Kamala Harris has been thrown into sharper focus now that she has joined Democratic nominee Joe Biden as running mate for the US presidential election in November.
The vice-presidential candidate says family means a lot to her.
“Family is everything to me too and I cannot wait for America to get to know my husband Doug and our amazing kids Cole and Ella,” she told supporters on 12 August.
“I’ve had a lot of titles over my career and certainly vice president will be great, but ‘Momala’ will always be the one that means the most.”
Her husband, Douglas Emhoff, joined her on stage and they shared a kiss.
Many of Ms Harris’s supporters will be familiar with her family by now. A lot has been written of her South Indian mother Shyamala Gopalan and Jamaican father Donald Harris, as well as her sister Maya.
Meanwhile Mr Emhoff and his children – Kamala’s stepchildren – were among Kamala’s most enthusiastic cheerleaders during her run for the presidency.
Who is Douglas Emhoff?
After Joe Biden announced she was his running mate, Mr Emhoff tweeted his excitement.
Mr Emhoff is a partner at global law firm DLA Piper, specialising in entertainment litigation and intellectual property, and splits his time between Los Angeles and Washington DC.
He graduated from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, and worked in local law firms until the late 1990s, when he established his own practice.
For one of his first cases he represented former video rental chain Hollywood Video in an accounting dispute with Fox, which helped him make a name for himself in entertainment law and led to him later representing dozens of production companies in a class action a few years later.
He opened his own firm in 2000, which was then acquired by Venable in 2006. In 2017, he left Venable to join DLA Piper as a partner.
He and Kamala Harris first met in 2013, on a blind date set up by PR consultant Chrisette Hudlin, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Just one year later, the couple got married at a small and intimate ceremony. According to news site SF Gate, they each chose to honour the other’s cultures – Mr Emhoff wore a garland as a nod to Ms Harris’s Hindu roots, and she broke a glass to honour his Jewish heritage.
Meanwhile, Mr Emhoff told The Hollywood Reporter last year that his wife’s political career was “endlessly fascinating”, adding that he would get stopped and asked for selfies when she was running for president.
From Kamala to ‘Momala’
Mr Emhoff has two children from his first marriage – Cole and Ella – who Ms Harris says affectionately refer to her as “Momala”, because they don’t like the term “stepmom”.
“Cole and Ella could not have been more welcoming,” she wrote in an essay for Elle magazine last year. “They are brilliant, talented, funny kids who have grown to be remarkable adults. I was already hooked on Doug, but I believe it was Cole and Ella who reeled me in.”
Kamala is also close to her younger sister, Maya Harris, who was her campaign chairwoman when she was running for president last year.
“I think most people who know Maya will tell you she’s one of the smartest people they know,” Kamala told political news site Politico at the time. “She works around the clock and she’s probably the hardest, if not one of the hardest working people on the campaign.”
Shyamala Gopalan moved to the US from India in 1960 to pursue a doctorate in endocrinology at the University of California, Berkeley, while their father Donald Harris emigrated from Jamaica in 1961 to attend the same university. The two met while being actively involved in the Civil Rights movement.
The couple divorced in 1971, when Kamala was seven years old.
While their father remained involved in their lives, Harris says her mother was “the one most responsible for shaping us into the women we would become”.