Serena Williams Confirms She Once Tried to Deposit a $1 Million Check at a Drive-Thru ATM

Perhaps not her most relatable story.

serena williams
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Serena Williams never became a professional athlete for the money, but of course the money followed her success.

Appearing on a recent episode of First We Feast's Hot Ones, the tennis champion confirmed a pretty funny—and I'm afraid to say, highly unrelatable—anecdote about herself.

"Is it true that you rarely collected your winnings your first year on tour and then once tried unsuccessfully to cash your first million-dollar check in a drive-thru ATM?" asked host Sean Evans.

"Yeah, those are all true," Williams confirmed. "So, I never played for money. Like, I played 'cause I loved the sport. I wanted to be the best. I wanted to win, I don't even know if at the time I wanted to be the best. I just wanted to win."

Because playing to the best of her ability was her focus, the Serena Ventures founder sometimes forgot to collect her paychecks at the time.

"So my tax guy, he would be like, 'You didn't get your money,'" she recalled. "I'm like, 'Ooooh, I didn't get that when in Zurich, oh, I forgot that when in Moscow.'"

Eventually, though, she collected her earnings—and by then it had added up to a pretty substantial sum.

"I got my check and it was a million dollars," Williams said. "Like, okay, I'm gonna go deposit it. I'd never really spent a lot of money. I was so serious. I don't know what happened to me, I used to be serious. So I just went through the drive-thru ... and the guy was like, 'Uh, I think you need to come inside for this.'"

Evans and Williams ended up chalking this one up to "lessons to learn." For most of us, sadly, there may not be many applications for this newfound wisdom, but I certainly enjoyed the story!

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Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.