When you’re the G.O.A.T. (or G.M.O.A.T.) and a tech millionaire, making time for romance can be pretty tricky. Even though Alexis Ohanian is busy with meetings and Serena Williams is occupied dominating the tennis court and being a businesswoman herself—not to mention the two are new parents—the duo still find ways to make time for each other.
“Comparing calendars isn’t romantic, but at the start of every year, Serena and I map out our schedules so ideally there isn’t more than a week that we go without seeing each other,” Ohanian recently wrote in an essay for Glamour. “I brought Google Calendar into her world so we could see each other’s schedules at any time, which would also make it easier to plan an impromptu call if we’re away from each other—a day without FaceTime is rough when you’ve been away from each other for two weeks.”
The effort they put in to talk to each other every day—even if it is only virtual—is just one part of the secret to their happy marriage. While Ohanian’s big gestures like buying billboards in his wife’s honor and whisking her away to Venezia when she has a craving for Italian food are not be overlooked, it’s the simpler things that mean most to the tennis champ.
“But I think if you were to ask my wife, or many other people in relationships, it’s often the simpler things that are the most important,” Ohanian said. “You have to show up. You have to be supportive. These are the things that matter.”
Ohanian is especially supportive when it comes to Williams’s career. He admits that although he is successful, “I’m not the one racking up the trophies.”
“It helps that my wife and I both know what it takes to be successful and bring that mutual understanding, drive, and relentlessness to the table,” he said. “But at the end of the day sometimes her career really does have to come first. I try to be the most supportive partner I can be and to have conversations with her about her career goals and what she can do to reach them. Most of my talks with Serena about her career have come from a place of, “What do you want to be doing?” or “Where do you want to be?” and that’s not only in sport, but in life.
She does the same with me. I’m far from perfect, but I try to get behind her and let her know I’m there for her and our daughter, no matter what.”
One of the ways Ohanian shows up is with simple gestures he learned from watching his parents' relationship. The co-founder of Initialized Capital and Reddit said his dad made pancakes every Sunday growing up, and he has now brought that tradition into his own family.
“There are no phones, just conversation,” he said. “And we’ll spend the day together lounging around the house, or playing hide-and-seek, or going for a swim in the pool. Just being a family on those days means so much to both of us—more than a billboard, a video montage, or a whirlwind trip to Italy.”
But not to worry, we haven’t seen the last of the epic gifts from this big spender! He said he doesn’t have anything extravagant planned for Valentine’s day, but he still loves letting Williams know just how much she is loved.
“... I will always try to show my wife how much I appreciate and support her,” he said. “As an entrepreneur, one of my big mantras is to surprise and delight. I guess I’ve applied that in some way to romance, and if I can think of a way to top myself, I’ll keep pulling out the stops.”