Douglas Emhoff: Who Is Kamala Harris’ Husband?

Douglas Emhoff and Kamala Harris attend an event.
Win McNamee / Getty Images

Douglas Emhoff is the husband of vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris. The 55-year-old New York native is a lawyer by trade, representing various multinational corporations.


Emhoff Has Had A Successful Career As A Lawyer

Douglas Emhoff and Kamala Harris attend an event.
  Rich Polk / Getty Images

Emhoff was born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 13, 1964, to Michael and Barbara Emhoff. He moved to New Jersey in 1969, living there for much of his youth until his family relocated to California in 1981. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree at California State University, Northridge, before going on to become a Doctor of Law at the USC Gould School of Law, per CNN.

He began his career in law as an entertainment litigator with Pillsbury Winthrop. He remained there until the late ’90s, when he joined the boutique firm Belin Rawlings & Badal before breaking out on his own and opening a firm with Ben Whitwell in 2000. That operated until 2006, when it was acquired by Venable. Upon the acquisition, Emhoff became the managing director of Venable’s West Coast offices, working with high profile clients that include Walmart and Merck.

One of Emhoff’s most notable cases during this period involved his client TBWA, the ad agency that created the iconic Taco Bell Chihuahua, as reported by Vogue. A company in Michigan claimed that they had actually created character and sued Taco Bell for a breach of contract. When the fast-food chain was found liable for $42 million, Elmhoff was able to successfully prevent the bill from being passed on to his client.

In 2017, Emhoff left Venable to become a partner at DLA Piper. The role would see him splitting his time between California and Washington D.C., much like his senator wife. His company biography describes him as someone who “represents large domestic and international corporations and some of today’s highest profile individuals and influencers in complex business, real estate, and intellectual property litigation disputes.”

When Harris was chosen to be Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s running mate in the 2020 election, Emhoff went on a leave of absence from the firm, in order to assist with the campaign, per The New York Times.


Emhoff & Harris Have Been Married Since 2014

Kamala Harris and Douglas Emhoff attend an event.
  Alex Wong / Getty Images

Prior to his relationship with Harris, Emhoff was married to Kerstin Mackin, the CEO of the production company Prettybird. The couple had two children together during their 25 years of marriage, son Cole and daughter Ella. Cole is currently an assistant at William Morris Endeavor, while Ella is a student at Parsons School of Design.

Emhoff and Harris met on a blind date arranged by her best friend Chrisette Hudlin in 2013. She was the attorney general of California at the time, and described in her memoir how difficult it was for her to date as a political figure.

“I knew that if I brought a man with me to an event, people would immediately start to speculate about our relationship… I also knew that single women in politics are viewed differently than single men. We don’t get the same latitude when it comes to our social lives,” Harris wrote.

There was an instant connection on that first date, and they would wed within a year, on August 22, 2014. The candidate’s sister Maya officiated the ceremony, which took place at a courthouse in Santa Barbara.

During Harris’ efforts to become the 2020 presidential nominee, Emhoff was a frequent fixture on the campaign trail as he supported his wife. Despite her efforts, the senator dropped out of the race in December 2019, before any voting had taken place.

The announcement of Harris as Biden’s running mate in August 2020 made Elmhoff the third man to be a spouse of a vice presidential nominee. He follows John Zaccaro, husband of Geraldine Ferraro, in 1984 and Todd Palin, husband of Sarah, in 2008. He shared his excitement at the time, taking to Twitter shortly after Harris’ selection was official with a call to action.

If Biden and Harris’ campaign is successful, he would become the first second gentleman in the history of the United States.