Serena Williams is opening up about the reason why her father was unable to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day.
The Wimbledon champ and newlywed revealed that her father and former coach, Richard Williams, texted her an hour before the ceremony telling his daughter he couldn’t be with her on her big day. Williams, who married husband and Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, on Nov. 16th of last year, shared details about the intimate conversation she had with her father on the third episode of her HBO documentary, Being Serena.
According to Williams, her dad messaged her just shortly before the wedding, apologizing profusely and explaining that he didn’t feel comfortable being the center of attention during the celebration.
“He was in New Orleans, he had a suit, and I know he was really excited,” Williams said. “But then he wrote me and said: ‘Serena, I don’t want you to be mad at me, but I just can’t walk you down the aisle. I’m not myself anymore. I’m just too nervous.’ “
Williams was completely understanding of her father’s feelings, assuring him it was okay that he couldn’t walk her down the aisle and telling him if he needed to miss the wedding entirely, that would be okay too.
“Maybe a lot of daughters wouldn’t react the same way, but I know the struggles he’s had these last few years. His health is better now, but I know he still doesn’t feel like himself, doesn’t feel like he’s perfect,” Serena said.
Mr. Williams reportedly suffered a stroke in 2016, causing him to miss his daughters’ Wimbledon Championship match — Serena and Venus Williams won the doubles title while Serena took home the singles trophy that year. At the time, Mr. Williams’ wife, Lakeisha Williams, told RadarOnline that he was recovering but he wasn’t 100 percent, hinting that he’d need speech therapy as well as physical therapy to reverse the effects of the stroke.
We’re not sure if the medical incident or the news that he recently filed for divorce from Lakeisha Williams contributed to his decision not to walk his daughter down the aisle. We do know that Williams was surrounded by family and friends, including her dad, on the big day and she walked herself down the aisle as a string orchestra played “How Far I’ll Go” from the movie Moana.