Serena Williams comforted Sheryl Sandberg as she mourned her husband’s death, Sandberg told Sports Illustrated, constantly checking up on the grieving widow with uplifting messages.
The women’s tennis superstar, who was named the magazine’s 2015 Sportsperson of the Year on Monday, was one of Sandberg’s key supporters after the top Facebook executive’s husband died in May at age 47, in an accident while on vacation.
“I just kept getting these messages from Serena, literally every couple of days—for months,” Sandberg told SI. “Texts, messages, voice mails. She would write, ‘You have all my strength’ or ‘You are the strongest woman I know. You will get through this.’’
Sandberg said Williams tucked her two children, 10 and 8, into bed and told them stories “about her life and about trying and the times it was hard—and what she wants for them.”
“For Serena Williams to say, ‘You have all my strength’? God, when you’re like where I was after Dave died, that feels like a lot of strength,” Sandberg said. “I would get that text and look at it, and would feel pretty emotional—like I am now. I would feel like she was carrying me.”