WASHINGTON – With Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ historic election as the first African American and Asian American woman in her position comes another historic role for her husband, Doug Emhoff. He’ll be the country’s first “second gentleman” when Harris is sworn in as vice president in January.
Emhoff will be the first male spouse of any vice president or president, and he played a big role in the campaign for Joe Biden’s presidency.
Here’s what to know about Emhoff:
Emhoff is an entertainment lawyer
Emhoff, 56, is an entertainment lawyer and partner with the firm DLA Piper since 2017. He took a leave of absence after Harris joined Biden’s ticket so that he could focus on the campaign, he said.
He’s handled cases involving production companies, a former NFL athlete and a sports nutrition company, among others, according to the firm.
The case he may be most noted for is his successful defense of an advertising agency in a dispute over the rights to the Taco Bell chihuahua that starred in the “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” ads.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, he moved with his family to Southern California from New Jersey as a teenager. He graduated from California State University at Northridge in 1987 and went on to USC’s Gould School of Law where he got his law degree in 1990.
He said during a “Lawyers for Biden” event that he would focus on “access to justice” as an issue while he’s second gentleman. He recalled being shocked, as a young lawyer going to Los Angeles’ Superior Court, by all the people lining the halls in need of legal help.
How he and Harris met
The story of how Harris, the former attorney general and later senator from California, met her husband begins with a blind date. It was a client of Emhoff’s and a friend of Harris’ that set them up in 2013, when Harris was a high-profile politician in her state.
Ahead of their date, Emhoff called and left a long voicemail that Harris replays to him on their anniversaries.
“We’ve been together ever since,” Emhoff said in a YouTube conversation with Chasten Buttigieg, the spouse of former Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg.
Harris and Emhoff got married in 2014 in Santa Barbara, California, courthouse wedding and celebrated their sixth anniversary this summer.
“We met, fell madly in love (still are), got married and continue to live very happily ever after,” he tweeted early last year.
“I love my husband. He is funny, he is kind, he is patient, he loves my cooking. He’s just a really great guy,” Harris told NowThis in an interview last year.
Dearest Kamala: here’s to us, our family, friends and our beautiful life together. Wouldn’t change a thing. Happy Anniversary! Love, D. pic.twitter.com/7SDRA9Efuk
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) August 22, 2020
He has two adult children
Emhoff shares two children, Cole and Ella, with his first wife Kerstin Emhoff, a film producer. The two children are named after jazz legends John Coltrane and Ella Fitzgerald.
Cole, 26, and Ella, 21, are known to call their stepmother “Momala.”
“To my brother and me, you’ll always be ‘Momala,’ the world’s greatest stepmom,” Ella said in a video introducing Harris at the Democratic National Convention. “You’re a rock, not just for our dad, but for three generations of our big, blended family.”
Kerstin, Emhoff’s first wife, has been supportive of Harris from the start, and even volunteered her expertise when Harris was running for the Democratic nomination, she told Marie Claire.
“We are friends,” Harris said of her relationship with Kerstin Emhoff. “We have a very modern family.”
How Emhoff participated on the campaign trail
Emhoff and Jill Biden were prominent faces for the campaign who traveled to key states. When the candidates themselves couldn’t be in all the battleground states at once, their spouses stepped in to stump for them.
The day after Harris delivered her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Emhoff made his first full public remarks to an LGBTQ Caucus virtual meeting at the convention. Soon after, Emhoff was headlining a fundraiser with James Taylor, and the fundraisers and events continued at a steady pace.
‘Most valuable surrogate’: How candidates’ spouses helped the final campaign push
Emhoff also took part in events with Jewish Americans to help campaign for Biden, and he’ll be the first Jewish person in the role of vice presidential spouse.
Emhoff has been a vocal presence on social media in support of his wife, from her presidential bid through to her and Biden’s victory.
“I’ve got you. As always,” he said in a tweet that went viral shortly after she suspended her primary campaign.
Contributing: Maureen Groppe, Rebecca Morin
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kamala Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff will be first ‘second gentleman’