Serena Williams was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year Monday. One compelling part of S.L. Price’s cover story is the close friendship the star athlete has developed with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
For instance, Williams was Sandberg’s stalwart supporter and confidante when the Facebook executive’s husband, SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, passed away suddenly in May.
According to Price, the relationship began after Williams, who had just finished Lean In, tweeted that she wanted to have dinner with Sandberg. Soon after, the two met for lunch. A friendship blossomed—and soon deepened.
“Williams was playing the Madrid Open when she heard [about Goldberg’s death]; she posted her condolences on Facebook, but that didn’t seem enough,” according to Sports Illustrated. “‘I just kept getting these messages from Serena, every couple of days—for months,’ Sandberg says.”
“She would write, ‘You have all my strength’ or ‘You are the strongest woman I know. You will get through this,'” said Sandberg, the article added.
The bond between the two prominent women grew stronger:
Williams would tell stories to Sandberg’s children to help them through the difficult period: