Russian President Vladimir and his now ex-wife Lyudmila Shkrebneva.
  • Russian president Vladimir Putin has at least two, possibly three, daughters he rarely talks about.
  • He has two adult daughters with his ex-wife Lyudmila Shkrebneva: Maria, 35, and Katerina, 33.
  • On Tuesday, he said one of them got Russia's new coronavirus vaccine, but wouldn't say which daughter received it.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Russian president Vladimir Putin, 67, has tried to keep his personal life almost entirely out of the spotlight.

From his first marriage of 30 years to reports of a girlfriend, Putin and his administration have fought hard to prevent the media and the world from knowing much about him - aside from the carefully curated macho man on horseback, lifting weights and posing in shirtless photos.

He has specifically made a concerted effort to shield his children from any spotlight, prompting many to even question whether he has any kids at all.

Rumors have swirled for years that Putin has two daughters with his ex-wife, and that his reported girlfriend may have had another daughter in 2015.

Here is what we know about the mysterious lives of Putin's secret kids.

Putin had two daughters in his first marriage to former flight attendant Lyudmila Shkrebneva, who he was married to for three decades before their divorce in 2013.

Sources: Vladimir Putin,Reuters, Business Insider

Their daughter's names are Maria and Katerina. While Maria was born in Leningrad in 1985, Katerina was born in Germany in 1986 when the family lived there during her father's time in the KGB.

Sources: Vladimir Putin, Reuters, Newsweek

Both girls are named after their grandmothers. Maria's nickname is Masha and Katerina's nickname is Katya.

Sources:Vladimir Putin, Reuters, Newsweek

When the family moved to Moscow in 1996, the girls attended a German-language school. The children were reportedly removed from school when Putin became acting president, and teachers educated them at home.

Source: Newsweek

"Not all fathers are as loving with their children as he is," Lyudmila said in a quote on Putin's government website. "And he has always spoiled them, while I was the one who had to discipline them."

Russian President Vladimir and his now ex-wife Lyudmila Shkrebneva.

Source: Vladimir Putin

Maria studied biology in college and went to medical school in Moscow, while Katerina majored in Asian Studies in college. Both girls attended university under false identities.

Sources: Reuters, Newsweek

Maria, now 35, is a medical researcher and lives in Moscow with her Dutch husband, Jorrit Faassen.

Sources: Reuters, Newsweek, Bloomberg

Maria and Faassen reportedly have a child — Putin told filmmaker Oliver Stone in 2017 that he was a grandfather. When Stone asked if he played with his grandchild, Putin replied, "Very seldom, unfortunately."

Sources: Reuters, The Independent, Bloomberg, Daily Mail

Meanwhile, Katerina reportedly lives a high-flying life, living in lavish apartments and acquiring a fortune.

Sources: Reuters, The Independent, Bloomberg, Daily Mail

Katerina, now 33, is an accomplished acrobatic dancer and has a senior position at her alma mater, Moscow State University, heading a $1.7 billion startup incubator.

Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg

Katerina married Russian billionaire Kirill Shamalov in 2013. But the couple divorced in 2018 — revealing they were worth $2 billion.

Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, The Guardian

There are no official current photos of the girls, and there is some debate over their exact names. For Katerina, we found the first names "Katerina", "Katya", and "Yekaterina", and the last names "Putina", "Tikhonova", and "Shamalov". For Maria, we also found "Mariya."

Sources: Reuters, Newsweek

Finally, there are rumours that Putin has a third daughter with girlfriend and former Russian rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva.

Source: New York Post

But neither the child nor the relationship with Kabaeva have been confirmed.

Source: Business Insider

Putin has tried to shelter his children from the media, attempting to keep them out of politics so they can live normal lives.

Sources: Reuters, Business Insider

Despite his carefully curated mystery, Katerina made her debut on Russian state TV as a biotechnology expert in December 2018.

Source: Business Insider

Her appearance did not include comment on her being related to Putin, nearly a year after a dance competition official previously confirmed her identity as Putin's daughter before retracting his comment.

Source: Reuters

On Tuesday, Putin announced Russia had made the world's first vaccine for the novel coronavirus — which scientists doubt is safe or effective. The Russian leader said he gave the shot to one of his two daughters, but wouldn't specify which one.

Sources: Business Insider, BBC, Politico

Putin said his daughter's temperature decreased after getting two shots. "She has taken part in the experiment," he said, adding, "She's feeling well and has high number of antibodies."

Sources: Business Insider, BBC, Politico

It was a rare acknowledgment for Putin, but one still shrouded in mystery — all a carefully calculated charade to enhance his image.

Receive a daily update on your cellphone with all our latest news: click here.

Get the best of our site emailed to you daily: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa: