Serena Williams has dominated the sport of tennis for more than two decades. Not only that but she also has her own fashion line and is involved in several other business ventures. In 2015, she met Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and two years later took on her most important roles as a mother and later a wife. But if Ohanian had listened to Williams when they first met, they wouldn’t be together today.
Here’s more on their love story and some interesting facts you probably didn’t know about this power couple from two totally different worlds.
Williams tried to scare Ohanian away the first time they met
In May 2015, Williams and Ohanian happened to be staying at the same Cavalieri hotel in Rome. The entrepreneur took a seat right next to the table where Williams and her friends were sitting.
The athlete and her pals thought he was sitting a little too close to them when he had several other empty tables to choose from, so they tried to get him to leave by telling him there was a rat near his table. Ohanian didn’t scare easily though and responded, “I’m from Brooklyn. I see rats all the time.”
Eventually, the two got to chatting and Williams ended up giving him her number.
Next: Williams didn’t know what the website he co-founded was.
Williams had never heard of Reddit before
Believe it or not, the tennis champ had never heard of the social news site Ohanian co-founded, but she figured that he would be good to talk to about some tech-related questions she had. “I was not thinking beyond ‘Yeah sure, I can give you some feedback on your website,'” Ohanian admitted.
Williams wasn’t thinking about anything more either because she actually thought he was interested in her friend and only gave him her number for his tech advice.
Next: Ohanian was not a fan of tennis at all.
Ohanian had never watched tennis before
Perhaps even more surprising than Williams not knowing what Reddit was is the fact that Ohanian had never seen Williams play tennis before. He told Vanity Fair, “It was literally the sport — even if ESPN was announcing tennis updates, I would just zone out … I really had no respect for tennis.”
In fact, he knew so little about the sport that the first Instagram photo he posted of Williams on the court showed her committing a foot fault. He captioned it, “Looks like I just became a tennis fan.”
Next: Williams has dated these men in the past.
Williams is the first celebrity Ohanian dated
Prior to meeting Ohanian, the tennis superstar was in a relationship with the rapper Common from 2007 to 2010 before dating former NBA player Amar’e Stoudemire. She also dated Rush Hour and X-Men: The Last Stand director Brett Ratner from 2004 to 2006 and was linked to Colin Farrell and Drake in the past.
Before he met Williams, Ohanian dated a woman who, according to the New York Times, tried to commit suicide by jumping out a window while studying abroad in Germany. She ended up in a coma, but eventually recovered. He then met and dated microbiologist Sabriya Stukes for several years.
Next: Ohanian flew Williams 5,000 miles away to propose to her.
Ohanian proposed to Williams at the same place they met, rat and all
By 2016, Ohanian knew he had found “the one” and wanted to marry Williams. So he decided to fly her right back to the Hotel Cavalieri Hilton in Rome where they first met, and he proposed. He even had a fake rat situated on their table to remind them of their first meeting a year and a half earlier.
Williams took to Reddit, of course, to announce the news and shared this poem:
I came home/A little late/Someone had a bag packed for me/And a carriage awaited/Destination: Rome/To escort me to my very own “charming”/Back to where our stars first collided/And now it was full circle/At the same table we first met by chance/This time he made it not by chance/But by choice/Down on one knee/He said 4 words/And/r/isaidyes.
Next: Williams had to have this on her wedding day.
She had to have a Disney-themed fairytale wedding
When Williams began her wedding planning, there was no negotiating on the theme. It had to be a Disney-themed fairytale wedding, so she and Ohanian chose the Beauty and the Beast theme.
Everyone in attendance was treated to a spectacular ball-like atmosphere and enjoyed the tunes of “Be Our Guest” and “Tale as Old as Time,” which was the couple’s first dance.
Next: They did not go the traditional route when naming their daughter.
People were surprised by the name the couple gave their daughter
On Sept. 1, 2017, Williams gave birth to their first child, a healthy baby girl, and people were a little surprised after the couple revealed their daughter’s name because she was named after her dad. That’s right, their baby, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, is actually a junior taking the name of her father.
While it’s rare to name a child after a parent of the opposite sex, it has happened before with some other celebrity babies, including Teyana Taylor’s daughter, Iman Shumpert Jr., who is named after her NBA player dad, Iman Shumpert.
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