A Timeline Of Meghan Markle's Friendship With Serena Williams

The following article mentions mental health issues.

As far as celebrity friendships go, it doesn't get much more iconic than Meghan Markle and tennis star Serena Williams. These two have been through the most, and they've continued to support each other all the way.

Meghan and Williams met way back in 2010, and their friendship has only continued to blossom. "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," Meghan wrote on her now-defunct blog, The Tig (via People). Meghan's not kidding about that endless ambition: Williams holds the title of the greatest Grand Slam player in history, and she kicked off her professional tennis career at the age of 14. She had to wade through plenty of obstacles to become the icon that she is, including sexism, racism, health issues, and injuries. And yet, she ended her tennis career with a bang in spite of all she had to endure.

Like Williams, Meghan is also a tenacious and resilient person. She started advocating for women's rights at the age of 11, worked her butt off to get her acting career going, married a prince, became a duchess, and then shocked the world when she and Prince Harry left the royal family. And at some point along the way, she forged a friendship with one of the greatest athletes of all time. Let's take a look at how it all began.

Meghan Markle and Serena Williams met at the Super Bowl in Miami

It all started at the 2010 Miami Super Bowl. Meghan Markle and Serena Williams were both in attendance and as fate would have it, the two bumped into each other. Williams approached Meghan and introduced herself, and, well, the rest is history.

Williams and Meghan reminisced about the day they met on a 2022 episode of Meghan's "Archetypes" podcast, and as it turns out, Meghan never thought Williams was actually making her way over to her of all people that day. This was about six years before Meghan began dating Prince Harry, and "Suits" wouldn't premiere until the following year — in other words, Meghan Markle wasn't exactly the household name she is today. Naturally, she was just a bit starstruck when she spotted Williams. 

"I show up [at the Super Bowl] and I see you walking toward someone. I remember thinking, 'Oh my gosh, who is Serena Williams going to talk to?'" Meghan recalled during the episode. "I looked behind me and when I turned around, you were there right in front of me." The two women hit it off instantly and continued to meet up after their first encounter.

Meghan Markle and Serena Williams continued to build their bond

After first meeting at the Miami Super Bowl in 2010, Meghan Markle and Serena Williams continued to cross paths at various sports events. The two bumped into each other again at the New York Super Bowl in 2014 when they participated in the Celebrity Beach Bowl, and they got on beyond swimmingly. We know this because Meghan gushed about the great time she had with Williams during the event on her blog, The Tig (via People). "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 girly stuff," the future royal wrote.

Later that year, Meghan supported Williams at the 2014 US Open (as friends do), and Williams won the match. Markle would continue to show up to cheer on her friend in the years to come. In 2015, she took to Twitter after Williams won the Australian Open to congratulate her, and fans were blessed with a picture of Williams and Markle hugging at the US Open. Ever the loyal pal, Meghan also watched Williams at Wimbledon in 2019. "Meghan and Serena go back years and she loves to see her friend play," a source told The Sun.

Meghan Markle joined Serena Williams at the launch of her collection

The tennis court isn't the only place you'll find Meghan Markle cheering for her friend. When Williams launched her third Signature Statement collection in collaboration with HSN at New York Fashion Week in 2016, Meghan was there with bells on.

As if she wasn't busy enough, Williams went to the Art Institute Of Fort Lauderdale in the early '00s to study fashion design. "I've been sewing my whole life. My mom taught me, and when I was young, I used to make clothes for my dolls," she told People. Williams' new line was a massive success, and after her designs made a splash on the catwalk, Meghan took to Instagram to post a now-deleted picture of her and Williams from the event. "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," she wrote.

In 2019, Meghan launched a capsule clothing collection in support of the Smart Works charity. If Williams and Meghan were to ever join forces and collaborate on a clothing line, we would gladly take out our credit cards for that. Just saying.

Meghan Markle sings Serena Williams' praises

In a 2017 interview with Vogue, Serena Williams admitted that she was very nervous about giving birth to her first child. "I don't really think I'm a baby person. Not yet," she said. "That's something I have to work on. I'm so used to me-me-me, taking care of my health, my body, my career. I always ask, 'Am I going to be good enough?'"

Many moms-to-be could probably relate to Williams' worries. Vogue reached out to a few of Williams' friends for the interview — and yes, one of those friends was Meghan Markle. When the subject of motherhood came up, Meghan told the outlet that she had zero doubts Williams has what it takes. "She will be an amazing mom. The very best, because she is so attuned to balancing strength and sensitivity," Meghan said. "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!" Talk about an adorable peek behind the curtain. Can you imagine how epic karaoke night with Serena Williams and Meghan Markle must be?

