From a Blind Date to the White House: A Look at Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff's Loving Relationship
The vice president and second gentleman met on a blind date in 2013 and were married a year later
2013: Love at First Sight
In 2013, Harris, then Attorney General of California, and Emhoff, a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer, were set up on a blind date by Harris' friend, Chrisette Hudlin.
Emhoff wrote in a birthday message to his wife in 2020, "Blind date, love at first sight, marriage, family, and an incredible life together. Through it all, no matter what, she is ALWAYS there for me and our family without hesitation."
2013: Doing Her Research
The pair sat down for an interview with Jane Pauley of CBS News' Sunday Morning in January 2020, and Harris revealed that the date wasn't exactly blind: she Googled her future husband before she met him.
"I did!" Harris said with a laugh, while Emhoff smiled and said, "Oh. This is a reveal!"
"So, yes, my best friend set us up on a blind date," Harris explained. "And she said, 'Just trust me. Just trust me.' You know, she wanted me to just kind of go into it, and she said, 'Don't Google him.' I did!"
Emhoff said in the interview that he was at a Lakers game with a friend when he decided to send a text to Harris, who was California's Attorney General at the time. The next morning, he called her.
"I left this ridiculous voicemail, which she has saved and plays back to me on our anniversary every year," Emhoff said. "I thought I'd never hear from her again, but ..."
"But it was just, it was adorable," said Harris. "And it was just, I mean, the thing about Doug is that he is exactly who he is. He's just fully authentic and clear about the things he cares about. And it's family, it's his work …"
"You," Emhoff said to his wife with a smile.
2013: Making Moves
Harris recalled in her memoir, "The morning after our first date, Doug emailed me with a list of his available dates for the next couple of months. 'I'm too old to play games or hide the ball,' the email read. 'I really like you, and I want to see if we can make this work.' "
And, Harris shared on Instagram, "We’ve been making it work ever since."
2014: Put a Ring on It
Less than a year after their first date, Emhoff proposed to Harris, revealing to Marie Claire that it all happened "in the middle of a decidedly unromantic conversation (she was deliberating between chicken or shrimp pad thai)."
2014: Happily Wedded
On August 22, 2014, the pair got married in a ceremony performed by Harris' sister, Maya, at a courthouse in Santa Barbara, California.
Blending Their Families
Emhoff has two children from his previous marriage, Cole and Ella, 26 and 21; Harris became their stepmom in August 2014, when she married Emhoff.
While some blended families can struggle to find their stride, the Harris-Emhoff family has not. Emhoff's ex-wife, Kerstin, has a great relationship with Harris, with the vice president revealing in an essay for Elle, "Kerstin and I hit it off ourselves and are dear friends. She and I became a duo of cheerleaders in the bleachers at Ella’s swim meets and basketball games, often to Ella’s embarrassment. We sometimes joke that our modern family is almost a little too functional."
Ella told The New York Times of her mother's dynamic with Emhoff and Harris, "They have good communication between the three of them. They are really a unit, like a three-person parenting squad. It’s really cool."
Now She's Momala
Harris told Elle that, after she and Emhoff married, "Cole, Ella, and I agreed that we didn’t like the term 'stepmom.' Instead they came up with the name 'Momala.' "
She said in her remarks after being announced as Biden's running mate, "I’ve had a lot of titles over my career, and certainly 'vice president' will be great, but 'Momala' will always be one of those that means the most."
Cole and Ella opened up about their parents in an interview with The New York Times, with Cole saying, "Doug and Kamala together are like almost vomit-inducingly cute and coupley. I’m like, When is this going to wear off?"
Ella added, "It’s so insane. It’s like the honeymoon phase forever. Like, the rest of the world gets to see it on social media, but we live that."
2015: Red Carpet Ready
In 2015, Emhoff and Harris hit the red carpet for the Vanity Fair Oscars Party.
2016: Proud Campaign Husband
Emhoff had some practice before joining his wife on the 2020 presidential campaign trail. In 2016, he joined her while she was campaigning to become senator of California. Here, they cast their votes in the senate race, which Harris ultimately won.
2017: There for the Big Moments
Emhoff held the Bible at Harris' swearing in ceremony in January 2017, an action he would repeat at the 2020 inauguration as his wife was sworn in as the first female vice president of the United States.
2019: Big Announcement
Emhoff was by his wife's side when she announced that she would be running for president in the 2020 election.
2019: Showing Pride
The pair shared a kiss at the San Francisco Pride parade in June 2019.
2019: Her Biggest Fan
Doug snapped a selfie while on the campaign trail in Iowa in August 2019. (Check out that Kamala phone case!)
2019: There Through Highs and Lows
In December 2019, Harris ended her presidential campaign.
Emhoff, of course, was there to support her. He told Marie Claire, "She made that decision, and I would have supported whatever she decided. But I’m not her political adviser. I’m her husband. And so my role was to be there for her, to love her, to have her back, to talk it through, to help her."
2020: On Their Way to Making History
When Harris was announced as Biden's running mate, she said in her first remarks, "I can’t wait for America to get to know Doug. My family means everything to me."
The pair would be making history with Harris becoming the first female vice president and Emhoff becoming the first second gentleman.
2020: Refreshingly Normal
The pair told PEOPLE exclusively following the announcement that they "are a partnership," and gave a glimpse into their routine.
Emhoff told PEOPLE, "It's a lot of planning. Typically, we get up early, we work out and then we sit down and it's like, 'Let's have a meeting and figure out how we're going to get through these next couple of days.' That includes getting dinner and figuring out laundry, mail. All that stuff that doesn't stop, and we still need to do it."
2020: Going with the Flow
Harris told PEOPLE that it helps that her "Dougie," as she calls Emhoff, is patient and laughs easily.
The campaign is "obviously very stressful. We're talking about the free world," she said. "These are serious times and the challenges are incredibly serious, but we don't take ourselves too seriously in the context of our relationship. You just have to flow and know what's really important."
2020: Post Debate P.D.A.
Emhoff gave his wife a kiss after she debated Vice President Mike Pence in October 2020.
2020: We Did It
"So proud of you. ❤️❤️🇺🇸🇺🇸," Emhoff captioned a photo hugging Harris after it was announced that she and Biden had won the 2020 presidential election.
2020: Celebrating Together
"To my husband Doug, our children Cole and Ella, my sister Maya, and our whole family — I love you all more than I can express," Harris said onstage on Nov. 7, 2020, as she and Joe Biden celebrated their victory.
2021: Harris Makes History
Harris made history when she became the first woman vice president of the United States on Jan. 21, 2021. She is also the first Black person and South Asian person to hold the office.
Emhoff was there to support his wife and hold the Bibles as she was sworn in.
2021: The First Second Gentleman
Emhoff tweeted of his new role, "I am honored to be the first male spouse of an American President or Vice President. But I'll always remember generations of women have served in this role before me—often without much accolade or acknowledgment. It’s their legacy of progress I will build on as Second Gentleman."
Emhoff announced previously that he would be leaving his job to focus on his new duties.