Who is Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's wife?
Ukraine’s president met his wife Olena while they were both at school and started dating while they were at university. They married in September 2003.
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife Olena, or Ze as she is affectionately known, have known each other since childhood. They come from the same city, Kryvyi Rih, the largest city in central Ukraine, and were born less than a couple of weeks apart. It is believed that they did vaguely know one another while they were at school but were not close friends. It was only when they were studying at university that they began dating.
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Olena Volodymyrivna Kiyashko was born on 6 February 1978 in Kryvyi Rih - a thriving city, the home of Ukraine’s steel industry with a population of just under 700,000. Olena studied architecture at the Faculty of Civil Engineering at Kryvyi Rih National University where she started dating Volodymyr Zelenskyy while they were both in their late teens. Volodymyr was studying law at Vadym Hetman Institute of Economics.
Their courtship lasted around eight years, until they decided it was time to tie the knot and start a family. They were married on 6 September 2003 and moved to the capital, Kyiv. While both graduated with degrees, neither Olena nor Volodymyr found immediate work in their chosen fields - another thing which they shared in common. Both were creative and with a gift for writing - Volodymyr was something of a showman, an entertainer - he was a member of the amateur dramatics group at university, taking an active part in plays, musicals and comedy productions.
Not long after graduating from university, they were producing scripts and screenplays for local production companies.
They were so successful at it, that they decided to set up their own - Studio Kvartal-95 was founded in 1997 and made its debut the following year; the name (Quarter 95) coming from a famous road junction in Kryvyi Rih city centre. Olena was involved in several television projects such as the Liga Smichu (League of Laughter) show, a light entertainment comedy contest along with writing scripts for other TV serials and films.
Olena gave birth to her first child, Oleksandra in 2008 and their son Kyrylo was born five years later in 2013. Two years later, Volodymyr shot to national fame in the role of Vasyl Petrovych Holoborodko, a school history teacher who suddenly found himself in the presidential race after one of his online rants went viral in the hit TV comedy Servant of the People. He won, finding himself leading the nation completely by accident.
In a bizarre twist, fiction became reality when on 21 January 2019, Zelenskyy was put forward as one of the candidates for the elections in real life. He won by a landslide, taking over 73% of the votes - almost three times the votes polled by his rival Petro Poroshenko. That victory meant that Volodymyr became the youngest president of Ukraine in history and Olena, the youngest First Lady - both had only just turned 41.