Inside the love story of tennis star Serena Williams and tech entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian.

The past few years have been a whirlwind for Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian.

In just over two years, the famous couple have got engaged, married and welcomed their daughter, 16-month-old Alexis Olympia.

But the beginning of the tennis star and tech entrepreneur’s relationship was anything but conventional.

In fact, it all began with a rat.

How did Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian meet?

In May 2015, Serena was brunching with friends at the Cavalieri hotel in Rome ahead of the Italian Open when a man decided to sit right beside them.

“This big guy [Alexis] 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?” Serena told Vanity Fair in an exclusive interview.

In an attempt to get rid of the man who was sitting just a little too close for comfort, Serena’s friend Zane Haupt told Alexis that there was a rat nearby.

But Alexis, who hails from Brooklyn, New York, wasn’t phased by the rodent at all.

Intrigued with his response, Serena invited Alexis to join them at their table where the pair chatted about website Reddit, which Alexis co-founded.

Despite telling Alexis that she had been on the website earlier that day, Serena had never heard of Reddit before and Alexis had never seen the professional tennis play either.

It was clear that there was a spark and several months later in June 2015, Serena invited the 35-year-old to Paris for the French Open. Before Serena played in the tournament, the pair walked around the city for six hours.


By April 2016, Alexis was positive he wanted to marry Serena.

Weirdly enough, the moment that Alexis knew he was in love with Serena also involved an animal.

“The moment I knew [we had a connection was when] we found this little zoo, and I saw it out of the corner of my eye and I said we’re going to walk through the zoo,” the Reddit co-founder told Stephen Colbert on The Late Show.

“It was a dead bunny, but it was a show,” he added. “And this leopard just went in and blood is going everywhere. She’s very romantic and she’s standing in front of me and I can tell she’s very unsettled by it… And in that moment, thanks to that poor rabbit, I found love, in spite of everything else.”

Sounds like a rom-com waiting to happen, right?

When did Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian get engaged?

In late 2016, the couple travelled to Italy where Alexis proposed to Serena at the same table they met at the Cavalieri hotel.

“I knew it was coming,” Serena told Vanity Fair.

“I was like, ‘Serena, you’re 35, you’re ready. This is what you want’.”

It’s believed Alexis even brought a plastic rat along for the occasion.


View this post on Instagram


#tbt to “the day”

A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on


Shortly after the couple announced their engagement, Alexis attended the Australian Open with his wife-to-be.

In the end, Williams won the tournament while she was eight weeks pregnant.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, Serena admitted she told Alexis she was pregnant by giving him a paper bag filled with positive pregnancy tests.

A few weeks on from the Open, the couple shared their exciting news and on September 1, 2017, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr was born.

The couple are currently in the country for the Australian Open once again and their 16-month-old daughter and her doll Qai Qai have been stealing the spotlight.

serena williams daughter doll
Alexis Olympia and her doll Qai Qai at the Australian Open. Image: Getty.

When did Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian get married?

Serena and Alexis married on November 16, 2017 alongside their daughter who was two months old at the time.

The wedding, which was Beauty and the Beast themed, took place at the Contemporary Arts Centre in New Orleans.

For the event, Serena wore a Sarah Burton by Alexander McQueen princess style wedding gown.

The wedding was attended by a number of the couple's celebrity friends including Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Eva Longoria and Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour.

Who is Alexis Ohanian?

Alexis Ohanian is a tech entrepreneur and best-selling author from Brooklyn, New York City.

Besides co-founding social news website Reddit, which is considered one of the most-visited websites worldwide, the 35-year-old also wrote best-selling 2013 book Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed.

Although Alexis sold Reddit for millions in 2006, he is still on the site's board of directors.

He has also launched a number of new tech businesses, including travel website Hipmunk and early stage venture capital firm Initialized Capital.

Want more Mamamia stories? Sign up to our newsletters and get our best stories straight into your inbox.