Serena Williams won game, set and match when she found her adoring husband, Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian. The pair met by chance while having breakfast at the same hotel in Rome in 2015. The 39-year-old tennis legend had never used his online platform, while the 38-year-old tech entrepreneur wasn’t a tennis fan. But that was all about to change.
Alexis became an internet wunderkind by starting the news and discussion platform Reddit right out of college in 2005, following his graduation from the University of Virginia. He then went on to become a prolific investor in startup companies. Alexis was named to Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” list in 2013 for his work in consumer technology, as the publication at the time noted that the Brooklyn native “invests in and advises more than 50 startups.”
“I thought I was the hardest-working person on the planet,” Alexis told the New York Times in a 2018 profile. “I thought we were the hardest-working industry. That’s what we tell ourselves. It’s all malarkey.”
He then went on to gush about his wife Serena, saying he’s had a “front-row seat over the last three years to greatness. It’s a humbling experience seeing really what high-pressure situations actually look like professionally, seeing just what it takes to actually be that great. It is a work ethic on another level.”
The couple’s 2015 meeting was pure serendipity. Alexis was in Rome to speak at a conference, while Serena was playing in the Italian Open. After getting to know each other over breakfast, she left him tickets to watch one of her matches. The pair fell hard for each other and soon embarked on a relationship.
Alexis showed what a true romantic he is when in December 2016, he brought Serena back to the Cavalieri Hotel in Rome where they first met so that he could propose marriage. The 23-time Grand Slam winner happily accepted, and the pair became engaged at the very table where they first laid eyes on each other. Alexis eventually relocated from Brooklyn, New York, to Serena’s home base in Palm Beach, Florida, to be with his fiancée full time.
A month later while competing in the January 2017 Australian Open, Serena discovered she was pregnant. She went on to win the Grand Slam tournament, and the couple became first-time parents on September 1, 2017, when they welcomed daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian. The couple wed in a lavish, star-studded New Orleans ceremony on November 16, 2017, in front of such celebrity pals as Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian.
Even though Alexis is still active with his work investing in companies, he’s become much more socially active since meeting Serena. Following the harrowing delivery of their daughter, Alexis stayed by the tennis champ’s side to care for his then-fiancée and their baby girl, taking a 16-week paternity leave.
“After my wife nearly died giving birth, I spent months at home caring for my family,” he told the New York Times in a 2020 article advocating the importance of paternity leave. He even took the cause of paternity leave to Capitol Hill lawmakers in 2019 for a Dad’s Day of Action on the matter.
Alexis also took the extraordinary step of resigning from Reddit’s board in the wake of the May 2020 murder of George Floyd by White Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. He asked that he be replaced by a Black candidate, and on June 5, 2020, African-American entrepreneur Michael Seibel was hired to take Alexis’ seat on the company’s board.
Ever since falling for Serena, Alexis has been a constant presence at her matches, cheering her on from the stands with their daughter Olympia often by his side. When the tennis icon competed in the 2021 Italian Open, Alexis returned to the same hotel table where the lovebirds first met and had breakfast six years prior.
In a swoonworthy May 14 Instagram post, he showed a photo of the poolside table and wrote, “Every morning here in Rome I’ve come back to where my life changed forever for a cup of coffee just like I did that fateful morning. Now there’s a spunky 3-year-old with me who’s my everything. Life is unexpected & beautiful.”