Let’s take it way, way back so we can all understand how exactly Douglas Emhoff became the man worthy of Kamala Harris. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, but California is his favorite place, and he’s been living there at least since attending college at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law.
Kamala, of course, has been California’s senator since 2017 and splits her time between the coasts. When it became clear that Kamala was on course to become the vice presidential pick this year, Douglas took a leave of absence from his California-based firm so he could rally support for the Biden-Harris ticket.
Douglas has two children, Cole and Ella, who appear to genuinely love and enjoy their stepmother. They even call her Momala! In fact, not only do the kids love her, but Douglas’ ex-wife likes her, too. In fact, when Kerstin Emhoff heard that the two were dating, she was ecstatic. “I just thought, ‘Wow, that’s cool. Don’t mess this up!'”
The family has clearly prioritized the happiness of the children to great success. Kamala has explained that she didn’t want to let her stepchildren down by getting to know them before she knew that she and Douglas were serious.
“As a child of divorce, I knew how hard it could be when your parents start to date other people. And I was determined not to insert myself in their lives until Doug and I had established we were in this for the long haul. Children need consistency; I didn’t want to insert myself into their lives as a temporary fixture because I didn’t want to disappoint them.”
Kamala has even noted that her relationship with Kerstin is “key” to her relationship with Cole and Ella.
After being announced as Joe Biden’s VP pick, she sat down for an interview with People and happily chatted about her family. “We’re a very modern family. Their mom is a close friend of mine. One of the keys to my relationship with Cole and Ella is their mom. We are friends. We have a very modern family … The thing about blended families — if everyone approaches it in the way that there’s plenty of love to share, then it works.”
Douglas has made a name for himself in one major way: He is endlessly, and genuinely, supportive of his wife and all of her pursuits. He doesn’t just offer up vague, “You’ve got this!” statements — he digs deep, he shows up, and he helps her grow. Just think about it, America: If the man is this great to his wife, how great will he be to the rest of us as our first-ever “second gentleman”? SO GREAT.
However, while it’s all definitely beautiful and worth it, Kamala notes in her book, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, that dating wasn’t a piece of cake.
“As a single, professional woman in my forties, and very much in the public eye, dating wasn’t easy. I knew that if I brought a man with me to an event, people would immediately start to speculate about our relationship. I also knew that single women in politics are viewed differently than single men. We don’t get the same latitude when it comes to our social lives. I had no interest in inviting that kind of scrutiny unless I was close to sure I’d found ‘the One’ — which meant that for years, I kept my personal life compartmentalized from my career.”
Kamala and Doug were introduced by a mutual friend, who felt like there could be something kind of magical between them. The pair kicked things off by texting, and then Douglas took a chance and left Kamala a long, rambling voice message … and subsequently felt like he had blown his chance. Luckily, Kamala loved it.
“The voicemail, which I still have saved to this day, was long and a little rambling. He sounded like a nice guy, though, and I was intrigued to learn more. Doug, on the other hand, was pretty sure that he had ruined his chances.”
Kamala called him back, and the pair spent an hour talking on the phone. She quickly learned that he’s a direct kind of guy, which sounds like exactly what she was looking for.
“There was no pretense or posing with Doug, no arrogance or boasting. He seemed so genuinely comfortable with himself. It’s part of why I liked him immediately.”
Douglas planned to propose while the pair were on a trip to Italy together, but the night before he couldn’t wait. While Kamala was looking through a menu and deciding what to order for dinner that night, he said, “I want to spend my life with you.”
She was happily delighted by the declaration.
“I looked at him there, on one knee, and burst into tears. Mind you, these were not graceful Hollywood tears streaming down a glistening cheek. No, I’m talking about snorting and grunting, with mascara smudging my face.”
Kamala and Douglas got married four months after they got engaged and just shy of a year after they started dating, because listen: These are two people who knew what they wanted and they didn’t want to wait around for it. The ceremony was held at the Santa Barbara Courthouse. Kamala’s sister Maya officiated, and her niece Meena read Maya Angelou’s “Touched by an Angel.”
Douglas dove headfirst into supporting his brilliant and powerful wife, quickly updating his Twitter bio to read “dad, @kamalaharris hubby, lawyer, wannabe golfer, advocate for justice and equality.”
He also told The Hollywood Reporter that perhaps surprisingly, the campaign trail is “endlessly fascinating.” He’s also shared that ultimately, he knows his role in the process, and he’s completely here for it. “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.”