Serena and Venus: The Incredible Journey Of Tennis’ Most Iconic Siblings

They are known worldwide not only for their incredible talents in tennis but also because they are sisters. This dynamic duo is likely the most well-known name in Tennis. The Williams sisters have countless Olympic medals and numerous championship titles.

These sisters do so much more than just play tennis. By branching out into other fields such as activism and fashion, they have been able to share more about themselves than they have as athletes. Keep reading to learn more about the events, both good and bad, that made these women who they are today.

How They Got Started

Venus Ebony Starr Williams was born on June 17th, 1980. She was born in Lynwood, California, to parents Richard Williams and Oracene Price. Serena was born one year later on September 26th, 1981.

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Photo by Paul Harris/Online USA
Photo by Paul Harris/Online USA

When Venus was seven years old, her parents started to notice that she had a particular talent for tennis. A professional local tennis player saw her with a racket and knew that she was special. Serena also knew her way around a tennis court at a young age.

Early Training

Venus and Serena were so good at tennis that when Venus was ten and Serena was nine, the whole family moved to Florida so that the girls could go to Rick Macci’s tennis academy

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Credit: Ken Levine /Allsport
Credit: Ken Levine /Allsport

The girls’ father didn’t always agree with Macci, but he respected his expertise and liked that “he treated his daughters like kids, allowed them to be little girls.” Richard, Venus and Serena’s father was also a tennis player, and he later pulled his daughters out of Macci’s academy and started coaching them himself.

More Siblings

Venus and Serena aren’t the only two Williams sisters. These two actually have at least ten half-siblings. Their mother had three daughters from a previous relationship, and Richard had six children with his ex-wife, Betty Johnson.

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Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Venus and Serena are the only children that Richard and Oracene had together. In 2002, Richard and Oracene got divorced, and Richard had a son with his third wife, Lakeisha (who is one year older than Venus) in 2012.

Controversial Fashion

Serena Williams has always showcased her own unique sense of fashion and sportswear on the tennis court. In 2002, she wore a black catsuit to the US Open and people were talking about it for weeks.

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Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images
Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images

In 2004, she wore denim skirts and knee-high boots. Some commentators have been critical of Serena’s fashion choices, and some have even called her out for disrespecting the game of tennis with her clothes. Serena responded by being the best tennis player the world has ever seen.

Serena’s Activism Is Inspiring

As Serena Williams’ career has progressed, she has become more conscious about the way she uses her platform. She often takes to social media to advocate for causes that are important to her. Serena is a strong supporter of Black Lives Matter, and she’s quick to call out racism when she sees it.

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Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images
Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

Serena was listed among the 35 “most remarkable and beautiful black women” in the world in Essence magazine, and she’s also been recognized as an activist by the NAACP.

Venus Dabbled In Business Ventures

Venus Williams isn’t just a star tennis player, she’s also an entrepreneur. She’s the CEO of an interior design firm called V Starr that’s based in Jupiter, Florida. Venus also has her own fashion line. She teamed up with Steve & Barry’s to release EleVen, an activewear line that is consciously modeled by athletes rather than traditional models.

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Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage
Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage

Venus said, “I love fashion and the idea that I am using my design education to actually create clothing and footwear that I will wear on and off the tennis court is a dream come true for me. The vision has been to create a collection that will allow women to enjoy an active lifestyle while remaining fashionable at the same time. I’m thrilled with everything we’ve created to launch EleVen.”

The Williams’ Sisters Are Part-Owners Of The Miami Dolphins

In August 2009, Venus and Serena decided to become part-owners of the Miami Dolphins. With this investment, they became the first African-American women to secure ownership of an NFL team.

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Doug Murray/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Doug Murray/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Stephen M. Ross, the majority owner of the Dolphins, commented, “We are thrilled to have Venus and Serena join the Dolphins as limited partners. They are among the most admired athletes in the world and have become global ambassadors for the game of tennis. Their addition to our ownership group further reflects our commitment to connect with aggressively and embrace the great diversity that makes South Florida a multicultural gem.”

