Douglas Emhoff, Kamala Harris’ Husband: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

kamala harris husband douglas emhoff

Getty Senator Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, in 2017.

Douglas Emhoff is an entertainment attorney and the husband of California Senator Kamala Harris, Joe Biden’s vice presidential running mate.

Biden announced that Harris, who also ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, was his choice on August 11. Her husband has been right by her side every step of the way.

Here’s what you need to know about Douglas Emhoff, Kamala Harris’ husband:


1. Emhoff Is a Partner at DLA Piper & Once Defended an Ad Agency in the Famous Taco Bell Chihuahua Lawsuit

douglas emhoff kamala harris husband

GettySenator Kamala Harris with her husband, Douglas Emhoff.

Emhoff is a partner at DLA Piper, a global law firm with locations in more than 40 countries. The firm represents Fortune 500 and Global 1000 enterprises and emerging companies and technologies, along with advising government and public sectors.

According to his bio, Emhoff is a litigator and advisor with more than 25 years of experience. He is licensed to practice in California and Washington, D.C. He joined DLA Piper in 2017, and before that he was with Venable, where he helped oversee the firm’s West Coast expansion.

Before joining DLA Piper, Emhoff worked on the famous lawsuit involving the Taco Bell mascot, the “Psycho Chihuahua.” Wrench sued Taco Bell for $42 million for breach of contract, claiming that the Michigan-based company had created the Chihuahua character, Newsweek reported. Wrench won and Taco Bell tried to make its ad agency, TBWA, pay the settlement. Emhoff helped prevent TBWA from having to pay that money. That ruling came in 2009, after Taco Bell tried to sue TBWA, claiming they should have known about the similar theme and that their contract indemnified Taco Bell, AM Law Daily reported.

Emhoff’s Juris Doctor degree is from Southern California Gould School of Law in 1990, and he has a Bachelor of Arts from California State University in 1987.

Emhoff has said that one of his toughest cases involved a con man in Orange County, California, who stole millions from investors, Law360 reported. The man was ultimately convicted. He said it was a David versus Goliath type of case.

“Along with obtaining a judgment against the felon, we brought a claim against a prominent national bank for allowing the overseas transfer of funds from my client’s account without the proper approvals,” Emhoff explained. “… The matter was heavily contested and went all the way to trial before it ultimately settled several weeks into the trial. Another challenging aspect of this case involved contending with a very upset group of clients that were put in an extremely precarious financial situation. Despite these obstacles, the clients were happy with the outcome.”

According to his bio, Emhoff likes to help with charitable causes like social justice, human rights, children’s causes and legal aid.


2. Emhoff & Harris Met on a Blind Date in 2013 & Were Married a Year Later

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GettySenator Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, kiss while participating in San Francisco’s Pride parade.

Emhoff and Harris first met in 2013 when she was the attorney general in California, Newsweek reported. A mutual friend set them up on a blind date and they hit it off immediately. When friend Chrisette Hudlin set them up, she told Harris not to overthink it or “Google him,” CNN reported. Harris said in her book, The Truths We Hold, that she never brought men to public events unless she was very serious about them because of all the scrutiny they would get.

Harris and Emhoff got along even when they talked on the phone before they met. When he emailed her about when he was available, he said he was “too old to play games or hide the ball,” and said he really liked her. The two were married a year later by Maya Harris West, Kamala Harris’ sister, in a Santa Barbara courthouse. When Emhoff proposed, he did so during a discussion about what kind of takeout they wanted, CNN reported.

He and Harris like to have fun together. Here’s a video of them laughing and dancing at SF Pride in June 2019.

During the pandemic, Harris and Emhoff spoke with members of her campaign staff on a Zoom call in June. She told the group: “Find time to sing. Find time to dance. Find time to laugh at yourself.”


3. Emhoff Has 2 Children From a Previous Marriage Who Call Harris ‘Momala’

Emhoff has two children from a previous marriage with former wife Kerstin Emhoff: Cole and Ella, Newsweek reported. Cole Emhoff graduated from college in May 2017.

Harris was careful about meeting his children, waiting until she and Emhoff had been dating for several months, CNN reported.  She was really nervous about their first meeting and was very relieved when they welcomed her to the family. Today, Harris is very close to Emhoff’s children, who call her “Momala.”

She also became friends with Emhoff’s first wife, Kerstin Emhoff, and has said that she’s an incredible mother.

In 2019, Harris’ New Year’s resolution was to have more family dinners, she told Good Morning America. She said: “I spend time thinking about recipes, I plan menus in my head and then it’s just a matter of when can I get the family together and be home to cook Sunday family dinner… So my goal this year is to do even more Sunday family dinners. It’s my most favorite thing to do.”


4. He’s a Big Supporter of Wearing Masks & He Likes to Cook

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TwitterDouglas Emhoff and Senator Kamala Harris show off their masks.

Emhoff is a big supporter of wearing masks. His profile page on Twitter shows him and Harris wearing a mask. On July 15, he posted a simple request asking others to wear masks, too:

He posted this on July 3:

Here’s another mask post from June 24:

Emhoff also tweets about some of the dishes he cooks at home.

Harris told CNN that Emhoff usually wakes up before she does and reads the news. She said if she can hear him sighing or groaning about what he’s reading, it gives her an idea of what kind of day they’re going to face. She said that the night Clinton lost, she ate an entire family-sized bag of Doritos.


5. He Shared Many Photos From the Campaign Trail, Including an Iconic Photo After She Dropped Out of the Race

When Harris dropped out of the race, Emhoff shared a photo of the two embracing while she sat in his lap, with Emhoff writing: “I’ve got you. As always.”

He was known for sharing highlights and behind-the-scenes photos while his wife was campaigning. During the race, he and Pete Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten Buttigieg, became friends.

Emhoff was also known for angrily helping pull a protester off stage when the man grabbed the mic away from Harris.

One person shared a screenshot from that moment and wrote: “When the protestor rushed ⁦@KamalaHarris⁩ at the ⁦@MoveOn⁩ event, Harris’ husband ⁦@douglasemhoff⁩ helped pull the guy off stage. Husbands, take notice.”

He later tweeted that they were good and thanked everyone for their support.

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