Serena Williams helped Meghan Markle face the media's scrutiny

Once Meghan Markle started dating Prince Harry, she became a household name around the world. And with her newfound fame came intense media scrutiny. She was very open about the onslaught of media attention in a 2017 interview with Vanity Fair. "It has its challenges, and it comes in waves—some days it can feel more challenging than others," she said. "And right out of the gate it was surprising the way things changed."

Even though her life had suddenly turned on its head, Meghan had some friends to turn to for advice on how to handle the media tempest. Of course, Serena Williams was one of her go-to people. "I told her, 'You've got to be who you are, Meghan. You can't hide,'" Williams said in Vanity Fair, adding that Markle's "personality just shines." It might be safe to say that Meghan took Williams' advice to heart because she truly paved her own way within the royal family and wasn't afraid to break a royal rule or two.

Williams knows what it's like to deal with the ugly side of the media. In 2018, she clapped back at sexist treatment from an umpire during the US Open. The incident received both praise and harsh criticism (depending on which outlets you read), and Williams later told "The Sunday Project" (via Cosmopolitan) that she and Meghan discussed the incident at length afterward.

Serena Williams attended Meghan Markle's wedding

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's royal wedding was one of the most anticipated events of 2018, and naturally, Meghan invited her buddy Serena Williams to be part of her big day. Williams, ever the loyal friend, did her best to keep her plans to attend under wraps. Ahead of the big day, "Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts asked Williams about whether or not she'd be there, and the tennis great served a coy response: "I don't know, I think it's during one of the tournaments, I'll see if I can make it." It seemed safe to assume she wouldn't miss such a momentous occasion, especially after hearing her laugh with Roberts about the question. She also doled out some advice to Meghan and Harry: "[E]at the cake — I didn't get to eat mine at the wedding."

Of course, Williams did go. The legendary athlete seemed to be very excited on the day, posting her whole prep routine on Instagram Stories. "So my friend is getting married today, and I'm up super early," she said in one of her Instagram posts, per People. "I've known her for so many years, and I'm so happy for her." Williams opened up on "The Project" (via Vogue) about just how delighted she was to attend Meghan's wedding. "[W]e were literally watching history. And I feel like in a few years we'll look back at that moment and it's just going to be so historic, that it's going to be something people never forget," she said.

Serena Williams supported Meghan Markle's cookbook

After 2017's devastating Grenfell Tower fire, Meghan Markle joined forces with Hubb Community Kitchen. The organization is made up of former tenants who, after being displaced by the fire, started making food for other members of their community. In 2018, Meghan and the Hubb Community Kitchen released a cookbook to help raise funds for those affected by the disaster. This was one of Meghan's first official royal undertakings. 

The cookbook, titled "Together: Our Community Cookbook," boasts recipes gathered from the Hubb Community Kitchen's volunteers. The release of the book was a big affair, and Serena Williams voiced her support for her friend's first project as a royal on social media. "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 or joy," Williams wrote on Twitter. While Williams wasn't present at the launch event for the book, this post made it clear she gave Meghan support from afar.

Serena Williams said Meghan Markle was 'so sweet' through pregnancy

It's no secret that a lot of eyes were on Meghan Markle when she and Prince Harry announced they were expecting their first child. Though Meghan was dealing with a great deal of pressure — she was carrying a grandchild of King Charles III, after all — her friend Serena Williams said she faced it like a champ. 

In a 2018 chat with People, Williams said she admired how well Meghan seemed to be handling pregnancy. "I'm like, 'How are you?' and she's like, 'No, how are you?' and I'm like, 'You're so sweet, but I'm really asking — how are YOU?'" Williams told the outlet. "I'm like, 'Meghan, stop being so nice...you're the pregnant one, aren't you supposed to have hormones, why are you so sweet?' But that's always been her."

As for the whole experience of becoming a mom, Williams had some pretty sound advice as well. As she told People, she wants new moms to remember that the maternal instincts will click into place at some point. "I don't know what's going to happen, I didn't know how I'm going to have a baby, and it all came," she said. "It's so crazy, I totally changed, and it literally is like a switch. And so, I say that, 'It will come.'" 

Meghan Markle stepped out in a Serena Williams design

Besties who support each other, stay together, and Meghan Markle showed the world she's a true friend when she opted to don one of Serena Williams' designs while on a royal tour in Australia. When Meghan stepped off a plane wearing one of Williams' smart blazers, people took note — and yes, those blazers sold out. 

Williams, of course, saw the pictures along with the rest of the world and took to Instagram to express her delight at Meghan wearing her line. During an interview with Marie Claire, the tennis star couldn't help but gush about how grateful she was for the royal bump. "I've known her for years, and it's cool to see your friend help you out without even trying," she said. "I was like, 'Meghan, thanks!' And she was like, 'Why are you thanking me? We're friends!'" Williams also revealed that she designs some pieces specifically for Meghan (we are green with envy), which she then sends to her friend. "It's been fun creating them," she said. We bet Meghan loves wearing them too.

