merica’s new vice president Kamala Harris isn’t the only person in her marriage to join history’s lists of firsts. Alongside her achievements as the first female and person of African-American and South Asian-American descent to get the job, her husband Doug Emhoff is to become America’s first ever second gentleman – and the first Jewish person to be married to a president or vice president.
Emhoff, a hot-shot entertainment lawyer with two adult children, isn’t just Harris’ ultimate cheerleader (their picture hugging after her victory – still in running kit – received more than 565,000 likes on Twitter). He’s also (almost) as popular as she is, with nearly 600,000 Twitter followers and his very own hashtag, DougHive.
From their modern-day love story to the ultimate blended family, here’s everything you need to know about Mr Kamala Harris, America’s new vice spouse.
The second couple by numbers
New York-born Emhoff brings home an annual salary of more than $1 million as a partner at a law firm, making his and Harris’ net worth an estimated $5.8 million. They’re both 56, with Emhoff exactly a week older than Harris, and have been married for six years.
He describes himself in his Twitter bio as “dad, @kamalaharris hubby, lawyer, wannabe golfer, advocate for justice and equality”.
His cover picture on Twitter is a photo of Harris, but Emhoff is not without his own following and he’s joked he’d like Bradley Cooper to play him in a film about his life.
A modern romance
Emhoff and Harris’ love story began in 2013, when they were set up on a blind date by one of Harris’ close friends, PR consultant Chrisette Hudlin. They clicked immediately when he texted her from an LA Lakers game and she replied “Go Lakers” despite being a Golden State Warriors fan.
He left her a voicemail message the next morning which she still has on her phone because she found it “endearing”. “It sounds corny, I know, but the conversation just flowed,” Harris wrote in her memoir, saying she called him back that day and they spoke for an hour. “I remember us cracking each other up, joking and laughing at ourselves, just the way we do now.”
They married in a private ceremony at the Santa Barbara Courthouse the following year and in line with their Indian and Jewish heritages, she put a flower garland around his neck and he stomped on a glass.
Emhoff’s two adult children, Ella and Cole, reportedly call Harris Momola because they don’t like the term stepmom. “They are brilliant, talented, funny kids who have grown to be remarkable adults,” Harris has said. “I was already hooked on Doug, but I believe it was Cole and Ella who reeled me in.”
She says she was careful about how she inserted herself into their lives, and she wore Converse and brought cookies when she first met them.
Harris says she’s even “dear friends” with Emhoff’s ex-wife, the film producer Kerstin Mackin, and that the pair used to attend Ella’s swim meets and basketball games together. “We really hit it off,” Harris has said. “We sometimes joke that our modern family is almost a little too functional.”
“Imagine working from home with Kamala Harris, during a pandemic and all the other issues going on,” Emhoff recently told Marie Claire. “She just works hard, and she’s relentless… It’s just incredible how much she does.”
Alongside the supportive tweets and interviews, he also takes an active role. When Harris was harassed by a protester on stage in June, Emhoff jumped onto the platform to drag the man away, and a video of his “dad dance moves” has received thousands of views after he joined his wife in fundraising efforts at the San Francisco Pride last year.
How does Emhoff feel about becoming America’s first ever second gentleman? The lawyer has been clear to mark his role as a partner not a colleague.
“I’m not her political adviser. I’m her husband,” he told an reporter after his wife’s decision to drop out of running for president last year. Instead, he’s excited to work alongside Jill Biden as a super-spouse.
“Let’s go @DrBiden” he tweeted, tagging the future First Lady after his wife was announced as joining the campaign trail. “Ready to work!”