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Ann Romney

Ann Romney
File:Jeri and Ann Romney.jpg
Ann Romney in Des Moines on October 27, 2007.
Born Ann Lois Davies
16, 1949 (1949-04-16) (age 68)[1]
Nationality American
Education Brigham Young University
Harvard University
Occupation Homemaker
Known for wife of former Governor and Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney
Political party Republican
Religion The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)
Spouse(s) Template:Event

Ann Romney (born April 16, 1949) is the wife of American businessman and Republican Party politician Mitt Romney. From 2003 to 2007 she was First Lady of Massachusetts.

She was raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and attended the private Kingswood School there, where she dated Mitt Romney. Influenced by their relationship, she converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1966. She began attending Brigham Young University, then married Mitt Romney in 1969. The couple have five children, born between 1970 and 1981. She completed her undergraduate education at Harvard Extension School with a bachelor's degree in 1975.

In 1998, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. A mixture of mainstream and alternative treatments has given her a lifestyle mostly without limitations. She found equestrian activities to be therapeutic and has become an avid participant in the sport, receiving recognition in dressage as an adult amateur at the national level and competing professionally in Grand Prix as well. While Massachusetts First Lady, she was the governor's liaison for federal faith-based initiatives. She has been involved in a number of children's charities, including Operation Kids. She was an active participant in her husband's 2008 presidential run, where she became the most visible of all the Republican candidates' wives in campaigning.


Early life

Born Ann Lois Davies,[2] she was raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan,[3] by parents Edward R. Davies and Lois Davies.[4] Her father, originally from Wales, was a self-made businessman who became president of Jered Industries, a maker of heavy machinery for marine use.[4][5] He was also mayor of Bloomfield Hills.[3] Raised in the Welsh Congregationalists, he had become strongly opposed to all organized religion,[5] although on her request the family very occasionally attended church, and she nominally identified as an Episcopalian.[6][7]

Ann Davies knew of Mitt Romney since elementary school.[7] She went to the private Kingswood School in Bloomfield Hills,[8] which was the sister school to the all-boys Cranbrook School that he attended.[8] The two were re-introduced and began dating in March 1965;[9] they informally agreed to marriage after his senior prom in June 1965.[5][9]

While he was attending Stanford University for a year and then was away starting two and a half years of Mormon missionary duty in France,[9] she converted on her own[3] to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[10] during 1966,[5] guided by Mitt's father George Romney, the Governor of Michigan.[5] She graduated from high school in 1967 and began attending Brigham Young University (BYU).[3] She also spent a semester at the University of Grenoble in France during her freshman year.[4] The Mormon missionary rules only allowed her two brief visits with Mitt and very rare phone calls with him.[11] While at BYU she dated and developed strong feelings for future business academic Kim Cameron, while Mitt implored her to wait for his return.[11]

Marriage and children

Immediately upon the missionary's return from France in December 1968, the pair reconnected and agreed to get married as soon as possible.[11] Ann Davies and Mitt Romney were married by an church elder in a civil ceremony on March 21, 1969, at her Bloomfield Hills home, with a reception afterward at a local country club.[4][11] The following day the couple flew to Utah for a wedding ceremony inside the Salt Lake Temple; her family could not attend it due to being non-Mormon, but were present at a subsequent wedding breakfast held for them across the street.[4][12]

The couple's first son was born in 1970[11] while both were undergraduates at Brigham Young,[13] living in a $75-a-month basement apartment.[14] After he graduated, the couple moved to Boston so that he could attend Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School. Slowed down by parenthood, she later finished her undergraduate work (for which she was a semester and half's worth of credits short) by taking night courses at Harvard Extension School,[13] from which she graduated in 1975[1] with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in French language.[15]

A stay-at-home mom,[16] Romney raised the family's five boys (born between 1970 and 1981)[11] and taught early morning scripture classes to them and other children[16] while her husband pursued his career, first in business and then in politics.[17] Her personality as a political wife was viewed as superficial and a detriment to her husband's losing effort in the 1994 U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts.[16]

