The entertainment lawyer has been Vice President Harris' biggest supporter

By Sean Neumann
Updated January 21, 2021 07:05 PM
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Kamala Harris and Douglas Emhoff
From left: Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff
| Credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP/Shutterstock

On Wednesday, Jan. 20, Kamala Harris became the first female, Black person and person of Asian descent to be sworn in as Vice President of the United States. Beside her stood her husband, Doug Emhoff, who also broke a barrier.

Emhoff, 56, became the country's first "second gentleman."

"I can't wait for America to get to know Doug," Harris, 56, said in her first remarks as Biden's running mate last August. "My family means everything to me." She's echoed that sentiment frequently since the summer.

Kamala Harris, Doug Emhoff
Credit: Kamala Harris/Instagram

Harris and Emhoff's family is blended, as well. He has two adult kids — son Cole and daughter Ella — from his previous marriage; Harris became a stepmom (a.k.a. 'Momala' to the kids) in August 2014, when she married Emhoff.

"I've had a lot of titles over my career, and certainly 'vice president' will be great," she said when being announced as Biden's running mate last August, "but 'Momala' will always be one of those that means the most."

Here's what we know about Emhoff.

Kamala Harris and Douglas Emhoff
From left: Douglas Emhoff waves to a crowd of supporters alongside then-Sen. Kamala Harris in January 2019
| Credit: NOAH BERGER/AFP via Getty

He's A Lawyer

Emhoff is an entertainment lawyer who was born in Brooklyn, New York, before moving to California when he was 17 years old.

A graduate of University of Southern California's Gould School of Law, Harris' husband joined DLA Piper Law Firm in Los Angeles as a partner in 2017, before taking a leave of absence to support her on the campaign trail and later resigning after she and President Joe Biden were elected.

He represented the advertising agency TBWA Worldwide in a case over the rights to the Taco Bell Chihuahua in the fast-food company's "Yo Quiero Taco Bell" ads.

Together, Forbes estimates that he and Harris have a $6 million net worth.

His Past Love Is a Family Friend

Emhoff was married for 25 years, to his previous wife Kerstin Emhoff, before they divorced and he met Harris, who was then the attorney general of California.

"Kerstin and I hit it off ourselves and are dear friends," Harris wrote in Elle in 2019. "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 and Cole weren't fond of calling Harris "step-mom," the senator wrote, so "instead they came up with the name 'Momala.' "

Kamala Harris and Douglas Emhoff
From left: Vice President Kamala Harris, her husband Douglas Emhoff and President Joe Biden
| Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Meeting on a Blind Date

Harris met her future husband on a blind date in 2013, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

PR consultant Chrisette Hudlin, who Harris referred to as her "best friend," had set them up and they first spoke via text, while Emhoff was at an L.A. Lakers game.

He followed up with a voicemail the next morning, which moved Harris. "I left this ridiculous voicemail, which she has saved and plays back to me on our anniversary every year," Emhoff told PEOPLE in a joint Zoom interview with Harris. "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.

Kamala Harris, Doug Emhoff
Credit: Mark Makela/Getty

The two quickly hit it off and Harris wrote in her 2019 Elle piece that, as a child of divorce herself, she decided with Emhoff that they would take it slow. "Doug and I put a lot of thought into when and how I would first meet the kids," she wrote.

When Harris did finally meet Cole and Ella, the prosecutor said she "had butterflies in my stomach."

"Cole and Ella could not have been more welcoming," Harris wrote. "They are brilliant, talented, funny kids who have grown to be remarkable adults. I was already hooked on Doug, but I believe it was Cole and Ella who reeled me in."

Kamala Harris and Douglas Emhoff
Kamala Harris (center) and husband Douglas Emhoff (right) wave to the crowd at San Francisco's Pride Parade in June 2019
| Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty

Their Wedding Details

After dating for about a year, Emhoff proposed to Harris in her apartment in March 2014.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Harris wore a "round, simple" diamond and platinum engagement ring and the couple got married a little more than four months later, in August.

Kamala Harris, Doug Emhoff
Credit: Kamala Harris/Instagram

Harris and Emhoff had a courthouse wedding, with Harris' sister, Maya, presiding over the ceremony while her niece Meena read part of Maya Angelou's poem "Touched by an Angel."

Harris wore a "golden" dress and a cellist played inside the courthouse, while the couple read their own vows.

His Role as Second Gentleman

The entertainment lawyer seemingly transitioned into the role of candidate's spouse with ease during election season, primarily using his social media accounts to celebrate his wife and champion her accomplishments. Now, we look ahead to how he will adjust to life as the first-ever husband of a vice president.

Emhoff recognizes that his position is a novel one, and has paid tribute to those who've laid the groundwork as spouses of vice presidents. The day after Harris was sworn in, Emhoff tweeted, "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 has shared that he's "doing [his] homework" in preparation for the role, posting a clip on Twitter of him at the Library of Congress in search of some "perspective and inspiration."

Speaking to PEOPLE, Emhoff previously stated that he has no plans to head up any "kitchen cabinet" of advisers to his wife.

"I'm her husband, that's it," Emhoff said over Zoom.

"She's got plenty of great people giving her political advice," Emhoff continued. "I'm her partner, I'm her best friend and I'm her husband. And that's what I'm here for. I'm here to have her back."