Here’s What to Know About Douglas Emhoff, Kamala Harris’ Husband & America’s 1st Second Gentleman

Kamala Harris & Douglas Emhoff
Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP.

After seeing him walk across the acceptance stage with the Vice President-elect, you may be wondering: Who is Douglas Emhoff, Kamala Harris’ husband? While his wife made history as the first woman, the first Black American, and the first South Asian American to be elected Vice President, even Emhoff is making history as the first “Second Gentleman” and first Jewish spouse to a VP in American history.

Senator Kamala Harris of California was elected as the 49th Vice President of the United States on Saturday, November 7, 2020, as President-elect Joe Biden‘s running mate. Their win in the 2020 election came after President-elect Biden took the lead in several key swing states like Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Arizona. Over 76 million Americans voted for the 46th President of the United States and VP Harris, marking a record high in voter turnout. But the history-making doesn’t stop there: Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, shattered their own firsts as they joined the ranks of the White House.

Voters may be more familiar with all that means for former Sen. Harris, the first woman and woman of color in the VP seat (and if not, here’s some background). For everything we know about the first Second Gentleman, a.k.a. her husband Douglas Emhoff on the other hand, just keep on reading.

Who is Douglas Emhoff?

In 1964, Douglas C. Emhoff was born to Jewish parents, Michael and Barbara Emhoff, in Brooklyn, NY. Emhoff is one of three children (he has a brother, Andy, and a sister, Jamie). By the time Emhoff was five years old, he and his family had relocated to New Jersey, where they lived until he was 17. As a teenager, Emhoff moved again with his family to California, where he went on to graduate from Agoura High School and study for his Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University. After undergrad, the East-turned-West Coast native went back to school to complete a degree at the University of Southern California’s law school.

Over in California, Emhoff also met and married his first wife, Kerstin Mackin. The pair married in 1992 and divorced 16 years later. Prior to their split, however, the couple welcomed two children together: a son, Cole, and a daughter, Ella—who affectionately refer to step-mom Harris as “Momala.” Emhoff’s ex-wife, Kerstin, also remains close to him and his new wife, with Harris having referred to her as a “dear friend” in an article for Elle.

How did Kamala Harris meet Douglas Emhoff?

A few years after Emhoff’s divorce from his first wife, one of his longtime friends—PR consultant Chrisette Hudlin—set him up on a blind date with Harris. Hudlin knew Emhoff through work and soon realized how much he was “admiring” Harris, then-Attorney General of California, after meeting her at an event. “He was complimenting her, and at the same time he was admiring her, and I liked that,” Hudlin told Marie Claire. So, she decided to play matchmaker.

After their first date, Emhoff emailed Harris: “I really like you,” along with a list of possible dates for their next meeting, eager to “make this work.” Clearly, it did. After nearly a year of dating, Emhoff popped the question in March 2014 at Harris’ apartment in California. The pair were married just four months later in a private ceremony at the Santa Barbara Courthouse, according to The Chronicle.

What is Douglas Emhoff’s job?

Emhoff is an entertainment and intellectual property litigator and has worked as a partner at DLA Piper Law Firm since 2017. According to the firm’s site, Emhoff has represented “some of today’s highest-profile individuals and influencers in complex business, real estate, and intellectual property litigation disputes.”

On Tuesday, November 10, a Biden campaign spokesperson confirmed that Emhoff would officially leave his job with DLA Piper by Inauguration Day on January 20, 2021, for a role in the Biden administration.

“Mr. Emhoff is working with the Biden-Harris transition team to develop the portfolio he will focus on to support the work of the administration,” the spokesperson told The Hill.

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