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Inside Serena Williams' and Meghan Markle's 7-year friendship


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They may be the greatest tennis player of all time and the first American to marry into the royal family in decades (and the first to leave in decades), but Serena Williams and Meghan Markle have remained loyal friends since their first real hang out in 2014.

Since then, the two have became close confidantes, with Markle regularly attending Williams' tennis matches, and Williams defending her friend from the mountain of negative attention she's received since 2017.

Keep scrolling to learn more about their sweet, yet private, friendship.

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February 2010: Williams and Markle meet at the Super Bowl in Miami.

Markle wrote on her now-defunct blog The Tig that the two crossed paths for the first time in Miami during the 2010 Super Bowl. But it would take a few more years for their friendship to blossom.

February 2014: They become friends while playing in the DirecTV Beach Bowl.

Markle, who was then starring on "Suits," and Williams crossed paths again at the event, playing flag football together at a celebrity game.

"We hit it off immediately, taking pictures, laughing through the flag football game we were both playing in, and chatting not about tennis or acting, but about all the good old fashioned girlie stuff. So began our friendship," Markle would write later on The Tig.

September 2014: Markle congratulates Williams on Twitter for winning the US Open, and their friendship grows.

"She did it! @serenawilliams ! #bravo #friends #usopen," Markle tweeted after Williams won the 2014 US Open.

Markle shared more about their friendship on The Tig: "She quickly became a confidante I would text when I was traveling, the friend I would rally around for her tennis matches, and the down-to-earth chick I was able to grab lunch with just a couple weeks ago in Toronto."

She added, "We are both the same age, have a penchant for hot sauces, and adore fashion, but what connects us more than those things is perhaps our belief in exceeding expectations — our endless ambition."

January 2015: Markle once again congratulates Williams on winning, this time the Australian Open.

"So happy for you @serenawilliams!! I was juuuust hugging you for your win at #usopen. Now @AustralianOpen! #onfire," Markle tweeted alongside a photo of them hugging at the US Open.

September 2016: Markle posts a funny photo of the two at Fashion Week and congratulates Williams for her line.

"My eyes are closed but my heart is so open! So proud of your new collection @serenawilliams Happy I could be there to support you xx #NYFW," Markle captioned the cute photo of the duo. It wouldn't be the last time Markle supported Williams' clothing.

August 2017: Markle tells Vogue that Williams will "be an amazing mom" ahead of the birth of Williams' daughter, Olympia.

"She will be an amazing mom. The very best, because she is so attuned to balancing strength and sensitivity. Plus, given that she is pretty epic at karaoke, I think she'll put her signature Serena spin on singing lullabies for the baby. I can't wait for that," Markle told Vogue for the September 2017 issue.

September 2017: Williams shares the advice she gave Markle when she began dating Prince Harry.

"Her personality just shines," Williams told Vanity Fair for a profile on Markle.

When Markle asked for advice on dealing with the pressures of fame and paparazzi, Williams said, "I told her, 'You've got to be who you are, Meghan. You can't hide.'"

May 2018: Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, attend the royal wedding.

In her pale pink dress and matching fascinator, Williams was one of the best-dressed people at Markle's wedding to Prince Harry at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018.

July 2018: In their first solo public outing, Markle and her new sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, attend Wimbledon to support Williams.

Harper's Bazaar reported that, during Williams' concession speech, the new duchess could be seen "blinking back tears."

Earlier in the week, Williams discussed her friendship with Markle, saying, "Every year, for a couple years, she comes out to Wimbledon and has supported me. Now she's supporting me in a different role. But our friendship is still exactly the same. We always have supported each other, just been there for each other through a lot."

September 2018: They lean on each other as they each deal with public issues.

For the entire year, Markle dealt with mounting pressure and backlash from the public and media, while Williams had to deal with a controversy surrounding her and a tennis umpire, Carlos Ramos.

"We were actually just texting each other this morning," Williams told the Sunday Project. "We have known each other for a long time, but we really are relying on each other a lot recently."

September 2018: Williams tweets her support for Markle's cookbook, "Together."

The cookbook featured 50 recipes from a group of women affected by London's deadly Grenfell Tower fire.

"I used to call you Meghan (and I still do) but dear Duchess of Sussex your first project 'Together' a cookbook bringing women of all cultures together. I could not be more excited about it and proud of you. It's beautiful — diversity, inclusivity, coming together in grief and joy," Williams tweeted about Markle's first solo project as a royal.

October 2018: Markle shows support for Williams by wearing a blazer designed by her friend.

The $145 blazer sold out soon after Markle was spotted wearing it. It came from Williams' line, Serena, and is fittingly called the Serena Boss Blazer.

To celebrate, Williams posted a photo of Markle on her Instagram wearing it and smiling, captioning the photo, "The face you make when you and Meghan have matching @serena blazers."

February 2019: Williams reportedly co-hosts Markle's NYC baby shower with Amal Clooney.

Markle announced her pregnancy in October 2018 and traveled to New York City in February 2019 for her baby shower.

"A Tatler report citing an unnamed 'insider' source says that Serena Williams and Amal Clooney are among the friends hosting an afternoon shower in the $75,000-a-night penthouse suite of The Mark Hotel in Manhattan's Upper East Side," Insider reported at the time.

Insider also reported that Williams was footing the bill and chose The Mark because she's a frequent patron of Jean-Georges, the hotel's restaurant.

July 2019: Williams continues to support her friend, who was a new mom at the time, amongst more negative press.

Reportedly, Markle's bodyguards asked patrons not to take photos of the duchess at Wimbledon, where Williams was competing. After the negative press, Williams came to her friend's defense. 

"I didn't know there was negative media out there," she said in a press conference, according to Harper's Bazaar. "Any time I see her name attached to anything, I don't read it. She couldn't be a better friend to me. Low moments, high moments, she's always there, and that's all I want to be to her."

September 2019: Markle attends the US Open a few months after giving birth to Archie.

"She flew all the way with a newborn to see me play in New York and flew all the way back that night, and I probably couldn't have done that," Williams would later tell Access Hollywood about Markle cheering her on at the US Open.

"And that's just one of the many things that she does for me. I call her, text her anytime, crying, upset — she's always there. Doesn't matter what she's going through, she just sets time away, and she's just so amazing," she added.

April 2020: In order to protect her friend's privacy, Williams jokes about not knowing Markle.

After Markle and Prince Harry announced they were stepping back from royal life in January 2020, they moved to the US. During an interview with Naomi Campbell and her sister Venus in April 2020, Campbell asked how Williams felt about her friend moving back.

Rather than risk any headlines or give Markle any press, Williams joked that she simply "doesn't know her."



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