Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff: Inside Their Relationship and Family Life
By Rachel McRady
Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Kamala Harris has made history this month with her appointment as Joe Biden's vice presidential running mate. She is officially accepting the vice presidential nomination on Wednesday evening. The 55-year-old California senator has had one incredibly loyal cheerleader by her side throughout her own presidential race and now in her role as the Democratic vice presidential nominee -- her husband, Doug Emhoff.
"I love my husband," Kamala told Now Thisin 2019. "He is funny. He is kind. He is patient. He loves my cooking. He's just a really great guy."
Doug is known for his regular social media presence, championing Kamala on the campaign trail, and even showing off his "dad bod" at a Pride parade (see below). The couple's love story is a relatively new one -- by political standards -- but incredibly sweet.
The pair was set up on a blind date in 2013 by a close friend when Kamala was serving as California's Attorney General. Kamala detailed their first meeting in her book, The Truths We Hold, revealing that Doug first texted her from a Lakers game and called her the next day leaving a long voicemail.
“He thought his voicemail had been disastrous and that he’d likely never hear from me again,” Kamala wrote at the time (per The Washington Post). “He had to restrain himself from calling again and leaving another long-winded message trying to explain the first one.”
The day after their first date, Doug emailed Kamala to cut to the chase.
“I’m too old to play games or hide the ball,” the email read. “I really like you, and I want to see if we can make this work.”
About a year after their first date, Doug popped the question in Kamala's apartment with a diamond-and-platinum engagement ring, the San Francisco Gate reported. At the time, Kamala said she didn't plan to wait long to tie the knot, saying, "I don't believe in long engagements."
Of her reaction to Doug's emotional proposal, Kamala wrote in her book, “These were not graceful Hollywood tears streaming down a glistening cheek. No, I’m talking about snorting and grunting, with mascara smudging my face.”
Four months later, in August 2014, the couple had a courthouse wedding with Kamala's sister, Maya Harris, officiating, the San Francisco Gate reported. The wedding was a beautiful blending of their two cultures. A flower garland was placed around Doug's neck to honor Kamala's Indian heritage during the ceremony and the service ended with the couple breaking a glass per Doug's Jewish tradition. They wrote their own vows for the special day, and Kamala's niece, Meena, read from Maya Angelou's poem, "Touched by an Angel." Their first dance was to Corinne Bailey Rae's "Like a Star." Kamala wore a gold dress by a California designer.
Though Doug wanted to introduce Kamala to his children, Cole and Ella, after their second date, she held him off.
"As a child of divorce, I knew how hard it could be when your parents start to date other people," the proud stepmom wrote in a 2019 Mother's Day essay for Elle. "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."
In the essay, Kamala revealed that she brought a ribbon-wrapped tin of cookies to her first meeting with Doug's kids.
"Cole and Ella could not have been more welcoming. They are brilliant, talented, funny kids who have grown to be remarkable adults," she wrote of her stepchildren. "I was already hooked on Doug, but I believe it was Cole and Ella who reeled me in."
After Kamala and Doug tied the knot, Cole and Ella decided that "stepmom" didn't fit and instead called her "Momala." The senator says she also has a good relationship with the kids' mom, Kerstin, writing in her essay, "We sometimes joke that our modern family is almost a little too functional."
Cole graduated Colorado College and is working as an assistant at William Morris Endeavor. Ella is attending Parsons School of Design. Kamala says their "family time" involves lots of Sunday dinners.
“She spends days thinking about the menu, grinding her own pepper, driving all over town just to find that one ingredient that we need,” Doug told The Hollywood Reporter. “I’ve gotten pretty handy in the kitchen as her sous-chef.”
It's been clear from day one that Doug is all-in to help his wife win. He hit the campaign trail with the California senator in 2018 and 2019 and was there for many of her big moments. In June 2019, Doug helped escort a protestor off stage, after the man jumped on the stage where Kamala was speaking and grabbed her microphone. Not only did Doug go hard for Kamala's 2020 presidential campaign, he's equally in it as she has become the vice presidential nominee. As a lawyer for the DLA Piper Law Firm, who worked out of both their D.C. and California offices, Doug has taken a leave of absence following Joe Biden's appointment.
It seems he's putting all of his efforts into making sure the Biden-Harris ticket is elected come November. After Joe's wife, Jill Biden, posted a selfie with Doug in a mask, he retweeted the post, writing, "Here we go @DrBiden!"
He also confirmed that it was him running his own Twitter account to one fan, writing, "Can confirm it’s still me...working very hard for Joe and Kamala, oh and one other thing...big HELLO to the #KHive!"