Multiple sclerosis and riding

During 1997, Ann Romney began experiencing severe numbness, fatigue, and other symptoms,[11] and in 1998, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.[17] Mitt Romney described watching her fail a series of neurological tests as the worst day of his life.[11] She initially experienced a period of severe difficulty with the disease,[1] and later said: "I was very sick in 1998 when I was diagnosed. I was pretty desperate, pretty frightened and very, very sick. It was tough at the beginning, just to think, this is how I'm going to feel for the rest of my life."[18] Since then, a mixture of mainstream and alternative treatments has given her a lifestyle mostly without limitations.[1] She initially used corticosteroids, including intravenously, and credited them with helping stop the progression of the disease.[18] She then dropped them and other medications due to counterproductive side effects.[16] She has partaken of reflexology, acupuncture, and craniosacral therapy, and has said, "There is huge merit in both Eastern and Western medicine, and I've taken a little bit from both."[18] She is a board member for the New England chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society,[15] and has been given the MS Society's Annual Hope Award.[10]

Romney is an avid equestrian, crediting her renewed involvement in it while in Park City, Utah (where the couple had built a vacation home and where they lived when he was in charge of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games) for much of her recovery after her multiple sclerosis diagnosis[17][19] and for her continued ability to deal with the disease.[16] She has received recognition in dressage as an adult amateur at the national level,[16] including earning her 2006 Gold Medal[20] and 2005 Silver Medal at the Grand Prix level from the United States Dressage Federation.[15] She also sometimes competes in professional dressage events and has broken the 60% level at Grand Prix. Romney works with California trainer Jan Ebling,[21] who schools her and her horses in dressage and works with her importing new stock from Europe. The pair qualified for the Pan-Am games in 2004.

First Lady of Massachusetts and charitable work

In January 2003, following her husband's successful campaign in the 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial election, Romney became First Lady of Massachusetts, a position she held through January 2007. In that role, she generally kept a low public profile; in 2006, The Boston Globe characterized her as "largely invisible" within the state.[22]

While Massachusetts First Lady, she was active in teenage pregnancy prevention efforts.[23] In 2004, she said she was in favor of stem cell research as long as it was done "morally and ethically".[18] One of her rare public appearances at the Massachusetts State House came in 2004 when she lobbied the legislature to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis.[24]

In 2005, the governor appointed his wife as head of a new special office whose purpose was to help the state's faith-based groups gain more federal monies in association with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.[25] This came after the state had seen its share of faith-based grants decline over the preceding three years.[26] In this unpaid Governor's Liaison position,[25][15] Ann Romney was termed a "dynamo" by Jim Towey, director of the White House office.[26]

She has been involved in a number of children's charities, including being director of the inner city-oriented Best Friends.[15] She worked extensively with the Ten Point Coalition in Boston and with other groups that promoted better safety and opportunities for urban youths.[27] She was given the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from Salt Lake City-based Operation Kids.[28] She has also served as a board member for the United Way of America[15] and helped found United Way Faith and Action.[27]

At the conclusion of her time as Massachusetts First Lady, Romney said that the role "doesn't need to change your life at all. I think it's an opportunity for service and an opportunity to see people of all walks of life from across the Commonwealth.... It's an enriching part of your life [and one will] treasure it forever."[29] Her health was still a primary factor in family decisions about her husband's career, and Mitt said in 2005 that if her multiple sclerosis flared up, "I wouldn't be involved in politics anymore; that would be over." [30]

2008 campaign

Ann Romney with her husband, at a campaign stop in Altoona, Iowa on December 29, 2007.
Mitt and Ann Romney on December 22, 2007, at a campaign event in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

Ann Romney was an active participant in her husband's 2008 presidential campaign.[31] One past issue that arose involving her was her donation of $150 to Planned Parenthood in 1994.[32] By late 2007, she had become an integral part of his campaign, and was doing more trips and appearances on her own, despite the risk that added stress would aggravate her condition.[33]

Her political message was often mixed with discussions of her family, her recipes, or managing her affliction;[33][16] a ghost-written autobiography,[16] Faith in the Family, was also in the offing[33] (but has not materialized). Romney's television advertisements in the early primary states prominently featured her.[34] By the close of 2007, she was the most visible of all the Republican candidates' wives in campaigning.[16] Regarding having to witness criticism of her husband, she later acknowledged that she sometimes wanted to "come out of my seat and clock somebody [but] you learn to just take a deep breath."[35]

In May 2008, several months after the campaign ended unsuccessfully, she shared with her husband the Canterbury Medal from The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, for "refus[ing] to compromise their principles and faith" during the campaign.[36]