Serena Williams told her design company to think of Meghan Markle

Every designer needs a muse, and Serena Williams draws inspiration from none other than Meghan Markle when designing for her fashion line. "Because she's one of my best friends," Williams told Us Weekly.

Speaking to Business of Fashion, Williams revealed that she always strives to ensure her clothes are of the highest quality. This ethos was also inspired by Meghan. "Listen, if we're giving our stuff to Meghan, it has to be the highest quality that we can get. So, that's what I tell our team internally: 'We have to make sure it's super high quality that, you know, is fit for a royal princess!'" Williams said. She added that she'd been getting great feedback from happy customers who couldn't commend her enough on the quality of her clothes.

In a 2019 interview with People, Williams noted that her fashion line is all about embracing "femininity and strength." "It's bringing those two together. Who said you can't be both?" she said. Meghan sure seems to be a fitting muse.

Serena Williams helped organize a baby shower for Meghan Markle

While Meghan Markle appeared to balance royal life and her first pregnancy with ease, she's since been open about how much she struggled behind the scenes. Fortunately, she has friends like Serena Williams in her corner. In 2019, the tennis star helped put together a surprise baby shower for the Duchess of Sussex. Alongside Meghan's longtime pal Genevieve Hillis, Williams orchestrated the whole event without the public finding out a thing beforehand, which was no small feat. A small handful of Meghan's friends gathered at The Mark Hotel in Manhattan and enjoyed food prepared by a Michelin Star chef and participated in activities like a flower-arranging lesson.  

"I'm a perfectionist, so I'm like, 'Let's make it perfect.' It's been a lot the last few days," Williams told Business of Fashion in 2019. All of Williams' trouble was well worth it because Meghan was incredibly touched by the gathering — especially given everything she was grappling with at the time. "My girlfriends surprised me with a really beautiful baby shower in New York," she said in the Netflix Documentary "Harry & Meghan." "They were like, we're gonna shower her with love, we're gonna shower her baby with love, and she's gonna survive this." Williams added, "It was just so cool, and so fun, to try to have an intimate moment. I don't think I understood that there was no intimate moment that one could have."

Serena Williams went to Frogmore Cottage to meet Prince Archie

When Prince Archie was born in May 2019, only a select few people got to meet him right away. Among these lucky folks was Serena Williams, who spent some time with the royal couple with a visit barely a month after Archie's arrival. Williams was set to play in the French Open and popped in at Frogmore Cottage to meet her friend's baby boy.

The Daily Mail's Katie Hind first broke the news of Williams' visit. Hind revealed that the tennis legend was accompanied by her firstborn, Olympia, and her husband, Alexis Ohanian, when she paid a visit to the Sussexes. Ever the loyal friend, Williams didn't say anything about the visit or Archie on social media. No photos of the new prince or his family were posted to any of Williams' accounts. She did, however, post a picture of herself posing in a fancy stateroom on Instagram. Hey, not a bad way to promote some clothes from her fashion line.

Serena Williams held off on giving Meghan Markle mom advice

While Serena Williams had some experience as a mom by the time Meghan Markle gave birth to Prince Archie, she didn't turn into a know-it-all friend. Instead, she opted to let her friend figure out how she wanted to approach motherhood and parenting on her own at first.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast ahead of a match at Wimbledon in 2019, Williams spoke candidly about motherhood and how tough it can be. When told that she appears to have it all together, Williams replied, "I totally do not. I'm a mess. I just put on some concealer and I'm here. I'm pretending that everything's fine." She then revealed that she wasn't planning on giving Meghan any parenting advice so early into motherhood because the early days are crazy enough as it is without other people weighing in. "I never pass on words of wisdom because I feel like everyone when they have a kid, especially when you just had a baby, it's so difficult to just be," Williams said. "Get through the first three months, four months, and then we can talk."

Serena Williams called Meghan Markle an 'amazing person'

In one interview after another, Serena Williams has made it clear that she cherishes her friendship with Meghan Markle. "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," Williams told reporters at the Wimbledon Championships in 2109, per Elle. She also praised Meghan for always being positive in another press conference, adding that it's great to have her present at tennis tournaments.

Speaking to Access Hollywood in 2019, Williams gushed about Meghan's unwavering support. She said that when Prince Archie was just a few months old, Meghan flew with him across the pond so they could be there to cheer on Williams at the US Open. "I probably couldn't have done that," Williams said. "That kind of goes to show you what an amazing person she is, and that's just one of the many things that she does for me." 

Williams also revealed that she can always call or text Meghan whenever she's upset or just needs someone to talk to. As for all the media scrutiny Meghan was facing at the time, Williams said that even she couldn't quite grasp what her friend was going through because the fame Meghan was experiencing was different from her own. "I just really think she's literally the strongest person I know," Williams said. In an aforementioned press conference, she also noted that she never reads any stories about Meghan in the tabloids. That's a true friend, indeed.

