander probably first appeared on your radar when video of Kraft helping her with an audition for the Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson movie The Internship leaked online. (She did not get the part.)

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The two were not seen together for much of 2016 and 2017, but have reappeared publicly, with Kraft and Lander attending the Grammys and the NBA All-Star Game together. They’re expected to attend Sunday’s Academy Awards.

According to the Post,

Sources say that Kraft is “taking full care of Ricki and the baby,” and he has bought her a Los Angeles mansion and made some sizable financial investments on her behalf.

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Congratulations to everyone involved.

[Boston Globe]