A chance meeting at a pool in Europe would introduce Serena Williams to her future husband, Alexis Ohanian. Within the last year, the couple has gotten married and welcomed their first child, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., into the world. Despite the highs, it has not been without difficulty as Williams had post-pregnancy health complications. Ohanian spoke with Vogue about watching Williams struggle.
“I was happy to change diapers, but on top of everything she was going through, the feeling of not being able to help made it even harder,” Ohanian explained to Vogue. “Consider for a moment that your body is one of the greatest things on this planet, and you’re trapped in it.”
Williams would eventually make a full recovery, and is now back on the tennis court. All of it has happened much quicker than the couple expected. Williams spoke with Vanity Fair about becoming a mother prior to Olympia’s birth.
“If you would have told me last year in October or November that I would have a baby, not be pregnant but have a baby, I would have thought you were the biggest liar in the world,“ Williams told Vanity Fair during her pregnancy. “This is kind of how I am right now. This is happening sooner than later, and it’s going by so fast.”
Learn more about Williams’ husband and Reddit founder.
1. The Couple’s Wedding Guest List Included Jay-Z, Beyonce, Eva Longoria & Kim Kardashian
According to Essence, the couple met at a poolside table at the Cavalieri Hotel back in May 2015. Williams and Ohanian got married on November 16, 2017 at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. According to the Daily Mail, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Kim Kardashian, Kelly Rowland and Ciara were just a few of the notable names on the star-studded guest list.
The wedding had a Beauty and the Beast theme to it, and guests were encouraged to keep the theme in mind when they planned their attire. In addition to the famous Disney movie, tennis was also part of the celebration. The tables were all named after Serena Williams’ Grand Slam titles, and guests were given golden trophies as party favors, per the Daily Mail.
There was also a bit of New Orleans flavor as guests were greeted with a jazz band, and cocktails were served on blocked off streets in the city.
2. Serena Gave Birth to the Couple’s First Child, Olympia, on September 1, 2017
The couple celebrated the birth of their first child, Olympia, on September 1, 2017. Williams explained to The New York Times that she is just like any other mother when it comes to caring for her daughter.
“I didn’t want to let her go; I don’t want to let her go,” Williams explained to The New York Times. “I like to believe, and I would like other people to understand, that I’m no different than anyone else. I have the same struggles a lot of women have had, and a lot of women are probably determined to carry their baby in the door. And a lot of women are determined to do a lot of the stuff that I do, and there’s literally no difference between me and them with the exception of the side of me that just so happens to play professional tennis.”
Williams returned to the tennis court months after her pregnancy. According to The New York Times, Williams overcame life-threatening postnatal complications, and has returned to being one of the top tennis players in the world.
3. Alexis Is the Founder of Reddit, But Is No Longer Part of the Day-to-Day Operations
I convinced my college roommate to start a business that would help people skip lines. That didn’t work out. But then [the Silicon Valley incubator] Y Combinator said, ‘O.K., take our money and do something else.’ And that was Reddit…[Reddit is] a network of 100,000-plus communities, each one sort of operating with its own kind of culture and personality. If you’re a fanatic of sneakers or a particular sports team, it’s all there.
Ohanian no longer works in the daily operations of the site, but still sits on the board. He is also the co-founder of Initialized Capital, a venture capital firm that specializes in start-ups.
4. Alexis Admits Being Married to Serena Has Been a Humbling Experience
Ohanian has had a successful business career, and prides himself on his work ethic. Being married to one of the top athletes in the world has given him an up-close look at the daily grind of a professional athletes. Ohanian admitted to The New York Times that his relationship with Williams has humbled him.
I thought I was the hardest-working person on the planet. I thought we were the hardest-working industry. That’s what we tell ourselves. It’s all malarkey.
I’ve had this front-row seat over the last three years to greatness. It’s a humbling experience seeing really what high-pressure situations actually look like professionally, seeing just what it takes to actually be that great. It is a work ethic on another level.
I used to change the channel when tennis was on. Then I watched my first match when I met her, and quickly got an appreciation for the sport. It’s not just the physical requirements but the mental requirements. I could not imagine doing my job with millions of people watching.
5. Serena Did Not Expect to Marry a White Man & Has Noted the Couple Often Talks About Race
Williams admitted to never expecting to marry a white man, but noted Ohanian had all the characteristics she was looking for in a partner. In an interview with The New York Times, Williams explained how the couple discusses race, and the notable inequalities in the country.
Oh my God. Literally all I tell Alexis is, ‘well, you know, there’s such a difference between white people and black people.’ He always gets to hear about the injustices that happen; that wouldn’t happen if I were white. It’s interesting. I never thought I would have married a white guy, either, so it just goes to show you that love truly has no color, and it just really goes to show me the importance of what love is. And my dad absolutely loves Alexis.
Ultimately I wanted to be with someone who treated me nice, someone who was able to laugh with me and someone who understood my life and someone that loved me.