The entertainment lawyer has been Harris' biggest supporter

By Sean Neumann
August 13, 2020 06:50 PM
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From left: Sen. Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, on Wednesday
Carolyn Kaster/AP/Shutterstock

While Sen. Kamala Harris on Tuesday became the first Black woman and person of Asian descent to be named to either major party's presidential ticket, her husband, Douglas Emhoff, also came one step closer to breaking a barrier.

Emhoff, 55, could become the country's first "Second Gentleman," if Harris and former Vice President Joe Biden win the general election on Nov. 3.

"I can’t wait for America to get to know Doug," Harris, 55, said in her first remarks as Biden's running mate on Wednesday. "My family means everything to me."

Harris and Emhoff's family is blended, as well. He has two kids — Cole and Ella — from his previous marriage; Harris became a stepmom 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 Wednesday, "but 'Momala' will always be one of those that means the most."

Here's what we know about Emhoff.

From left: Douglas Emhoff waves to a crowd of supporters alongside Sen. Kamala Harris in January 2019
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 is now a partner at DLA Piper Law Firm in Los Angeles.

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 between them.

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 last year. "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.' "

From left: Sen. Kamala Harris, her husband Douglas Emhoff and former Vice President Joe Biden
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 had set them up and they first spoke via text, while Emhoff was at an L.A. Lakers game.

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."

Sen. Kamala Harris (center) and husband Douglas Emhoff (right) wave to the crowd at San Francisco's Pride Parade in June 2019
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.

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.

What He Thinks of the Campaign Trail

The entertainment lawyer has seemingly transitioned into the role of candidate's spouse with ease, primarily using his social media accounts to celebrate his wife and champion her accomplishments.

He told THR last year that joining Harris on the 2020 campaign trail had been "endlessly fascinating."

Emhoff was a force in his own way as well, once helping push an animal rights protester away from his wife last June after the man rushed the stage Harris was speaking on and stole the microphone from her hand.

An image of Emhoff's angered look while pushing the activist away briefly went viral, as CNN noted that "it was hard to miss Emhoff's outraged scowl" in the moment.

But Emhoff has presented himself as nothing short of cheerful on the campaign trail, often tweeting back-and-forth with Pete Buttigieg's husband, Chasten, while both Harris and the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor were vying for the Democratic presidential nomination.

A video of Emhoff dancing at San Francisco's Pride Parade also went viral last year, as Harris can be seen cracking up with laughter while the crowd cheers him on.

Harris' husband was there at emotional times, too, like when his wife suspended her 2020 primary campaign in December.

Along with a heart emoji, Emhoff tweeted a black-and-white photo of the couple holding each other before she announced she was ending her presidential bid. "I’ve got you. As always," he wrote.

On Wednesday, Biden told Emhoff: "You’re going to have to learn what it means to be a barrier-breaker in this job, too."

And Emhoff says he's ready for the job, tweeting out an image of him and Biden's wife, Former Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

"I’m just so happy and honored to be taking this journey with you, [Dr. Biden]," he tweeted. "Now, let’s go and help Joe and Kamala win this thing."