Following the campaign

In late 2008, Romney was diagnosed with mammary ductal carcinoma in situ, and had the precancerous lump removed via lumpectomy;[37] she subsequently underwent radiation therapy.[35] Her prognosis from this condition was excellent,[37] and she later reflected that "I was really lucky" to have caught it so early.[35] President-elect Barack Obama was among the well-wishers who called her.[38]

For many years couple's primary residence was in Belmont, Massachusetts,[15] but this and the Utah home were sold in 2009. They reside in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, along Lake Winnipesaukee, and at an oceanfront home in La Jolla, San Diego, California, that they had bought the year before.[39][40][41] Both locations were near some of the Romneys' grandchildren,[40] who by 2010 numbered fourteen,[42] and the La Jolla location is near where she rides horses and is well-situated for her multiple sclerosis therapies and for recovering from her precancer treatments.[37][40][43]

In June 2009, due to her husband's request, Ann Romney became the first spouse to be included in the official Massachusetts State House gubernatorial portrait.[44] Regarding another possible run for office by her husband in the 2012 presidential election, Romney said in March 2010 that this time the process would hold no surprises, and that if he decides in favor of doing it, "I’m up to saying, go storm the castle, sweetie."[45]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Page, Susan (2007-07-18). "Ann Romney's delicate balance wins her admirers". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2007-07-18-ann-romney_N.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  2. "Photo caption". Associated Press. 2007-03-05. http://sparklepony.blogspot.com/2007/03/fresh-mitt-romney-juvenalia-hot-off.html. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Kessler, Ronald (2007-05-23). "Ann Romney: Mitt Has Always Been Pro-Life". NewsMax.com. http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2007/5/22/90847.shtml. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "Mitt Romney Marries Ann Davies". The New York Times: p. 37. 1969-03-22. http://select.nytimes.com/mem/archive/pdf?res=F50B12FD3A5D137A93C0AB1788D85F4D8685F9. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Swidey, Neil; Paulson, Michael (2007-06-24). "The Making of Mitt Romney: Part 1: Privilege, tragedy, and a young leader". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/specials/romney/articles/part1_main/. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  6. "Ann Romney: You Gotta Have Faith", ABC News, 2007-06-15. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Lawrence, Jill (2007-03-12). "Will Mormon faith hurt bid for White House?". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-02-12-romney-cover_x.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Greenberger, Scott S. (2005-06-12). "From prankster to politician, Romney deemed a class act". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/articles/2005/06/12/from_prankster_to_politician_romney_deemed_a_class_act/. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Mitt Talks About Ann". Excerpts from November 2006 speech: MittRomney.com. Archived from the original on 2008-02-15. http://web.archive.org/web/20080215013646/http://www.mittromney.com/Learn-About-Mitt/Photo-Album/The-Romney-Family/Mittxs_Tribute_to_Ann. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "On the Road With Ann Romney". ABC News. 2007-02-14. http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2874819. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 Swidey, Neil; Ebbert, Stephanie (2007-06-27). "The Making of Mitt Romney: Part 4: Raising sons, rising expectations bring unexpected turns". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/specials/romney/articles/part4_main/. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  12. "Romney’s Mormon Question". Time. 2007-05-10. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1619552-1,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Radsken, Jill (2002-12-08). "Ann Romney on her choices, family, health and future". Boston Herald. http://www.mult-sclerosis.org/news/Dec2002/AnnRomney.html. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  14. Kirkpatrick, David D. (2007-11-15). "Romney, Searching and Earnest, Set His Path in ’60s". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/15/us/politics/15romney.html. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 "Ann's Biography". MittRomney.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-17. http://web.archive.org/web/20071017200004/www.mittromney.com/Ann-Romney/Biography. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 16.7 16.8 Kantor, Jodi (2007-12-16). "The Stay-at-Home Woman Travels Well". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/16/us/politics/16romney.html. Retrieved 2007-12-16. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 "Ann Romney: From the Saddle to the Campaign Trail". ABC News. 2007-08-14. http://www.abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=3477592&page=1. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 "Romney's wife supports 'ethical' stem cell work". The Boston Globe. Associated Press. 2004-08-11. http://www.boston.com/yourlife/health/diseases/articles/2004/08/11/romneys_wife_supports_ethical_stem_cell_work/. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  19. Lasko, Patricia (May 2004). "Dressage Helps Romney Cope with Multiple Sclerosis". Dressage Today. http://www.equisearch.com/horses_riding_training/english/dressage/romney_070505/. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  20. "Rider Award Recipients: Gold Medal (All)". United States Dressage Federation. http://www.usdf.org/awards/performance/rider.asp?YearPass=All&TypePass=GoldMedal. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  21. "Jan Ebling and Ann Romney's Liberte". DressageDaily.com. 2002-06-21. http://www.dressagedaily.com/2002/dd_200206/dd_20020620.html. 
