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‘We Dated for a While’: Penn State Legend Discusses Relationship With Serena Williams

National Football Foundation/Josh Hawkins

Penn State fans know a lot about LaVar Arrington.

It’s a good bet that a good bit of them don’t know he used to date one of the most successful athletes of all time.

In the summer of 2000, Arrington was months removed from being the No. 2 overall draft pick of the Washington Redskins— a reward for his fantastic career at Penn State— and Williams was less than a year removed from the first of her 23 grand slam title wins, winning the 1999 U.S. Open as a 17-year-old.

During the 2000 U.S. Open, the New York Post reported that the tennis star was “spotted on the Happy Valley campus going to parties with LaVar during the yearly arts festival.“

The Williams family denied the report that Serena and LaVar were an item.

But at the next year’s Open, Arrington was seen at Williams’ Round of 16 match against Justine Hennin, which she won in straight sets, 7-5 6-0.

This appearance inspired the Post to describe Arrington as “the hunky boyfriend of Serena Williams.”

For more than two decades, there was no record of Arrington or Williams confirming the relationship. But recently, while being interviewed by Dylan Dawson on the “Penn State Pulse” podcast, Arrington revealed that they did, in fact, date.

“I’ve always felt I needed to be respectful of the privacy of knowing her,” Arrington said. “Me and Serena at one point were probably like best friends. We ended up meeting at an ESPN commercial shoot. I had a thing for (Serena), I’ll admit that. I mean, who didn’t have a crush on Serena back then. Especially somebody like me, you’d have a crush. We were pretty close for like a few years. I’ve never said this out loud, but we actually dated. And we dated for a while. I’ve never really talked about, you know ‘why didn’t it work out’ or ‘why didn’t you guys stay together?’ We were young.”

Arrington’s romantic history with Williams is  just that, history.

But there might be another LaVar Arrington playing at Penn State.

His son, LaVar Jr. (2025) a three-star from Charter Oak High School in Covina, California, who plays— you guess it— linebacker, took his official visit to Penn State this past weekend.

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