Madison Cawthorn, the Republican Representative from North Carolina, announced late last month that he and his wife of less than a year, Cristina Cawthorn neé Bayardelle, were divorcing after only nine months of marriage. The announcement came as a surprise to many since the two had only just celebrated their nuptials beneath the shadow of a giant wooden cross. So, who is Cawthorn’s estranged wife, and what is their relationship like today?
Who Is Cristina Cawthorn (Bayardelle)?
As the youngest member of Congress ever elected to office, Madison Cawthorn’s political career has been closely followed, as has his personal life. In December 2019, Cawthorn announced his engagement to a woman named Cristina Bayardelle, a fitness instructor and model from Florida. According to Bayardelle’s Instagram page, she also studied Anesthesiology at Nova Southeastern University. She has continued to work as an anesthesiologist assistant in addition to her career in fitness and modeling.
How Did Madison Cawthorn Meet Bayardelle?
A resurfaced video interview Cawthorn gave to right-wing media outlet The Daily Caller includes the tale of how the two met at what he called a “sham” CrossFit competition. Cawthorn explained that while vacationing in Russia, he’d run into another American abroad, a man he simply referred to as “Todd.” After befriending the man who described himself as a captain in the Army, Cawthorn claimed Todd invited him to a CrossFit event.
He went along and met his soon-to-be ex-wife, Bayardelle, who has often worked with the fitness organization. Cawthorn soon discovered that the event was faked in order for the two to meet. “He just wanted to put me in the same room with the girl who was eventually going to become my fiancée. And so, we did, and her and I hit it off, and it’s been a magical relationship ever since,” Cawthorn explained.
A Short Marriage
A little under two years after announcing their engagement, on April 3, 2021, Cawthorn and Bayardelle were married. The date is significant to Cawthorn because April 3 is also the date he was involved in a car accident that left him in a wheelchair.
Cawthorn tweeted the day after his wedding, “On April 3rd of 2014 my life changed. A car accident put me in a wheelchair. On April 3rd of 2021 my life has once again changed. Marrying Cristina Bayardelle, now Cristina Cawthorn is the greatest honor, privilege, and adventure of my life.” He concluded the tweet by writing, “Trust in God. He moves Mountains!”
The union didn’t last, however, and on December 22, 2021 Cawthorn’s rep released a statement announcing the two were divorcing over “irreconcilable differences.” The statement began, “When my wife Cristina and I were engaged, I was not a member of Congress. I felt called to serve and we both agreed that I should run. Our victory was unprecedented, but overnight our lives changed. That change has been both hectic and difficult, it’s neither the pace nor the lifestyle we planned for.”
Where Does Their Relationship Stand Today?
There is apparently no animosity between the soon-to-be ex-spouses despite the sudden nature of their split. Cawthorn’s initial statement on the matter emphasized that the divorce had been a mutual decision. Bayardelle, in a statement to Fox 46, echoed that sentiment, saying, “Madison is amazing – we’ve had an incredible journey together. Our marriage, like every marriage, has had its difficulties. The lifestyle shift into public life has been strenuous, and many aspects of the transition have been unexpected.”
She added, “I want to live in the world he creates, I just don’t want to be married to someone changing the world. While we have agreed to be apart now, we still have a great friendship and there’s no ill-will. Madison is a fighter – he will help save this country.” Despite their split, and those irreconcilable differences, it seems the two still share a vision of the future.
Cawthorn’s Scandals Since His Political Debut
Cawthorn gained notoriety on the political playing field for being the youngest member of Congress ever elected, but it was his past, not his present, that caused controversy for the 26-year-old politician. Cawthorn faced scandal after claiming that his friend had left him to die in the car accident that caused his wheelchair use, though that account was later revealed to be untrue. The driver in the accident challenged Cawthorn’s side of what happened that day and insisted that he’d actively worked to save Cawthorn after the accident, at great personal risk.
Cawthorn was also the subject of a BuzzFeed exposé that claimed the North Carolina Representative had behaved in an aggressive, misogynistic, or predatory manner while attending a Christian college in Virginia. Four women came forward with allegations against Cawthorn, though the Republican denied doing anything sexually inappropriate.
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