  22. Helman, Scott (2006-02-27). "Ann Romney's time". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2006/02/27/ann_romneys_time/. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  23. Superville, Darlene (2007-10-02). "Some Women Who Could Be First Lady". Deseret News. Associated Press (Salt Lake City). http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695215232,00.html. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  24. Rodriguez, Matthew (2004-05-12). "Romney presses MS awareness". The Boston Globe: p. B3. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 Phillips, Frank (2005-06-29). "Romney creates office for faith-based groups". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2005/06/29/romney_creates_office_for_faith_based_groups/. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  26. 26.0 26.1 Helman, Scott (2006-03-20). "Mass. loses ground in faith-based funding". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2006/03/20/mass_loses_ground_in_faith_based_funding/. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  27. 27.0 27.1 Lewis, Raphael (2005-08-28). "Romneys listed as big givers to charity". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/yourlife/specials/giving/articles/2005/08/28/romneys_listed_as_big_givers_to_charity/. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  28. "2006 Lifetime Achievement Award: Ann Romney". Operation Kids. 2006-11-16. http://www.operationkids.org/operation-kids-presents-ann-romney-lifetime-achievement-award. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  29. Wangsness, Lisa (2006-11-09). "Carving a path as lawyer and governor's wife". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2006/11/09/carving_a_path_as_lawyer_and_governors_wife/. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  30. Helman, Scott (2005-12-21). "Romney says politics 'over' if wife is sicker". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/12/21/romney_says_politics_over_if_wife_is_sicker/. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  31. "Ann Romney in South Carolina: A Family Affair". ABC News. 2007-07-18. http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2007/07/ann-romney-in-s.html. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  32. "Romney's Wife Gave Money to Planned Parenthood". ABC News. 2007-05-09. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Story?id=3157749. 
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Liberto, Jennifer (2007-11-21). "Romney's key ingredient". St. Petersburg Times. http://www.sptimes.com/2007/11/21/Southpinellas/Romney_s_key_ingredie.shtml. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  34. Kuhnhenn, Jim (2007-11-19). "Adwatch: Romney highlights family in Iowa and NH ads". The Boston Globe. Associated Press. 
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 Heslam, Jessica (2009-01-05). "Ann Romney: I was ‘really lucky’ in cancer fight". Boston Herald. http://www.bostonherald.com/jobfind/news/media/view/20100105ann_romney_i_was_really_lucky_in_cancer_fight/srvc=home&position=also. Retrieved 2009-01-07. 
  36. Roche, Lisa Riley (2008-05-10). "Romney honored for 'Defense of Religious Liberty'". Deseret News (Salt Lake City). http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,700224763,00.html. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 Levenson, Michael (2008-12-06). "Ann Romney has surgery to remove precancerous lump". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2008/12/06/ann_romney_has_surgery_to_remove_precancerous_lump/. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  38. "Romney: Obama called after wife fell ill recently". The Boston Globe. Associated Press. 2009-01-04. http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/01/04/romney_obama_called_after_wife_fell_ill_recently/. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  39. Issenberg, Sasha (2009-08- 30). "The Long-Distance Runner". The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2009/08/30/the_long_distance_runner/. 
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 McPike, Erin; Barnes, James A. (2009-05-06). "A Granite State Home Base For Romney?". The Hotline. http://hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com/archives/2009/05/a_granite_state.php. 
  41. Abel, David (2009-02-17). "2 Romney estates hit the market". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/02/17/2_romney_estates_hit_the_market/. 
  42. "Learn About Mitt". Free & Strong America PAC. http://www.freestrongamerica.com/pa/ge/55/learn-about-mitt. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  43. Johnson, Glen (2008-05-24). "Former Mass. Gov. Romney buys home in California". Associated Press. Boston: WHDH-TV. http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/local/BO79140/. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  44. Viser, Matt (2009-07-01). "Romney returns to the State House for a cameo role". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/07/01/romney_returns_to_the_state_house_for_a_cameo_role/. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  45. Yager, Jordy (2010-03-07). "Romney: No decision on 2012 presidential run until after midterms". The Hill. http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/85345-romney-no-2012-decision-until-after-midterms. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 



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