Who Is Billy Evans, Elizabeth Holmes’s Partner?

Billy Evans has said he was captivated by Elizabeth Holmes from the start, and within months, their connection became romantic.
Billy Evans has said he was captivated by Elizabeth Holmes from the start, and within months, their connection became romantic.


  • An MIT grad from a San Diego family of hoteliers, Evans stood by the Theranos founder’s side during her criminal trial and will look after their two children while she serves more than 11 years in federal prison

Nearly six years ago, William “Billy" Evans stopped by a Fleet Week charity event on a San Francisco rooftop that would change the course of his life.

Evans, 25 years old at the time, met a woman wearing a sun hat and oversized glasses and spent hours engrossed in conversation with her. It wasn’t until she gave him her cellphone number, written on the back of a Theranos business card, that he realized who she was.

At the time of their meeting, which Evans described in a September 2022 letter to U.S. District Judge Edward Davila, Elizabeth Holmes’s blood-testing startup was the subject of investigations and legal battles, and her reputation as a Silicon Valley wunderkind was unraveling. In November 2022, she was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for defrauding investors in the company.

Evans has said he was captivated by Holmes from the start, and within months, their connection became romantic. As the couple laid plans for a life and family together, Evans became a fierce defender of Holmes.

Throughout Holmes’s four-month federal fraud trial, which began in August 2021, Evans frequently accompanied his partner and her mother to and from the San Jose, Calif., courtroom. Ahead of her sentencing, Evans and members of his family advocated for Holmes in letters to Judge Davila, who presided over the case, shedding light for the first time on their relationship and what life has been like since she entered their orbit.

This week, Holmes is expected to begin her sentence at a federal prison recommended by Judge Davila in Bryan, Texas, while she appeals her conviction. And Evans, who declined to be interviewed for this article, will be raising the couple’s two children under the age of 2 without her at home.

Life Before Elizabeth

Billy Evans was born into a prominent San Diego family—the eldest of William and Susan Evans’s three children. His grandparents, William and Anne Evans, founded the Evans Hotel Group in the 1950s, a trio of resorts in the area. The Evanses also own a private antique and classic car collection, with vehicles dating back seven decades.

Letters to Judge Davila from the Evanses paint the picture of a large family. Some of the family, including his mother, his uncle and maternal grandmother, described themselves as devout members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I have always taken my faith seriously and have lived by the morals and values of my religion for the past 57 years," wrote Billy’s mother, Susan Evans. “I choose to surround myself with friends and family members who align with my same values in life." The Evanses, through William Evans, declined to comment.

Evans attended private school from kindergarten through high school before enrolling at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010, according to his LinkedIn profile. Standing at 6 feet 4 inches tall, he played on MIT’s men’s volleyball team as a freshman, according to the college’s athletics website. In a letter to Judge Davila, one person who identified as a “life-long best friend" of Billy, described him as having a passion for the sport.

In 2013 and 2014, Evans studied abroad at Fudan University in Shanghai.

After graduating in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in economics, he returned to the West Coast. He took a job at LinkedIn in San Francisco as an analyst and worked there for less than two years. A LinkedIn spokesperson declined to comment.

He then joined Luminar Technologies, a company that creates technology for autonomous vehicles and was founded by a 17-year-old Stanford University dropout. When Evans met Holmes in 2017, he was a manager of special projects at the company. Holmes had previously been in a longtime relationship with Ramesh “Sunny" Balwani, her chief operating officer at Theranos, that she has said ended in 2016.

From ‘Just Friends’ to Life Partners

In a 12-page letter to Judge Davila, including four pages of photo collages, Evans described the early days of his relationship with Holmes. “We were ‘just friends’ for the first six months. I was admittedly hesitant to dive in given all that had been said," he wrote. Holmes and Theranos had been embroiled in scandal since October 2015, when The Wall Street Journal published the first of many investigative reports into the company’s blood-testing claims.

Susan Evans said in her letter that she met Holmes days after the release of “Bad Blood," a bestselling book about Theranos by former Journal reporter John Carreyrou. She wrote that her friends suggested that her son was being brainwashed by the Theranos founder. Still, she chose to trust her son’s judgment.

“The more I got to know her the more I loved who she was. It was not long before the friendship turned into something more," Billy Evans wrote.

In June 2018, the couple’s first summer together, Holmes was indicted on criminal fraud charges. That August, she and Evans attended Burning Man, the annual desert festival in the temporary Nevada expanse known as Black Rock City, just as the company was shutting down completely. In a photo from the festival, Holmes barely resembled her Theranos days, when she donned a uniform of black turtlenecks and slacks to emulate her hero, Steve Jobs. Instead, she wore a long coat with a furry trim and magenta bug-eye sunglasses. Evans wore a black captain’s hat and a lapeled jacket.

By early 2019, around the time Evans left Luminar, their relationship became public. Vanity Fair reported in February 2019 that Holmes was engaged to “a younger hospitality heir, who also works in tech." The author tweeted screenshots of images of the couple. Evans refers to Holmes as his “partner."

In his letter, Evans described their life as a constant search for privacy. “We use PO boxes for our mail, use backdoors, we rarely eat out and tried to rent in quiet buildings in SF for two years," he wrote. At his suggestion, the two embarked on a six-month road trip, exploring national forests and parks. “Walmart parking lots and rundown campgrounds gave us a much-needed solace," he wrote.

The pandemic delayed the start of Holmes’s criminal fraud trial from July 2020 to August 2021. In the interim, Holmes became pregnant with their first child, welcoming a baby boy just as the trial was set to begin. Their address, a Woodside, Calif., home listed for $135 million at the time, was again discovered. Evans has said it was a rental.

The Trial and What Lies Ahead

When the trial finally began in August 2021, Evans appeared regularly at proceedings. His father, William Evans, was also a presence in the courtroom. During jury selection, the hotelier waited in line for a seat with reporters and members of the public, introducing himself to the press as a plainclothes “concerned citizen" named Hanson.

On the morning of opening arguments, the elder Evans’s identity became clear. He ditched Hanson’s casual attire and donned a suit, making an entrance with Holmes and family into the courthouse.

In January 2022, Holmes was convicted on four of 11 fraud charges. Two months later, the couple’s husky, Balto—who Holmes told associates was part wolf, according to former Theranos staffers—was found dead after being taken from their porch by a mountain lion. “It crushed her," Billy Evans wrote in his letter to the judge.

Holmes and Evans welcomed a second child this February. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Holmes said she and Evans didn’t anticipate that she would be indicted. She said that they chose to grow their family because they wanted to—not to delay her trial or sentencing date.

“If we let how other people might view that, or what impression someone might make of it dictate how we live our lives, then we’ve lost," she said. “Finding your person in the middle of all of this and experiencing that love when you’re going through hell is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced."

In more than 140 letters submitted to Judge Davila, friends and family members described Evans as a wonderful and committed partner to Holmes, whom he calls Liz, and emphasized the impact of separating her from their young family.

Judge Davila recommended that Holmes be allowed family visitation. According to the inmate handbook for the Texas prison where she is expected to serve, inmates can have visitors on weekends—up to five adults and five children at a time.

In his letter, Evans described the toll he said Holmes’s case and its aftermath have taken on his family.

“My son has been avoided by other families not wanting to expose their children to my family," he wrote. “My heart is broken with the thought of spending any days away from Liz, for a future in which my son grows up with a relationship with his mother on the other side of glass armed by guards."

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