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Meet Doug Emhoff: America's 1st 'Second Gentleman'

Sen. Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, embrace onstage at a drive-in Election Day eve rally in Philadelphia.
Mark Makela
Getty Images
Sen. Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, embrace onstage at a drive-in Election Day eve rally in Philadelphia.

As California Sen. Kamala Harris shatters one of the highest glass ceilings with her historic election as vice president, her husband is breaking barriers of his own.

Doug Emhoff will not only become the first "second gentleman" but will also be the first Jewish person married to a president or vice president.

Emhoff, 56, was often seen on the campaign trail with his wife, and just as her supporters proudly declared themselves part of the #KHive, Emhoff has his own #DougHive fans on social media.

Emhoff was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.; his father was a women's shoe designer who moved the family from New Jersey to Los Angeles when Emhoff was in high school.

Emhoff went on to attend law school at the University of Southern California and worked as an entertainment lawyer for roughly 30 years. Most recently, he was a partner with the firm DLA Piper but took a leave of absence to focus on the campaign.

Emhoff was previously married to Kerstin Emhoff, and the two have two children.

Years after their divorce, Emhoff was set up on a blind date by filmmaker Reginald Hudlin, a client, with then-California Attorney General Harris.

"We went on a blind date, and we've been together ever since," Emhoff said during a conversation with Chasten Buttigieg this summer.

Harris and Emhoff married in 2014.

With the marriage, Harris gained two stepchildren, Cole and Ella, who call her Momala.

"I was already hooked on Doug, but I believe it was Cole and Ella who reeled me in," Harris wrote in Elle in 2019.

"One of the keys to my relationship with Cole and Ella is their mom. We are friends," Harris told CNN's Dana Bashthis summer. "We have a very modern family."

It's not clear yet what role Emhoff will carve out for himself once Harris assumes office.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.
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