PALM BEACH GARDENS — Turns out “Royal Bride” Meghan Markle isn’t the only bride with wedding-related daddy drama!
Palm Beach County’s own Serena Williams had a similar issue with her dad at her blow-out November nuptials in New Orleans.
An episode of “Being Serena,” the docuseries currently airing on HBO, revealed this week that Serena’s pop didn’t feel able to walk her down the aisle at the big event.
“He was in New Orleans, he had a suit, and I know he was really excited,” the tennis star said. “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.’”
The message came only an hour before Richard Williams, longtime mentor, coach and—most importantly—father of the bride was slated to give his little girl away at the ceremony.
Every bride wants her wedding to be as close to perfect as possible, but Serena dealt with the bombshell with remarkable grace.
“I can only imagine how all over the place her emotions must have been,” wrote Alexandra Macon, the Vogue contributor who covered the wedding, “but she radiated a sense of calm, even when things went wrong.”
Serena said nothing about her father’s withdrawal at the time.
“Daddy, it’s okay, if you don’t want to come to the wedding at all, that’s okay too,” Serena responded to her father’s text. “I’m not going to be upset with you about it, so I don’t want you to be upset about it.”
By all appearances, the pro athlete really is fine with how things went, and doesn’t seem to harbor any resentment or bad feelings.
“Maybe a lot of daughters wouldn’t react the same way, but I know the struggles he’s had these last few years,” Serena explained. “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.”
She went on to sum up her outlook: “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.”
Of course, Richard had a lot going on at the time as well. Shortly after the wedding, he filed a protective order against his own bride, 38-year-old Lakeisha Williams, in Palm Beach County for stalking.
Serena has plenty of other reason to adopt a gracious attitude as well. It’s been a big year for her; in addition to the wedding, she also gave birth last September to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. The delivery was not without complications, but after an emergency c-section was performed when the baby’s heart rate began dropping, Serena gave birth to a healthy 6 lb., 14 oz. little girl.
When weighed against the other many challenges the legendary tennis pro has overcome, having to walk herself down the aisle seems minor in comparison.