The Second Gentleman’s first wife Kerstin Emhoff attended the inauguration too01/22/2021
A post shared by Kerstin Emhoff (@kemhoff)
Obviously, I was a fan of now Vice President Kamala Harris for a while. But I mostly paid attention to her politics and what she was doing as the AG of California, then as a senator. Before the presidential campaign really ramped up, I didn’t know much about her personal life. So it’s been amazing to learn about her big, crazy family through the inauguration lens: her beloved sister and beloved niece, the grand-niece babies, and her two adult step-children, Ella and Cole Emhoff. Ella and Cole are the products of Doug Emhoff’s first marriage to Kerstin Emhoff. I was mildly curious about VP Harris’s relationship with Doug’s first wife, and here we go: People Magazine has an article pointing out that Kerstin actually attended the inauguration. Not only that, VP Harris and Kerstin Emhoff are close friends, and Kerstin worked on Kamala’s presidential campaign.
Among the many celebrities, politicians, and extended family members to attend Wednesday’s swearing-in ceremony of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, one face stood out: Kerstin Emhoff, the ex-wife of the Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, who is close with the couple. The mother of two joined her children, Cole and Ella, to lend her support and attend the inaugural festivities this week, sharing a handful of images on Instagram that show the three, properly-masked, heading to various events including the swearing-in.
“This is real. So excited behind the mask!” she captioned a photo of herself in front of the Capitol steps. Kerstin and Doug were married for 25 years before their divorce. Harris married Emhoff in August 2014, became a stepmom to Cole and Ella, who the vice president spoke highly of throughout the campaign.
In an August interview with PEOPLE shortly after she was announced as Biden’s running mate, Harris spoke of her close-knit relationship with the two. “My children don’t call me stepmom, they call me Momala,” Harris said. “We’re a very modern family. Their mom is a close friend of mine.”
Emhoff, who could be seen seated a few rows behind her children at Wednesday morning’s swearing-in, has been described as a “dear friend” by Harris. “Kerstin and I hit it off ourselves and are dear friends,” Harris wrote in Elle last year. “She and I became a duo of cheerleaders in the bleachers at Ella’s swim meets and basketball games, often to Ella’s embarrassment. We sometimes joke that our modern family is almost a little too functional.”
Harris also spoke warmly of Kerstin in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, saying her husband’s ex-wife had been a critical part in growing closer to Cole and Ella. “One of the keys to my relationship with Cole and Ella is their mom,” Harris said. “We are friends. We have a very modern family … The thing about blended families — if everyone approaches it in the way that there’s plenty of love to share, then it works.”
That’s very cool and frankly, it’s a relief. Before I knew all of this, there was something nagging in the back of my mind, that the Second Gentleman’s first wife might suddenly pop up and make a big PR mess. It sounds like Doug and Kerstin have it figured out though. For those interested in the timeline: Doug and Kerstin got married in 1992, and they were married for 16 years, which means they got a divorce in 2008. Doug and Kamala met in 2013 when a mutual friend set them up on a blind date. They were married the next year, in a ceremony officiated by Kamala’s sister.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, Instagram.
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