8 Things to Know About Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris’s Husband, Douglas Emhoff
On November 7, Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, were elected as President and Vice President of the United States.
When Harris was on the 2020 campaign trail herself, we learned more about her husband, lawyer Douglass Emhoff.
Here are some key facts about Emhoff, who will make his own history as the country’s first second gentleman.
After Vice President-elect Sen. Kamala Harris officially announced her campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential race last year, it was natural for Americans to have some questions about her as a potential candidate. And though she dropped out on December 3, on August 11, former Vice President Joe Biden selected her to be his VP running mate—and on November 7, the pair were elected to the White House, making Harris America’s first Black woman and first Asian American vice president.
What’s her background? What committees does she sit on? (We’ve got those answers here, if you’re curious.) But aside from all of that, the historic news sparked our interest in her personal life—particularly when it comes to her devoted husband, Douglas Emhoff.
And Emhoff, 56, is clearly a supportive spouse. Upon the news of the win, he immediately tweeted “So proud,” with a sweet photo embracing his wife.
So proud of you. ❤️❤️🇺🇸🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/Orb1ISe0dU
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) November 7, 2020
Not to mention that he describes himself in his Twitter bio as “dad, @kamalaharris hubby, lawyer, wannabe golfer, advocate for justice and equality.” So, clearly the New York-bred lawyer is proud of his wife. So proud in fact that in November, Emhoff announced that he would leave his current job at a law firm before Inauguration Day to carry out his duties as the second gentleman. But that won’t be Emhoff’s only new job: Like incoming first lady Dr. Jill Biden, Emhoff will teach. In January 2021, Emhoff will join the faculty at Georgetown University Law Center, where he’ll teach a two-credit course on entertainment law disputes. “I’ve long wanted to teach and serve the next generation of young lawyers,” Emhoff said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more excited to join the Georgetown community.”
America, let’s do this! pic.twitter.com/3a62UmB1PN
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) August 11, 2020
And, of course, he’ll also be supporting the vice president’s career. “Our relationship and the way I roll, my whole life has just been to support the people I love unequivocally, and they support me,” he told Marie Claire. “The whole thing has been based on parity and mutual respect.”
And she returns the sentiment. “I love my husband,” Harris once told Now This. “He is funny. He is kind. He is patient. He loves my cooking. He’s just a really great guy.”
With those endearing words in mind, we found out a little bit more about Harris’s husband, Douglass Emhoff.
Douglas Emhoff is a lawyer—turned second gentleman and professor.
Born in Brooklyn, New York and a graduate of University of Southern California’s law school, Emhoff is currently a litigator and partner at DLA Piper Law Firm, where he works out of both their California and D.C. offices with a specialty in entertainment and intellectual property law. According to the firm’s site, his accomplishments include “representing the rights holders of a famous animated character in copyright and trademark disputes,” and the defense of a “prominent former NFL and Olympic athlete in a civil action brought by the SEC.”
However, days after his wife’s historic election, he announced he would leave his private law practice to focus on his new role at the White House, where he’ll officially be called second gentleman. “I think that the term has evolved into the second gentleman,” Harris confirmed during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, adding, “I’ll call him ‘honey.'”
But that won’t be the only title Emhoff will be adding to his already impressive résumé. In December, Georgetown University Law Center announced that Emhoff would be joining the faculty of the Washington, D.C.-based university, where he’ll teach a two-credit course on entertainment law disputes. “Doug is one of the nation’s leading intellectual property and business litigators, and he has a strong commitment to social justice,” Georgetown Law Dean William M. Treanor said in a statement. “I know our students will greatly benefit from his experience and insight, and I am eagerly looking forward to his arrival.”
Emhoff, who is equally delighted, added: “I’ve long wanted to teach and serve the next generation of young lawyers. I couldn’t be more excited to join the Georgetown community.”
He has two children from his previous marriage.
The 55-year-old—who was born just seven days before his wife, also 55, on October 13—has two kids with his ex-wife, Kerstin. According to a March 2018 Vogue article about Harris, his son Cole is a graduate of Colorado College, while his younger daughter Ella studies at Parsons School of Design. The two affectionately call their stepmother “Momala” and, according to THR, she wore Converse and brought cookies when she first met them.
In an article for Elle, Harris wrote that she and Kerstin “are dear friends” and said that “our modern family is almost a little too functional.” The presidential candidate continued to open up about what her family means to her.
Emhoff and Kamala Harris met on a blind date.
The two were set up by one of the senator’s close friends, PR consultant Chrisette Hudlin.
