Who is Ukraine’s first lady? Meet Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s wife Olena Zelenska

Olena Zelenska, wife of Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, began her career as a screenwriter before becoming the First Lady of Ukraine.

Olena, 44, was thrust into the spotlight three years ago, when her husband was voted in as the new president of Ukraine, in an election that saw him win over 70 per cent of the national vote.

While some were sceptical about Volodymyr’s political career, he has since proven he is definitely up to the job, having gained huge praise for his response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, becoming a symbol of strength and a figure of hope for all his people.

Olena was said to be heavily against Volodymyr’s presidential bid at first, but she has since thrived as the First Lady of Ukraine, a role which has led her to be known as one of Ukraine’s most influential women.

Here, we take a look into the life and career of Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska…

Olena Zelenska is the First Lady of Ukraine
Olena Zelenska is the First Lady of Ukraine

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Who is Olena Zelenska?

Olena Zelenska is a screenwriter who hails from Kryvyi Rih, the largest city in central Ukraine.

She studied architecture at Kryvyi Rih National University, which is where she eventually met her now-husband Volodymyr.

Instead of pursuing architecture after finishing her studies, Olena began writing for Kvartal 95, which ultimately led to her becoming a successful writer.

Olena Zelenska is a writer
Olena Zelenska is a writer and architecture graduate

She studied at Kryvyi Rih National University
She studied at Kryvyi Rih National University

Despite she and Volodymyr studying at the same schools and growing up in the same city, it wasn’t until their time at university, when Volodymyr was a budding comedian and law student, that they properly met one another.

Romance soon blossomed, and Olena eventually began writing for the comedy troupe that saw her husband find fame and land his famous role as a spoof politician in the hit Ukrainian TV series, Servant of the People.

The couple tied the knot in September 2003, and welcomed their first child, a daughter named Oleksandra in July 2004. Their son, Kyrylo, was born in January 2013.

Volodymyr eventually decided to pursue a career in politics – a move which Olena reportedly “aggressively opposed” to begin with.

However, his bid to become president of Ukraine proved successful, and he became the new president of Ukraine in 2019, with Olena becoming First Lady.

She married Volodymyr Zelensky in 2003 after dating for eight years
Olena married Volodymyr Zelensky in 2003 after dating for eight years

The couple share two children, Oleksandra and Kyrylo, together
The couple share two children, Oleksandra and Kyrylo, together

Despite her reported initial reluctance, Olena soon stepped into her new role and began focusing her attention on championing social and humanitarian causes.

She starred on the cover of the Ukrainian edition of Vogue in November 2019, where she opened up about her new role, saying: “I am a non-public person. But the new realities require their own rules, and I’m trying to comply with them.”

The 44 year old added: “I prefer staying backstage. My husband is always on the forefront, while I feel more comfortable in the shade. I am not the life of the party, I do not like to tell jokes. It’s not in my character. But I found reasons for myself in favour of publicity. One of them is the opportunity to attract people’s attention to important social issues.”

Since becoming the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena has achieved a lot, including successfully introducing a law to improve the nutritional quality and variety of food in Ukraine’s schools, and starting an initiative to promote the Ukrainian language.

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