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Serena Williams Reveals Why Her Father Didn't Walk Her Down The Aisle at Her 2017 Wedding

Updated On 18 May, 2018 Published On

Serena Williams was a stunning bride when she tied the knot to Alexis Ohanian at the couple's November 16 wedding. But the sad thing is that her father Richard Williams was not by her side on her big day.

In the third episode of the HBO documentary Being Serena on Wednesday, May 16, the 36-year-old tennis player revealed that just an hour before the ceremony, her dad told her via text that he didn’t feel able to escort her on her wedding in New Orleans.

She explained,

He was in New Orleans, he had a suit, and I know he was really excited. 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.’ 

With a complete understanding, Serena responded, writing back,

Daddy, it’s okay, if you don’t want to come to the wedding at all, that’s okay too. I’m not going to be upset with you about it, so I don’t want you to be upset about it.

Serena further explained that she recognized why her father felt uncomfortable to attend her wedding.

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. And if he doesn’t want to be up there in front of a lot of people, I completely understand. Look, when we first came on the scene, there were a lot of people who didn’t get him. I don’t think a lot of them wanted to get him. I don’t think a lot of him could have anyway.

She continued,

Our family knows what we have. We just want each other to be happy. That’s what matters. I don’t think anything could ever change that.

The athlete, who shares 8-year-old daughter Alexis Jr. with the 35-year-old Reddit cofounder, was more worried about her father’s well-being than walking down the aisle alone.

She explained,

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. And if he doesn’t want to be up there in front of a lot of people, I completely understand. … Our family knows what we have. We just want each other to be happy. That’s what matters. I don’t think anything could ever change that.

This comes just one day before the tennis champ's close friend Meghan Markle announced that her own dad, Thomas Markle, will not be able to attend the royal wedding to Prince Harry in England on Saturday, May 19.

73-year-old Thomas underwent a successful heart surgery on Wednesday, May 16 but he will have to stay in the hospital for several days.