Serena Williams gets real about married life with Alexis Ohanian: ‘You have to work at it’

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Serena Williams says it takes work to keep her marriage with Alexis Ohanian healthy. (Photo: GALLO IMAGES/ GETTY IMAGES)
Serena Williams says it takes work to keep her marriage with Alexis Ohanian healthy. (Photo: GALLO IMAGES/ GETTY IMAGES)

They’re both talented and rich and live a seemingly idyllic life with their adorable little daughter. But Serena Williams has admitted her marriage to Alexis Ohanian is anything but perfect.

The tennis champion participated in a round of The Question Game on US social media company Bumble and got candid about marriage, motherhood and heartbreak.

“Marriage is not bliss,” she said, “but it can be if you work at it.”

Serena and Reddit co-founder Alexis (37) tied the knot in November 2017 and share three-year-old daughter Alexis Olympia Jr.

The most important thing is loyalty, the athlete added. “It’s a dealbreaker for me in a relationship. Well, not having it, that is.”

She also offered advice for anyone dealing with a broken heart.

“Heartbreak is a part of life, whether it be a loved one, a boyfriend or an animal,” she says. “But time heals all wounds.”

While Serena (39) always knew she wanted to have kids, marriage wasn’t on the cards – until she met Alexis.

“I never felt pressure to get married and I can’t say I’m the marrying type,” she told interviewer Gayle King during a Ted conference in 2017.

“I love my life. I love my freedom. I hear that kind of changes. I love my career and I didn’t want anything to interfere with that.”

In fact, when Alexis went down on bended knee Serena didn’t have the starry-eyed reaction other women might have, reports.

“When Alexis proposed, I was almost angry,” she recalled.

“No, not almost. I was angry. Because it was right in the middle of my training season and I thought, ‘I have to win the Australian Open’.

“I really wanted to pass Steffi Graf’s record.”

Well, if there was any doubt Serena is a woman who can do it all, she proved it when she went on to win her 23rd Grand Slam title, surpassing Graf’s record of 22, all while pregnant with little Alexis.

The past few years of married life have changed her outlook on love, she says.

“I learnt that love is an amazing feeling. And if you have an opportunity to feel it, then it's a special thing.”

Each time Alexis has won husband of the year


At the 2021 Australian Open Alexis donned a white Nike T-shirt to remind everyone he was married to the greatest athlete of all time.

The words “Greatest Female Athlete” were printed in bright red on the front of the T-shirt, with the word “Female” crossed out and the word “ever” spread across the back.

Serena’s loss to Naomi Osaka might have sparked questions about her future but Alexis made sure there was no confusion about where his wife ranks in his life.


In an elaborate gesture to celebrate his wife, Alexis had four billboards set up on a freeway in California.

The billboards featured pictures of Alexis Jr and Serena and had the words “Greatest Momma of All Time (GMOAT)” emblazoned across it.

His reason for doing? To welcome his wife back to tennis after she took a break from the sport to give birth.


When Serena told her husband she was in the mood for pasta, he didn’t dash off to the nearest Italian restaurant.

Instead, Alexis flew her to Venice, Italy, to satisfy her hankering.

“She had a craving, so I delivered her to Venice,” he wrote in an essay for Glamour in 2018.


Alexis isn’t one to shy away from gushing over his wife.

In 2017 he praised Serena, then pregnant, for having “the biggest heart”.

“Everyone sees her success as an athlete, but all of that is layered on the size of her heart. She gives 100% of herself to everything she does: as a friend, as a lover and soon as a mother.”


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