Serena Williams joked that she doesn't know Meghan Markle

If there's one person Meghan Markle can count on to not discuss her personal life with the media, it's Serena Williams. Because everyone knows that the two are close friends, Williams gets asked to dish about Meghan from time to time — and the tennis icon is very good at sidestepping these kinds of questions. What's more, she also looks like a total bada** in the process.

A few weeks after Prince Harry and Meghan told the world that they would be stepping down from royal duties, Williams competed in the Australian Open. In a post-match press conference, a reporter went for it and asked about Harry and Meghan's exit. Williams would not take the bait. "Yeah. I have absolutely no comments on anything with that," she said, per TMZ. "But good try. You tried. You did good."

She brought a similar energy to Naomi Campbell's "No Filter with Naomi" in 2020. The supermodel was curious about what Williams thought about Meghan and Harry's move to Los Angeles, but Williams wouldn't let out any details. When Campbell asked Williams if she was happy that Meghan was back in the United States, Williams replied, "Don't know what you're talking about, don't know nothing about that." Campbell pressed a bit, saying that it's a "big deal," but Williams refused to budge. "Never seen her, never heard of her, don't know her," she answered and proceeded to whistle to signal the end of the conversation.

Serena Williams defended Meghan Markle after the Oprah interview

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021 made big waves. While some were shocked at what the couple experienced as members of the royal household, others criticized them and went as far as to call them liars. Historian Ruth Dudley Edwards, for instance, told Express at the time that Meghan's allegations simply weren't true. She also claimed that Meghan convinced Harry to leave the royal family because she was more interested in being a "high-earning celebrity couple." "When the queen told them they could not have the royal cake and eat it, they retaliated by complaining to an audience of billions that they've been badly treated. It's backfiring. Pity about Harry," Edwards told the outlet.

In the wake of all the criticism, Serena Williams took to social media to make it clear she was in Meghan's corner. "[Meghan] teaches me every day what it means to be truly noble," Williams wrote in a tweet, adding that her friend's "words illustrate the pain and cruelty she's experienced." Williams also addressed Meghan's struggles with mental health and the lack of support she received when she was a working member of the royal family, as well as the racism that permeated her experience as a royal. "We must recognize our obligation to decry malicious, unfounded gossip and tabloid journalism," Williams wrote. "The mental health consequences of systemic oppression and victimization are devastating, isolating and all too often lethal." 

Meghan Markle invited Serena Williams to be the first guest on her podcast

Fans waited with bated breath for the launch of Meghan Markle's "Archetypes" podcast, which debuted on Spotify in August 2022. Meghan's first guest was none other than Serena Williams, and the two had a candid chat about their friendship. Turns out, their shared sense of humor has been a crucial part of their bond. "I think you're funny!" Meghan told Williams during the episode. "Either we're the only two people in the world who find each other funny or we're genuinely funny. But I mean, most of our time chatting is just laughing." On top of that, Williams said she admires Meghan's willingness to put herself out there, gushing, "You're way more fearless than I am." The two also spoke about ambition and the unfortunate stigma that comes with being a driven woman. "Often women are definitely put in these different boxes when we are ambitious or when we do have goals or when we reach our goals, it's a negative connotation on how we reach the goals," Williams said.

The superstar duo also opened up about their very different pregnancy experiences: Williams enjoyed every second of it whereas Meghan was just too exhausted and overwhelmed. "You made pregnancy look so sexy, I just waddled around," Meghan said. Williams went on to note that even though they're both public figures, the attention on Meghan was a totally different ballgame. "I was the annoying one. You were the one under a lot of stress," Williams said.

Meghan Markle seemingly missed Serena Williams' second baby shower

Even though Meghan Markle and Serena Williams have said time and time again that they're close, some outlets continue to raise questions about the state of their relationship. In August 2023, Page Six ran a story about Meghan's apparent absence at Williams' second daughter's baby shower. The outlet hinted at how odd this seemed, given that Williams helped plan Meghan's baby shower and all. Royal writer Angela Levin took things a step further and claimed that Williams and Meghan had grown apart. "I think [Williams] has found that [Meghan is] a taker rather than a giver," Levin said on GBNews.

All that said, there's no confirmation that Meghan wasn't there, and there's definitely no official word on whether or not there's drama. Even though Page Six pointed out that she did not appear in any videos or social media posts from the day, it's possible that Meghan requested to be left out of the shots. But if she did not go, it feels fair to assume that Williams is not going to spill the reason. (As Williams has made it clear time and time again, she's not the type to gossip about her friendship with Meghan.) And let us not forget that when Meghan couldn't make it to Williams' wedding in 2017, the latter was understanding.

We may never know the reason why Meghan seemingly didn't go to the shower, but we do know that we're all about this friendship.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.