“He said something to the effect of ‘She’s really hot,’” Hudlin told Marie Claire of Emhoff’s thoughts on the politician before they even started dating. “He was complimenting her, and at the same time he was admiring her, and I liked that.”
Marie Claire also reports that the morning after their first date, he emailed Harris: “I really like you.” After nearly a year of dating, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that they were engaged on March 27, 2014. The proposal was intimate and low key, with Emhoff getting down on one knee at Harris’s California apartment and presenting her with a diamond and platinum engagement ring.
Kamala and Doug had a courthouse wedding.
Since the politician had said she did not believe in long engagements, they were married a little over four months after their engagement in a private ceremony at the Santa Barbara Courthouse, according to The Chronicle. They wrote their own vows, and to recognize Emhoff’s faith, the two honored a time-tested Jewish tradition and broke a glass. It was also a family affair, with her niece reading the poem, “Touched by an Angel” by Maya Angelou and Harris’ sister, Maya Harris West, acting as officiant.
This August 22 will mark their five-year wedding anniversary. “Happy anniversary to the man who always knows how to make me laugh,” she said in a celebratory Instagram post last year. “Love you.”
He helped escort a protestor off-stage during one of Harris’s appearances.
On June 1, as Harris was on stage speaking at the MoveOn Big Ideas Forum, an animal rights activist rushed the stage, snatching away the senator’s microphone in an effort to speak to the crowd. Harris was unharmed and quickly walked off the stage. But along with a handful of others, Emhoff was quick to react, jumping up onto the platform to help drag the protester away. You can catch the intense moment above.
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) June 2, 2019
But all was well, as he later tweeted that day: “Thx for all the kind notes. We are good. I love @KamalaHarris and would do anything for her.”
He has a few fun hobbies.
According to Vogue, as noted in his Twitter bio, Emhoff loves to golf and play fantasy football. He even had a team named Nirvana after the 90s grunge band. Oh, and we have to mention his seriously impressive “dad dance moves” that he showed off while accompanying his wife at San Francisco Pride 2019.
If I can do these dad moves with my dad bod, then hopefully you all can help @KamalaHarris finish 2Q fundraising as strong as possible! Please go to: https://t.co/S48NtNfFyW thx!🏳️🌈❤️ https://t.co/IwOFj1UbRe
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) June 30, 2019
“If I can do these dad moves with my dad bod, then hopefully you all can help @KamalaHarris finish 2Q fundraising as strong as possible! Please go to: kamalaharris.org thx!” he tweeted.
But in addition to his pastimes, he’s known to help out his wife—whose favorite thing to do in her leisure time is cook. “I’ve gotten pretty handy in the kitchen as her sous-chef,” he told the magazine. Point proven by Harris’ adorable caption in the Instagram post featured above.
Emhoff has his own social media hashtag.
As his popularity grew on the campaign trail and he continued his fervent support of Harris online (we get into that next) Emhoff earned himself a mini fan club on Twitter called the #DougHive. If you explore the hashtag for yourself, you’ll see a handful of encouraging messages for the entertainment lawyer.
He’s more than ready to support Harris as our first “second gentleman.”
If his Twitter account is any indication, the lawyer is the ultimate hype-man we all deserve in a partner. When Harris was running for president, ninety-percent of his tweets were related to her, from promoting her new book:
Kamala seeing her book in the airport bookstore for the first time. On to LA… pic.twitter.com/dGhDvNZfV9
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) January 13, 2019
…to spotting her on TV.
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) January 9, 2019
He also rocked her campaign swag…
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) July 3, 2019
…and captured her on the trail.
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) July 5, 2019
Of course, his response to his wife’s announcement that she was entering the 2020 race was adorable.
Go Time. See you all in Oakland on 1/27! In It To Win It! https://t.co/uKSzSemCZy
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) January 21, 2019
And he stepped up when she made the difficult decision to drop-out of the running for president in December 2019. “She made that decision, and I would have supported whatever she decided,” Emhoff told Marie Claire. “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.”
But he’s already getting revved up about her vice presidential candidacy. He tweeted “Ready to work! Let’s go @DrBiden” to potential future First Lady Dr. Jill Biden moments after the announcement that his wife was joining the campaign trail again.
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) August 11, 2020
Now that’s relationship goals. If his social media feed is any indication, Emhoff is ready to support his lady as she joins Biden. And in case you needed any more proof of his dedication, we leave you with this tweet:
I’ve got you. As always.❤️ pic.twitter.com/5OJDT3cDfw
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) December 3, 2019
“Can confirm: We met, fell madly in love (still are), got married and continue to live very happily ever after.”