Serena Broke Advertising Barriers

In 2009, Serena Williams became the first still-competing professional athlete to appear in a tampon commercial when she starred in a Tampax Pearl advertising campaign. In the commercial, she hits a series of tennis balls thrown at her by “Mother Nature” who was played by Catherine Lloyd Burns.

GettyImages-72543797 9 Sep 1999: Venus Williams(l) and Serena Williams(r) of the USA celebrate after the doubles match
Photo Credit: Jamie Squire /Allsport
Photo Credit: Jamie Squire /Allsport

A brand manager for Tampax commented, “A lot of celebrities are not open to working with our brand, and we’re thrilled that Serena is.” Serena has always been about female empowerment.

Venus Is Dealing With An Autoimmune Disease

In 2011, Venus Williams was diagnosed with Sjögren syndrome, a long-term autoimmune disease that affects the body’s moisture-producing glands. That year, Venus was forced to withdraw from the US open so she could properly address her symptoms.

GLAM SLAM Presented By NYFW: The Shows And Chase Sapphire Session 5: #COACHVENUS Q&A With Venus Williams
Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for IMG Fashion
Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for IMG Fashion

After she was diagnosed, Venus cut meat, dairy, and eggs out of her diet. She also cut down on the amount of sugar she was eating. Her new eating habits helped calm Sjögren syndrome flare-ups. This disorder also causes fatigue which is something Venus has struggled with for years.

Venus Williams’ Dating History

From 2007 until 2010, Venus Williams dated professional golfer Hank Kuehne. Kuehne already had a son with his ex-wife when he and Venus started dating. Right after his relationship with Venus ended, Kuehne began dating his now-wife, Andy.

GettyImages-1742424 Venus and Serena Williams of the USA in action during their victory over Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain and Paola Suarez of Argentina
Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images
Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Venus is now dating Nicholas Hammond who is an heir to publisher Walter Annenberg’s fortune. Nicholas is twelve years younger than Venus. Maybe Nicholas is really mature for his age. Nicholas was Venus’ date to Serena’s wedding.

Speaking Of Serena’s Wedding…

Serena Williams is married to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. The pair got married on November 16th, 2017 in New Orleans. On April 19th, 2017, Serena took to Snapchat to announce that she was expecting.

GettyImages-960040932 US tennis player Serena Williams and her husband Alexis Ohanian arrive for the wedding ceremony of Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and US actress Meghan Markle
Photo by TOBY MELVILLE / POOL / AFP
Photo by TOBY MELVILLE / POOL / AFP

Her daughter, Olympia Ohanian, was born in September 2017. Serena had to undergo an emergency c-section and she almost died on the operating table due to a pulmonary embolism. Thankfully, both mom and baby made it out of surgery alive, and Serena eventually recovered and got back on the tennis court.

Serena Was In Beyoncé’s Music Video

Beyoncé and Serena Williams are really close friends. Beyoncé was at Serena’s wedding in New Orleans, and she has been a strong supporter of her fellow superstar. Beyoncé asked Serena to be in the music video for her song “Sorry” which appeared on her hit visual album, Lemonade.

GettyImages-1025629822 Serena Williams of the United States returns the ball during her women's singles third round match against Venus Williams
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Williams said that the director of the video told her, “We would love for you to be in this particular song. It’s about strength and it’s about courage and that’s what we see you as.”

These Ladies Live For Charity

The amount of good these two sisters have done in the world is absolutely staggering. Serena started her own foundation that provides university scholarships for American students in need of financial aid. Her foundation has also helped build schools in Kenya and Jamaica.

GettyImages-927786690 Serena Williams (L) of the US speaks with her sister Venus WIlliams (R) before their matches in the Tie Break Tens New York tournament at Madison Square Garden
Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

In 2003, Serena was awarded a Celebrity Role Model Award from Avon Foundation for work in breast cancer. In the early 2000s, Venus and Serena would play tennis and visit schools in black neighborhoods to raise money for various charities, and now, they work with domestic abuse organizations, AIDS foundations, hospitals, and give so much back to their community.