LOS ANGELES (AP) — Serena Williams and Meghan recount the challenges they faced as working mothers on the Duchess of Sussex’s first podcast, including stories of having to work shortly after frightening incidents involving their children.
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion who recently said ‘the countdown has begun’ to her retirement, told Meghan’s ‘Archetypes’ Spotify podcast on Tuesday that she played a match at the French Open 2018 after an almost sleepless night after her daughter, Olympia, broke her wrist.
“I managed to win somehow, but I was so emotionally drained and so emotionally drained that it was, it was crazy. And, you know, and then like every night after that, I was just with her the whole time and I was like you were going to be with me,” said Williams, who has indicated that her last tournament will be the US Open, which begins in New York next week.
The tennis great and Meghan, who are friends, spoke at length in Tuesday’s episode about the challenges of balancing high profile careers in the public eye and motherhood.
“So when you went to play that game the next morning, nobody knew what your night was like the day before. They forgot that human part,” Meghan said of Williams’ experience at Roland Garros.
Meghan recounted an incident while touring South Africa with her husband, Prince Harry, and their son, Archie, in which a fire broke out in her son’s bedroom and the couple had to leave their baby to continue his official duties. Archie was supposed to be napping in the bedroom at the time, but his nanny took him out for a bite to eat. The incident has shaken everyone, Meghan said.
She said she wanted to spend time with her son, but she and Harry had to go on another official engagement.
“The focus ends up being on the look rather than the feel,” Meghan said. “And part of humanizing and breaking through these labels and these archetypes and these boxes that we’re placed in is understanding the behind-the-scenes human moments that people might not be aware of and giving themselves a Pause.
“Because we did – we had to leave our baby behind,” she said.
Williams, who turns 41 next month, and Meghan opened up about the tennis star’s recent announcement to retire from tennis. Williams said she discussed it with Prince Harry before publicly revealing her decision.
“Obviously, I’m retiring professionally, but it’s also an evolution. I do more professional things. And I really want to expand my family. And, you know, I put it off for so long. And as a woman, you can only put that off for so long,” Williams said.
Harry and Meghan have a multi-year contract to produce and host podcasts for Spotify under their production company Archewell Audio. Meghan said the ‘Archetypes’ podcast will focus on harmful labels and stereotypes applied to women.
The Spotify deal is one of many high-profile deals the couple have struck, including one with Netflix. Harry and Meghan stepped back from royal duties in March 2020 over what they described as British media intrusions and racist attitudes towards the Duchess. They have since moved to California, where they are raising their children, Archie and Lili.