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Serena Williams just shared the best piece of dating advice

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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And it comes from no less a source than Oprah.

The details of Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian’s relationship play out like a romantic comedy.

The pair met as complete opposites by chance at a restaurant in Rome in 2015. Williams had never heard of Reddit, Ohanian was no tennis fan and had never seen Williams play. One was a superstar athlete at the top of her game, the other the co-founder of one of the biggest tech startups in the world.

Their schedules took a while to co-ordinate, but by 2016 they had their first date, which comprised of a six hour walk through Paris on the eve of the French Open. Neither wanted to stop talking and end the date. So they didn’t. The rest, as they say, is history, involving a surprise proposal at the exact same table where they first met and the arrival of a beautiful baby girl, who shares a name with her father.  

Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian

Williams and Ohanian have become one of those starry-eyed Hollywood love stories, despite neither of them actually being in show business. But, as Williams explained in a new interview today, their relationship is founded on some pretty relatable principles and based on advice that all women should apply to their own dating life. Williams even received that wisdom from her female friend, the source of all good dating advice. It’s just that in Williams’ case, that female friend is Oprah.

In a new interview with Allure magazine, Williams recounts that she met Ohanian at a time in her life when she was being unapologetically selfish, which immediately framed the relationship that she had with him.

“I was so committed to my job, and to being the best and working the hardest, and I think I still am,” she said in the interview. “Not to knock anyone else I was with before, because they were all mostly amazing, but I know now I can be selfish, have a great career, and a great partner, someone that believes in me.” 

At the Met Gala in 2016

Ohanian’s support of Williams is legendary, both on the court (he’s always pictured front and centre in the stands, often holding their baby Alexis Olympia) and online, where he uses Twitter as his own personal cheer squad for his wife.

It’s this quality of Ohanian’s that Williams says Oprah singled out when she was telling her what to look for in a partner.

“Oprah said, ‘Never let anyone dim your light,’” Williams told Allure. “That really stuck with me. Alexis doesn’t dim my light. He doesn’t try to dim my light. He puts me in the light, even if I don’t want to be. He pushes me to further points I never thought about. It always was something that I could see in my relationships - my light would be dimmer. Now I feel like I can shine really bright and still do everything that I want to do.”

Never let anyone dim your light. The best dating advice - hell, the best life advice - we’ve ever heard. From Oprah’s lips to your ears. 

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer, podcaster and recent Australian transplant in London. You can find her on the internet talking about pop culture, food and travel. Follow her on Twitter

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