As the top female tennis player in the world, Serena Williams is used to making headlines, but her cover for the August issue of Vanity Fair is next level.
Posing nude with her hands over her breasts, a six-months-pregnant Williams—who was shot by the legendary Annie Leibovitz—looks breathtaking. Talking to the magazine about her unexpected pregnancy and unlikely relationship with 34-year-old Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, the 35-year-old athlete reveals intimate details of the last few years of her life.
From how Ohanian proposed to her thoughts on motherhood, here are six things we learned from the revealing interview.
Williams took six pregnancy tests before she believed she was pregnant
Williams was feeling sick a week before the Australian Open in January—which she went on to win—and threw up one day. The athlete just though it was hormones, but her friend urged her to take a pregnancy test. After seeing the positive result, Williams said she “did a double take and my heart dropped. Like literally it dropped.”
“Oh my God, this can’t be—I’ve got to play a tournament,” she told to Vanity Fair of her reaction. “How am I going to play the Australian Open? I had planned on winning Wimbledon this year.”
The tennis star is notoriously stubborn, and her friend had to go buy her five more tests before she believed that she was actually pregnant. She broke the news to Ohanian by handing him a paper bag with the six positive tests inside.
Williams and Ohanian met by chance in Rome, Italy
The athlete was staying at Rome’s Cavalieri hotel in 2015 for the Italian Open. One morning during breakfast, Williams sat near the hotel’s pool area to order food. Ohanian, who was staying at the hotel for the Festival of Media Global conference, came and sat near her.
“This big guy comes and he just plops down at the table next to us, and I’m like, ‘Huh! All these tables and he’s sitting here?’” Williams told the outlet.“We were trying to get him to move and get out of there.” The two ended up talking and exchanged numbers.
Ohanian had never watched a tennis match before meeting Williams
When Ohanian met Williams, he was not a fan of her sport—at all. As a football and basketball fan, Ohanian told Vanity Fair that he had “never watched a match on television or in real life. It was literally the sport—even if ESPN was announcing tennis updates, I would just zone out. . . . I really had no respect for tennis.”
Williams and Ohanian’s first date was in Paris
Shortly after their initial meeting, Williams invited Ohanian to Paris for the weekend while she was in France for the French Open. Ohanian went, despite having low exceptions.
“Even if she blows me off and we don’t even hang out, I’m still going to have an amazing time in Paris, and I’ll have an even better story for all my childhood friends when I was like, ‘Yeah, I went to Paris for a weekend. I was supposed to meet up with Serena Williams, she blew me off, but I’ve got other friends there, and we had a great time,’” he told Vanity Fair.
The couple went to a zoo, ate candy and walked the city for six hours.
Ohanian proposed to Williams at the same place they met in Italy
In December 2016, Ohanian planned an elaborate proposal. He got Williams’s friends and staff to get her to Italy so he could ask her to marry him at the exact place they first met.
Once Williams caught wind of his plan, she was “livid” because she was starting to train for the Australian Open, but once she was on the plane to Italy, she got excited. “I knew it was coming,” she said. “I was like, ‘Serena, you’re 35, you’re ready. This is what you want.’”
Williams has no idea what to do with a child
Even though she is more than six months pregnant, Williams said she still can’t believe she’s having a baby. “It just doesn’t seem real. I don’t know why. Am I having a baby?” she said to Vanity Fair. “I don’t know what to do with a baby. I have nothing. . . . I’ve done absolutely nothing for the baby room.”