When Serena Williams announced she was engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, many people remarked about the fact that the Black woman hailed as the greatest athlete of all time was settling down with a white man.
However, what remained important to Williams, who shares daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. with Alexis Sr., is that her spouse was kind, humorous and loving.
“Ultimately I wanted to be with someone who treated me nice, someone who was able to laugh with me and someone who understood my life and someone that loved me,” the athlete previously linked to Drake and Common told The New York Times in a Friday, April 27 profile. “And you know, I’m sure there’s other people out there [pauses and laughs]. But you know, Alexis is the one I connected with, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The two met in Rome, Italy in May 2015. Williams, lounging by a pool, had initially told him there were rats around to get him to leave her and her friends alone, according to her June 2017 Vanity Fair profile. When he didn’t leave, they invited him over to their table.
And while the 23-time Grand Slam champion definitely recognizes their differences — her father, Richard Williams’ 2014 memoir focused on racism — she says she wouldn’t change a thing.
“Literally all I tell Alexis is, ‘well, you know, there’s such a difference between white people and Black people.’ He always gets to hear about the injustices that happen; that wouldn’t happen if I were white,” she said. “It’s interesting. I never thought I would have married a white guy, either, so it just goes to show you that love truly has no color, and it just really goes to show me the importance of what love is. And my dad absolutely loves Alexis.”
In response, folks online have said the tennis star doesn’t need to explain her choice in a spouse to anyone.
“Serena… You owe no one any explanation…” a commenter said. “It is your life… Do what makes you happy sis. Even after explaining… You still cannot help people understand… 😎.”
“Enjoy your marriage, my girl, you don’t need to explain to anybody,” another echoed.
Still, one person was dissatisfied with Williams writing, “Your life your business, you are a disgrace to the Black race.”