New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has constantly been in the headlines over the past year. While he was initially praised for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, he is now the subject of scandals involving covered-up nursing home deaths and sexual harassment.
Despite the recent controversies, many are curious about the Governor’s personal life. In 2019, Cuomo ended a long-term relationship with Food Network personality Sandra Lee. But prior to that, he was married to Robert Kennedy’s daughter Kerry Kennedy. Kennedy is an accomplished woman who made up one-half of a formidable power couple, but alas, the pair split in 2005.
Find out what Andrew Cuomo’s ex-wife is doing today. She may not be living in the Governor’s mansion, but she keeps herself quite busy with important projects.
Who Is Kerry Kennedy?
Mary Kerry Kennedy was born on September 8, 1959, in Washington, D.C. She is the seventh of 11 children born to Ethel Skakel and former New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy. She was 4 years old when her uncle, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated; when she was 10, her father met the same fate and was shot dead outside of a hotel in Los Angeles.
Despite losing family members by such violent means, Kennedy resolved to live life as an outspoken leader. After earning an undergraduate degree from Brown University and a JD from Boston College Law School, she became a dedicated human rights activist.
Since 1998, Kennedy has served as president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, an organization that works “alongside local activists to ensure lasting positive change in governments and corporations.” She also chairs the Amnesty International Leadership Council and uses her voice to travel the world and bring attention to various human rights violations.
Kennedy has raised awareness of countless issues, but she concentrates on women’s rights. She has worked in over 60 countries, inspiring action to end horrific practices including honor killings, sexual slavery, and domestic violence.
Kerry Kennedy Was Married To Andrew Cuomo For Over 15 Years
On June 9, 1990, Kennedy married Andrew Cuomo at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC. The event was the American version of a royal wedding, uniting two powerful—but very different—political families.
At the time of the wedding, Cuomo (son of former Governor Mario Cuomo) was the founder of Housing Enterprise for the Less Privileged (HELP USA). He was also chair of the New York City Homeless Commission. During their marriage, he later went on to served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton.
Apparently everyone except the lovebirds knew that the marriage was doomed to fail. In an in-depth Vanity Fair story, writer Michael Shnayerson suggested that the blue-collar Cuomos and privileged Kennedys were a fundamental mismatch. “You just try to be supportive,” an anonymous insider told him of the pairing.
Despite their differences, Cuomo and Kennedy managed to settle down in Queens and have three daughters: twins Cara and Mariah (born 1995) and Matilda (born 1997). A turning point came in December 1997 when Kennedy’s brother Michael died in a skiing accident. While the immediate family agreed to mourn in private, Cuomo granted interviews with the media. It appeared to be a publicity move that served his own interests.
“Most of the family was too stunned to say anything to Andrew when he returned, but Rory managed to ask, ‘Andrew, why did you do that?'” wrote Shnayerson. “Someone had to do it, Andrew replied.”
Still, Kennedy stood by his side during his first run for Governor of New York in 2002. Cuomo didn’t fare well and dropped out of the race in August; on September 11, 2002, Kennedy demanded a divorce. Things weren’t finalized until 2005, but the union dubbed “Cuomolot” was pretty much over.
Kerry Kennedy Is A Human Right Activist
It would be unfair to only think of Kennedy as Cuomo’s ex-wife or the heiress of a political dynasty. Her human rights work has affected change on a global scale. Speak Truth to Power, a human rights education program designed by her organization, has reached an estimated 5.7 million students, teachers, community leaders.
In 2017, she was awarded the Medal for Social Activism at the 16th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. She received the honor “for her impactful efforts on communities throughout the world as a result of her life-long devotion to the pursuit of equal justice, the promotion of basic rights and the presentation of the rule of law.”
“I think adults say to kids all the time, ‘Just say no. Just say you don’t want to hear a racist joke. Just tell your friends it’s not nice to be cruel to each other,'” she said in a video for The Rockefeller Foundation. “We can’t just say that to kids. We have to equip them.”
For more on what Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights hopes to achieve, check out the entire video:
Kerry Kennedy Is Also An Accomplished Writer
When Kennedy isn’t speaking to audiences around the globe, she relies on the power of the pen to inspire change—and it’s very lucrative work. In 2012, the Daily Mail revealed that she was paid $50,000 for a Huffington Post op-ed about environmental damage in the Ecuadorian rain forest. She was also offered a financial stake in the outcome of a court case against Chevron. Should the oil company be found guilty of damaging the land, Kennedy would earn $40 million out of an $18 billion judgment.
She is also the author of two books: Being Catholic Now, Prominent Americans talk about Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning (2008) and Robert F. Kennedy: Ripples of Hope: Kerry Kennedy in Conversation with Heads of State, Business Leaders, Influencers, and Activists about Her Father’s Impact on Their Lives (2018).
When asked by Westchester what she wanted readers to take from the latter book, she said, “Everyone can take action in his or her own way. These stories are so different and personal, but each one emphasizes the power of standing up, speaking truth to power, and being part of a positive change in the world.”