Power Players

Serena Williams' hubby Ohanian: Men shouldn't need to make more money than their partner to feel confident

Alexis Ohanian married tennis star Serena Williams in 2017
TOBY MELVILLE | Getty Images

Alexis Ohanian was once famous for co-founding Reddit, but now he may be even better known as the husband of Serena Williams. It's a role he relishes: He often makes grand romantic gestures, like proclaiming across four billboards along a Palm Springs highway that Williams is the best mother of all time to daughter Olympia.

He also is happy to prioritize her career over his.

"I know I've been successful in my career, but I'm not the one racking up the trophies," Ohanian, who is also the co-founder of Initialized Capital, tells Glamour in an essay that published Thursday. "It helps that my wife and I both know what it takes to be successful and bring that mutual understanding, drive and relentlessness to the table. But at the end of the day sometimes her career really does have to come first."

The power couple are each successful in their own right. Ohanian sold Reddit at the age of 23 for a reported $10 million to $20 million and is now worth an estimated $9 million. Meanwhile, Williams raked in a reported $27 million in 2018 as the highest paid female athlete.

It's a dynamic that in 2019 isn't uncommon — research from the U.S Census Bureau found that one in four heterosexual couples have a marriage where the wife makes more than than the husband. However, when the U.S. Census Bureau compared its survey responses to tax filings, it found that when women are the breadwinners, husbands on average inflate their earnings by around 2.9 percent, while women reduce their earnings by around 1.5 percent.

Ohanian also cites research that men are comfortable with their wife's success unless it interferes with their own career, and in the majority of cases, the woman's career comes second.

But, if that's how you feel, Ohanian says, it sounds more like a personal problem.

"I know this is real, because I've seen the tweets and comments about how being less successful (or doing what is traditionally considered 'women's work' and caring for your kids) can be 'emasculating,'" Ohanian says. "To me, that says more about the guy than anything else.

"If you need to make more money than your partner to have confidence, then I think there's something more going on under the hood, " he adds. "If that's where your swagger's gotta come from, then it's probably not real."

These days, Ohanian calls himself "less 'full-time dad' and more what I like to call 'business dad,'" he says in Glamour.

"When Serena has an intense day of training or a photo shoot, I'll spend the day with Olympia. I'm fortunate to be my own boss, which comes with the freedoms of doing things like bringing my daughter into the office, or working remotely from virtually anywhere Serena competes."

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This is the No. 1 lesson Serena Williams hopes to teach her daughter
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