Serving up romance! Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian fell head over heels for one another in 2015 — and they’ve been getting stronger ever since. The professional tennis player and the tech entrepreneur met by chance while staying at the same hotel in Rome.
“This guy comes and he just plops down at the table next to us and I’m like, ‘Huh! All these tables and he’s sitting here?’” Williams told Vanity Fair in 2017 of her first interaction with her now-husband by the hotel pool.
Ohanian joined the Michigan native for breakfast that morning and ended up scoring an invitation to her match at the Italian Open. In December 2016, just over a year after they bumped into each other, Ohanian proposed to Williams at the same hotel that sparked their romance.
“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,” the S by Serena founder penned in a sweet Reddit poem announcing her engagement. “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 I said yes.”
Before they could exchange their vows, the couple hit another major milestone in their relationship: their first child. The athlete accidentally revealed her pregnancy via Snapchat in April 2017 and five months later, gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. Despite her complicated delivery, her partner was right there by her side. They tied the knot in New Orleans in November 2017.
“Alexis doesn’t dim my light,” Williams gushed during an interview with Allure in January 2019. “He doesn’t try to dim my light. He puts me in the light, even if I don’t want to be. He pushes me to further points I never thought about. It always was something that I could see in some relationships — my light would be dimmer. Now I feel like I can shine really bright and still do everything that I want to do.”
May 2015: The dynamic duo met while coincidentally staying at the same hotel in Rome in May 2015. Williams was in town for the Italian Open, while the Reddit cofounder was speaking at the Festival of Media Global conference. One morning at the hotel pool, the pair sparred over claiming a free table — and the rest is history.
Mid 2015: Shortly after their chance encounter in Rome, Williams invited her now-husband to meet her in Paris. Reflecting on their romance in 2017, Ohanian told Vanity Fair, “Even if she blows me off and we don’t hang out, I’m still going to have an amazing time in Paris and I’ll have an even better story for all my childhood friends.”
“Come at the queen, you best not miss,” Ohanian captioned an Instagram post in September 2015, showing his support for the all-star athlete at the U.S. Open.
Just over a year after they met, Williams announced her engagement in a sweet poem shared via Reddit. Ohanian proposed at the same hotel in Rome where they first laid eyes on each other.
Williams sparked speculation that she was pregnant when she accidentally shared a private Snapchat on her public page in April 2017. Soon after, she gushed over her unborn baby in an Instagram post. “My Dearest Baby, You gave me the strength I didn’t know I had. You taught me the true meaning of serenity and peace. I can’t wait to meet you,” she wrote at the time.
The couple’s daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., was born in September 2017. “Welcome, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr., we’re so happy to meet you,” the new father confirmed via Instagram at the time. “Our little girl is already mama’s perfect sidekick.”
Two months after welcoming their baby girl, the pair tied the knot in New Orleans in front of family and famous friends, including Beyoncé and Jay Z.