Douglas Emhoff is an entertainment attorney and the husband of former California Senator Kamala Harris, who is now the Vice President of the United States. Emhoff is the nation’s first second gentleman of the United States. Prior to Harris, every vice president was a man and their spouses were named the second lady of the United States.
President Joe Biden announced that Harris, who also ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, was his choice of running mate on August 11. The pair won the 2020 presidential election in November, despite ongoing claims of election fraud by then-President Donald Trump.
Throughout the long campaign, Harris’ husband was right by her side every step of the way.
After it was announced that Biden and Harris had won the election, Emhoff was quick to tweet his excitement. The photo was reminiscent of the one he shared when Harris dropped out of the race for president, which also showed them embracing — only this one was much more joyful.
So proud of you. ❤️❤️🇺🇸🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/Orb1ISe0dU
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) November 7, 2020
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
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 Emhoff’s bio with DLA Piper, he is currently on a leave of absence from the firm.
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
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, 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.
Last one… pic.twitter.com/K5hTR3eWav
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) July 1, 2020
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.”
"Find time to sing. Find time to dance. Find time to laugh at yourself." –@KamalaHarris to over 14 pages of her campaign staff while I was mid-cry. ilysm #ForThePeople FOREVER ❤💜💛 pic.twitter.com/rXoUMQB9c3
— Emily Bateman (@emilyrbateman) June 5, 2020
3. Emhoff Has 2 Children From a Previous Marriage Who Call Harris ‘Momala’
Post campaign son and dad started a Wed night dinner ritual. Last night son invited dad to his apt. There was a cheese plate. My work is done. 😭❤️ pic.twitter.com/5MfFZ1hBxt
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) February 13, 2020
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.
Proud Papa at Ella's Senior Art Show! pic.twitter.com/UbvJPHU1Xp
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) March 17, 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
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:
Please wear a mask. Thanks and much appreciated. 👍💯 pic.twitter.com/QtqSsimnqt
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) July 15, 2020
He posted this on July 3:
When you are out, wear the mask. It’s that simple. 💯 pic.twitter.com/xhh6gUCUCX
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) July 3, 2020
Here’s another mask post from June 24:
PSA: Please wear your mask! Seeing lots of no masks on this walk. Not cool. pic.twitter.com/xBOwit9dUS
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) June 24, 2020
Emhoff also tweets about some of the dishes he cooks at home.
After all that tuna content, it being Wednesday, was still my turn to cook. So I made this while we were still laughing about those technical difficulties. Have a great, safe night everyone. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/vgr5lK7gnH
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) April 23, 2020
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) April 4, 2020
She crushed it during impeachment, had a long flight, so I cooked my Senator some dinner. pic.twitter.com/CpLJsZhtKv
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) February 6, 2020
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 for the President
I’ve got you. As always.❤️ pic.twitter.com/5OJDT3cDfw
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) December 3, 2019
When Harris dropped out of the presidential 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.
Just thinking about @Chas10Buttigieg right now. Well done friend. pic.twitter.com/R5urON02f1
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) March 1, 2020
Emhoff was also known for angrily helping pull a protester off stage when the man grabbed the mic away from Harris.
— Kyung Lah (@KyungLahCNN) June 2, 2019
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.”
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) June 2, 2019
He later tweeted that they were good and thanked everyone for their support.